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Posts Tagged ‘The Hunger Games’

This film surprised me, and not so much in terms of what happened in the story(I already read the book). What surprised me was the approach director Gary Ross and his team did with the film. This is a big budgeted sci-fi film that somehow also has an indy movie aesthetic. It’s epic and fantastic, but  grounded and intimate. It’s exciting and thrilling, but heartfelt and touching. What I’m basically saying, is that this a good movie.

First , let me go back to the aesthetic and tone of this film. It would have been easy to make this a showy sci-fi film. To really revel into the design of  The Captial and the other Districts. To make the costume design and the production design a huge focus (looking at you IMMORTALS) but Ross doesn’t want you to focus on that. He wants you to focus on Katniss, and her story.Ross’s matter of fact approach to the world of Panem is confident and non distracting. It feels lived in, even when the budget shows, (the CGI work in this film is a little shoddy) you still buy into this world.

Of course, for us to focus on Katniss, he needed the right actress. Jennifer Lawrence shines in this film.  This is the film that will push her further as a true movie star. She’s compelling, subtle, and straight up likeable in the film. She is also a believable action heroine; tough  and brave, yet never loosing her femininity.

The rest of the cast does well too. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz all deliver in the roles of Haymitch, Effie, and Cinna.  I also quiet enjoyed Stanley Tucci as the over the top Ceasar Flickerman, and as well as Wes Bentley giving a wonderfully nuanced performance as Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker for the games.

As an adaptation, I’m also surprised how close to the book they where, with very minor changes. I also felt the changes were made for good reasons. For example, how Katniss  got the Mocking Jay pin is different in the film, but it adds a nice emotional impact for the adaptation and I think it works great. I also quiet liked the added scenes of Seneca with President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland (who brings a quiet menace to the role.) .

The action in the film was surprisingly as brutal as the book, being able to be exciting with out being over the top.

Try as they might, the cave scene drags the whole middle section down ,which is how I also felt was the problem with the cave scene in the book (click here to read my previous blog about the book) and, yeah, I don’t like Peeta.

Josh Hutcherson does a great job playing Peeta, and I have no issues with his performance, but I overall just don’t find the character that great. Just like in the book, it feels like he is mostly there to give Katniss another obstacle.

The Hunger Games has a huge fanbase, this time out, not only is it a film that I think (most of) the fans of the book will be happy with, but I think it’s also an exciting and smart film for non-fans to jump in and enjoy.

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When it concerns current popular books, I’m really behind. I’m so movie obsessed I tend to forget about books. It’s not like I don’t like reading, on the contrary, I LOVE reading! For some reason I read less and less books through out the years. So when I first heard about Harry Potter, Twilight, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games my reaction was always a giant “never heard of it.” Of course, all of these books have been out for years and have amass a huge fanbase…and I was left behind.

Well, late this year I decided to do a better job of catching up on my reading.  I’ve been doing pretty good so far. Read some Sherlock Holmes, the great, fun as hell book READY PLAYER ONE, and the first of The Dresden Files book, STORM FRONT.

Then came The Hunger Games. Ahh yes, the current young adult novel series that is ALSO a world wide sensation (aren’t they all? 🙂 ) Well, the movie adaptation is coming out soon, so instead watching the flick without reading the book , I’ve decided nows the time to jump in.

I can see why this book is popular. I may not get why TWILIGHT is popular (That will be the last time I will mention that series from here on out. I know it has it’s fans but I am just simply not one of them. Lets move on.) but this book, I totally get why people love it.  The characters are good, the world building is fantastic, it’s well paced(for the most part) and the action is sensational.

Katniss is a great character, and a good role model for readers. She’s tough, smart, has a good heart, but she can make mistakes, and she’s short tempered.  I love that she’s got these great qualities but there’s still enough flaws to make her relatable.

I  love the adult characters. Haymitch, Cinna…hell, even Effie. I think Collins does a great job of hinting the deeper characterizations of the adults. Sure, on the surface they are following the rules of The Capital, but I can sense the inner rebellion the characters have.

Oh, Peeta. Peeta, Peeta, Peeta…I really don’t know how I feel about him. Since the book is told from the point of view from Katniss, I don’t quiet get him yet. I always feel cold after reading his scenes. Maybe I will like him more by the second book, but as of right now, I really don’t know.

I’m not particularly fond of all the scenes that take place in the cave. I felt the flow of the book slammed it’s brakes, as it seemed like we where in that cave for a long time.

But, the when the action came back in, it was insanely well written. I see every beat, every moment. Very exciting stuff.

At the end of the book I instantly saw how this can be made into a great flick.

And today, we get a good look at what to expect from the movie version of the film….

Looking good so far. The tone feels right on, and I’m digging how the future world looks.

I also hope this trailer convinces people on Jennifer Lawrence, but looking at some of the comments from my Facebook friends, some of them are apparently less convinced.  That’s a shame, I think she’s selling it really well .  I’m a Jennifer Lawrence fan (and believe that the film, Winters Bone , is all the proof you need) and I truly think she has all the qualities to play this role. Her moment in the Reaping scene was quiet good.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was the only casting I wasn’t sure about, but I think his delivery (granted, the only line he has in the trailer) surprisingly worked on me.  I’m not totally convinced yet, but I’m not writing him off either.

I’m curious to see if the trailer works on somebody who never read the book.  Right now, I’m down. Even if I never read the book, it still looks like it could be a cool sci-fi/action film.

May the film odds be in it’s favor when it comes out March 23, 2011.

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