-books -dates -Lists -Movies -Music -musicals and broadway 24 30 Rock 666 Park Avenue Alcatraz Alias America's Next Top Model American Horror Story American Idol Americans Are You There Chelsea? Arrested Development Arrow Awake Awkward Bates Motel Being Human Ben and Kate Bent Best Friends Forever Better with You Big Bang Theory Big Brother Big C Big Love Blue Bloods Boardwalk Empire Body of Proof Bones Borgias Boss Breaking Bad Breaking In Breaking Pointe Bridge Bunheads Camelot Carrie Diaries Charlie's Angels Chicago Code Chicago Fire Chuck Community Continuum Copper Cougar Town Cult Dark Tower Deception Defenders Degrassi Dexter Doctor Who Dollhouse Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Downton Abbey Elementary Emily Owens MD Enlightened Episodes Event Fall Falling Skies Family Tree Felicity Finder Firefly Following Fosters Freaks and Geeks Friday Night Lights Friends Fringe Game of Thrones GCB Gifted Man Gilmore GIrls Girls Glee Glee Project Good Wife Gossip Girl Grey's Anatomy Grimm Hannibal Happy Endings Harry Potter Hart of Dixie Hawaii Five-O Hell on Wheels Hellcats Hemlock Grove Heroes Homeland House House of Cards House of Lies How I Met Your Mother How to Be a Gentleman How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) I Hate My Teenage Daughter In Treatment Intervention Jane by Design Jersey Shore Justified Last Man Standing Last Resort Life Unexpected Lone Star Longmire LOST Louie Lying Game Mad Men Make it or Break it Man Up Mindy Project Missing Mockingbird Lane Modern Family Mr Selfridge Napoleon Dynamite Nashville New Girl New Normal Nikita Nine Lives of Chloe King No Ordinary Family Off the Map Office Once Upon a Time Originals Outlaw Outsourced Pan Am Parenthood Parks and Recreation Perfect Couples Person of Interest Playboy Club Pretty Little Liars Prime Suspect Psych Raising Hope Real Housewives of New Jersey Revenge Revolution Ringer Rob Rookie Blue Running Wilde Saving Hope Scandal Scrubs Secret Circle Secret Life of the American Teenager Sex and the City Shameless Sherlock Smash So You Think You Can Dance Sons of Anarchy South Park Southland Suburgatory Supernatural Switched at Birth Teen Wolf Terra Nova The Fall The Fosters The Killing The River The Voice Touch true blood Twisted Two and a Half Men Two Broke Girls Under the Dome Unforgettable United States of Tara Up All Night V Vampire Diaries Veep Vegas Veronica Mars Walking Dead Web Therapy Weeds White Collar Whitney Whole Truth Wilfred Work It X-Factor X-Files Zero Hour

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ern's Hunger Games review

Initial Reaction:
I knew I loved this movie about 25% of the way through it because I found myself on the edge of my seat, totally invested. The movie succeeded in touching me emotionally, entertaining me fully, and even surprising me. I thought the tone, intensity, and emotion of the book were spot on. It felt like the same material. The shaky camera in the beginning was an annoying attempt to make the movie seem serious, but they used the shaky camera better in the arena. It was cool to get to be in the position of spectator. In the books, you are so in Katniss’ head that you don’t know what it would be like to watch the Hunger Games as a Panem citizen. Now we do. The television show element was something the book couldn't bring as well as a movie could.

The movie’s messages are the same as those in the books. Really, it’s about how staying kind, honorable, and continuing to value others’ lives, even in the most dire circumstances, is a powerful rebellion against the status quo. The status quo is about staying as comfortable, rich, numb, and distracted as possible, worrying about our own problems. We are going through an economic depression and are mostly consumed with our own lives, survival, stress levels, and images (how we are looking to others). Jennifer Lawrence said that the movie is a warning of what our society could be like if we became desensitized to trauma and to each other's pain. Continuing to step in for the Prims of the world is what will stand out and inspire, both in a future dystopian fantasy world and our violent, lonely, uncertain world today.

Comparison with the books:
Yeah, the movie not as good as the books (and anyone watching the movie without having read the book might get a little confused), but that’s a high bar.  The fact that they added in scenes and changed a few things brought some tension even to someone who has read the book and knows what’s going to happen. There was an element of surprise because of it. While parts of me always wish that movies were exactly like the books and the visual images in my head, this isn’t possible. 

One can only hope that the movie offers an interpretation that is interesting, unique, and true to the most important parts of the book. So if there was a fault in this movie, it was that it was too close to the book. I’ve already read the book and there is no reason for a movie unless it brings something new to the table. It’s important to stick with the book as far as key themes, characters, scenes, and (most of the time) plot points. But there is wiggle room for creativity. 

One change I liked was that Katniss just shoved Peeta up against a wall. She didn’t push him through glass and have him cut his hands. In a movie, this would have come across as melodramatic. This isn’t a Lifetime movie. We saw her anger manifest physically, and that was enough. Lawrence really sold that moment.

The performances/actors
While Jennifer Lawrence was great, Ern was more impressed with Haymitch and Peeta. They really came across as the characters in the books. Haymitch was always entertaining and multifaceted. There was one false moment for me when Haymitch put his foot on Peeta’s chest. It just didn’t feel right. Peeta did not get awesome or turn into Neo from the Matrix halfway through, like in lots of action movies, which was good. Gale was all wrong, both looks-wise and acting-wise. The sets were merely ok and the costumes were pretty great. Stanley Tucci was perfect and hilarious. Effie was fine.

Answering some of the haters: Issue #1- Jennifer Lawrence is too healthy looking to play Katniss
Jennifer Lawrence is a little too curvy to play someone who  grew up in a nation that starves people to keep them in line. Yeah, she can hunt for food, but she mostly hits squirrels. We love Lawrence’s healthy, gorgeous body and refusal to diet. We love real women’s bodies in movies. However, this is one time where a smaller girl might have fit the story better. Still, I wouldn’t trade Lawrence for any other actress. Since everything else about her was perfect, the physical traits are a small complaint. It's a small price to pay for that performance. 

Issue #2- “Oh, the premise isn’t very original. Kids have to kill each other just like this in Battle Royale.”
Aw, shut up, trolls. Battle Royale wasn’t the first to do this either. This is an old concept and formula. There is nothing wrong with taking on an old idea if your iteration on that idea is fresh and the best iteration in a long time. People were saying the same thing about Warrior. Yeah, it’s a boxing movie and if you are any good at predicting movies, you will predict all of it. But added to the formulas in both Warrior and The Hunger Games are compelling characters that we love, powerhouse scenes, good action sequences, relevant messages, and a whole lot of heart. Everything is an iteration. Just make it a good one.

Issue #3- “The film is hypocritical, since it tells us not to be like Panem’s Capital spectators, but it also has us watching violence for entertainment.”
The Capital people are watching children actually die, so it’s a tad freaking worse. It’s reality TV for them. The books are condemning voyeurism. We should feel worse about watching The Jersey Shore than we do about watching The Hunger Games. (As Gale said, “What would happen if we all stopped watching?” There are certain entertainment choices we make that don’t reflect quality and keep banality around.) Sometimes you have to show some violence to show how bad violence is.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this immensely and nothing ticked me off too much.
Movie Grade: A-

Stay tuned for our list of casting ideas for the second and third books.


  1. I completely agree with everything in your review. I was impressed beyond belief with Jennifer Lawrence's performance, and also with Josh Hutcherson's and Woody Harrelson's. Liam Hensworth was absolutely all wrong, you are completely right. Also, was it just me or did his accent sound...not quite American? Maybe I'm too critical, but that's what I thought.

    1. Liam is from Australia, so you might be right. We didn't hear anything though. We just thought he was too stiff.

    2. His lines also sucked, so that could have something to do with it. But I didn't see any relationship between him and Katniss.

    3. That second thing is a good thing. He was barely in the first book. He was just a hunting buddy to her. If they had shown or put in more closeness or affection, it would have made the love triangle a bigger deal than it is in the first place.

    4. But shouldn't we see some sort of relationship? I didn't mean romantic relationship, but Katniss and Gale had been friends for years. I think we, as an audience, should see a little more of that, but the scene with Katniss and Gale seemed stiff and forced to me.

    5. I don't know. When he said goodbye to her and she counted on him to feed her family, I think that said it all. Maybe I didn't need more because I was never a Gale fan when I read the books.

  2. I can't even begin on this because I will admit this book/movie blows my world. It is as dear to me as the HP series, though on a whole different level. HP was a series with which I grew up, Hunger Games is different but touches just as deeply.

    I am the biggest book snob. I feel an emotional attachment to books that movies can't ever compare. I am never happy with the movie version, but this was a whole new story. The book and the movie are such different mediums, but they both bring an intensity and the same message. I found the movie to be incredibly accurate.

    I think Peeta's looks were all wrong, but he was still Peeta so we can forgive his looks. Gale was just wrong in general. I did think that both Gale and Katniss looked very healthy for District 12, but it is Hollywood, not Panem. I actually thought, when I saw the movie for the second time, that Lawrence looked athletic, and that is accurate for Katniss.

    I enjoyed seeing Seneca's perspective on the games. It was just disturbing enough. Stayed true to the message. I couldn't have asked for more.

    1. WOW, it's as dear to you as the HP series? You're serious about Hunger Games, haha. I really like tHG, but it doesn't remotely come close to HP for me. However, this movie had a better transition to the screen, partly because it was sci fi and not fantasy with 1,000 tiny details and 100 cool side characters.

      They made Seneca a fully realized character in the movies, whereas in the books, when they mentioned his name again in the sequel, I was like, "Who?" But it was important, so it's good the movie emphasized it. Can't wait for the sequel!