Hunger Games review

Michaelyn and I went to go see The Hunger Games last night.

If you’ve not seen it, go see it.  Stop whatever it is you’re doing and go see this movie.

I tend to like movie/stories that are twisted, but not horror-movie quality scary, as well as movies that are set in a whole other world (like Coraline).  This one fits the bill.  The world of Panem is so fucked up I thought I’d have a hard time buying into the premise.  I didn’t, mostly on account of what a great job the filmmakers did at putting it together on screen.

The acting is top notch.  I thought the best performances were character parts like Woody Harrelson as Heymitch Abernathy and Stanley Tucci as Ceasar Flickman.  But the stars of the film kicked ass as well.

I thought going in that the movie would be violence/suspense driven, what with the plot being set around a tournament where all participants are forced to fight to death.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but I was surprised to find it was largely plot driven.  As a result, despite having virtually zero free time, I’m going to acquire the other two books and try to get through them.

Anyway, I give The Hunger Games 10/10.  I’ll probably try to find a way to get back to the theater and see it again before it’s out.

Also, we saw a preview for this movie, which made me and Michaelyn poop our pants with excitement.  You can bet your ass I’ll be making a sojourn to Kansas this summer to grab Michaelyn, get all dressed up for a classy date, and go see this film.

That’s right – the movie is Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  There is no way that could not rule.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

    That’s right – the movie is Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. There is no way that could not rule.

    What if Abe defeats the vampires with the power of Jesus?

    • Joven

      Well there is a movie ‘Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter’, but I didnt think it was that great. (not even the fact they were lesbian vampires saved the movie for me.)

      Maybe theres cross-over potential, but clearly the 2 brands arent on equal footing so it wouldnt be that wise I’d think.

    • M Groesbeck

      Well, IIRC the vampires have a strong presence in the Confederacy. And the CSA, unlike the USA, wrote Christianity into its Constitution. (The other big change from the US Constitution was the emphasis on white supremacy; other than that, it was mostly a copy. So, yeah, USA + Christianity + white supremacy explicitly justified by Christianity = CSA.) So, if anything, Abe Lincoln is fighting against vampires with the power of Jesus. As if the dude whose preferred terms when challenged to a duel were “broadswords in a pit” could be made any more badass.

  • guest

    watch out, I’ve read all three books in 2 weeks. while writing a dissertation. yeah. it’s that good.

  • Amanda

    I disagree! I absolutely loved the books, but I don’t think that they translated the best parts of the books into the movie. Where’s the depth, the strategy, the ambivalence, that really made Katniss come alive? Instead, all we got was a superficial, plot-driven story.

    I didn’t hate it, but I was very sad to see how once again, Hollywood managed to take such a dynamic story and turn it into a black and white plot-driven piece.

    • starskeptic

      I agree – good film. But the best I can say about it is that they didn’t screw up in making it. I had the same reactions to “Games” as to Jodie Foster’s “Anna and the King”- recognizable scenes that you can point to but lack the continuity of the source material. But by all means go and see it…

    • resident_alien

      It’s “Harry Potter” all over again,isn’t it? Like our favourite boy wizard,Katniss Everdeen would’ve been better served with a “Lost”-ish drama series.Seriously,all those not-as-brilliant-as-by-rights-they-should-be moviefications of novels/book series make me lose my faith in the feature film as an art form…

  • http://about.me/snubs Shannon

    Abe Lincoln, Vamp Hunter is also an adaptation of a book (and a great book at that!). From the trailer, it looks like the movie is going to be heavily influenced by the more violent parts in the book. There was even a moment in the trailer that wasn’t a scene in the book- dunno what that’s all about! But my biteclubshow.com gals and I are all planning to see it.

    I think Hollywood did a really good job with Hunger Games. They obviously didn’t have enough time to include every convo Katniss had with Peeta or make certain death scenes as long as they should have been, and a few things were changed- but overall they did great. The one thing that upset me was the fact that they didn’t make the Capitol as fucked up as it should have been (dog mutations, etc). I’m glad they didn’t dumb it down for people that didn’t read the books. You could still get the full picture and Hollywood really focused on getting their personalities correct.

    Definitely read the next two books JT!! Unfortunately Ross won’t be directing the next one- worries me.

  • Ken

    As a sci-fi fan, I was a bit apprehensive about a plot I’ve read/seen 67,647 times before, but went anyway since everyone seems to love the movie. Personally, I thought it was a caricature of a cliche, but, as I say, I’m so tired of that plot that I doubt anyone could have made it fresh and new.

    I will say one thing, though. I used to think there was nothing worse than out of focus shaky-cam, but this movie made me realize that out of focus ultra closeup shaky-cam is worse. So it does have that going for it!

    • Mark Erickson

      Nailed it on the shaky cam. And the movie sucked, too. Even granting it was escapist and a made-from-book movie, it fell short. One dimensional characters, gratuitous deus ex machina, and the constant strings soundtrack at the end made me want to puke.

      JT, violence/suspense is plot driven. The opposite is character driven, which this movie certainly was not.

  • redpanda

    I haven’t seen the movie yet (looking forward to it), but I did read all three books a few months ago when I got tired of not knowing what everyone was talking about.

    They’re entertaining, although the political themes are pretty simplified. I had a hard time believing the world in a similar fashion to the way I felt about Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow series (the one that follows Bean and Peter as they take over the world following Ender’s game). Also, (minor spoiler), Katniss spends most of the third book suffering from reasonably severe PTSD. I’ve heard that the author did that intentionally, as she wanted to include a message that war has negative consequences, even for the victors. As far as how much I enjoyed them, I think I’d rank them in the order they came out.

  • carlie

    The main thing I didn’t like about the movie was that it didn’t seem to spend enough time on any of the relationships to have them earn the angst they got – it wasn’t entirely clear why Katniss grieved over Rue so much, or was so torn over Gale, or quite why Hamich was such a drunk. I got it because I’d read the books, but I’m not sure if that came through for people who were watching the movie without having read them.

    The only other nitpick I had was that it wasn’t clear that everyone in Panem was forced to watch the games, rather than it being entertainment for all.

    But other than that? I think it’s the best adaptation of a book I’ve ever seen, ever. And I loved the bits of fan service that were included without explanation, like the white rose on Pres. Snow’s lapel. Several little nuggets like that for the book readers were sprinkled throughout, and although I was worried about Woody being in it, he did a good job.

    Where’s the depth, the strategy, the ambivalence, that really made Katniss come alive? Instead, all we got was a superficial, plot-driven story.

    What I was worried most about was that it would turn into a flat stright love story with Walter from Zathura Peeta, and they did a decent job showing her ambiguity and that she was faking for at least part of it.

    And I kind of hate myself for it, but I also went OMG HAVE TO SEE VAMPIRE HUNTER LINCOLN during the previews. And then they showed one for the last Twilight movie, like there was any overlap in audiences (sheesh).

    • Michaelyn

      “The only other nitpick I had was that it wasn’t clear that everyone in Panem was forced to watch the games, rather than it being entertainment for all.”

      I completely agree with you on that one. I was thinking that during the movie.

  • Cynthia

    Remember the books are written for a young adult audience. That means the political stuff has to be a bit simplified, maybe a bit more straight forward than in some adult novels. Have to say, my kids clamored for these books. Seeing the movie was a foregone conclusion.

    And the verdict from the rabid fans? It was pretty good. And the ultimate compliment “at least they didn’t screw it up like ‘The Lightening Thief’!”

    • carlie

      And the ultimate compliment “at least they didn’t screw it up like ‘The Lightening Thief’!”

      NO KIDDING. My son and I were both braced for the worst, claiming we were going to simply cry if they pulled a Percy Jackson mangle on it.

  • Bruce Wayne

    JT…you and Michaelyn POOPED YOUR PANTS?!

    Ohhhh, thats to KINKY!

    Tell us MORE!!! snicker

  • Richard

    Personally, I thought the acting was superb. The camera work… needed work. There were only superficial changes to the plot from the book to the movie, so everyone crying about the “changes” can shush. Those claiming the plot was superficial can shush and go watch twilight, or any one of the other movies coming out with a plot I could write on a napkin. Frankly, it was a 95/100 for me, highest rating I’ve given a movie in years. Truly a gem to watch.

  • Rory

    I absolutely hated these books, and frankly thought that they got worse as they went on. I guess with the Twilight films ending this year there had to be some new awful pop culture thing to drive me nuts for the next few years.

  • had3

    First, I laughed out loud when Katniss sister gave her the “good luck” pin after it brought her only bad luck. Then I regretted the cheap resolution of Rue’s death. The moral quandary would have been what to do when just Rue and Katniss were left? If Katniss allows Rue to live, Rue is probably too young to understand the undercurrent of revolution, and life goes on the same. If Katniss kills Rue, she’s lost her moral high ground and garners no followers. But as someone wrote above, it was written for teens and happy endings (as happy as 22 other deaths can be).

  • Cunning Pam

    At my insistence Hubs and I saw this when it came out, and while it wasn’t a ginormous disappointment, it doesn’t do a great job of capturing the books IMO. Still, like many book adaptations, it was neat to see some version of a series I enjoyed completely up on the screen.

    However, after we saw this we watched Blackhawk Down a couple of nights later, and then yesterday we saw the 3D version of Titanic (hubs insisted, I’ve avoided that movie like the plague since its release, but it’s his favorite movie EVAR!!1! and I promised to see it with him) and now I’m kind of DEATH, SUFFERING AND DESTRUCTIONed out.

    Nothing but unicorns, flowers and kittens for me for a few weeks, I think.

  • robb

    saw the movie. was okay. haven’t read the books. its an american ripoff of Battle Royale:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    Meh, think I’ll read the books instead.


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