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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Ledes: The Hunger Games

I have so many ideas for a lede for a Hunger Games review… just can’t decide…

“If you made vanilla pudding that had just the right color to look like good vanilla pudding… and then you removed the vanilla… you would have The Hunger Games.”

“Makes the first Twilight movie look like a masterwork. Twilight is still a terrible movie, but at least it’s high camp ravioli filled with hard PG-13 lust. The Hunger Games is tofu with nothing around it to add flavor.”

“Anyone who claims that The Hunger Games is not a PG – not even a PG-13 – ripoff of Battle Royale has to go to an island and watch The Hunger Games over and over until they commit suicide. No one leaves.”

“It’s not easy to make a movie about over 20 children being murdered by state decree and still not offer anything remotely moving. And to take Stanley Tucci in a blue wig and oversized teeth, Elizabeth Banks in a pink everything, and Woody Harrelson in Jeff Daniels’ Dumb & Dumber wig and an audience full of people dressed as the “lovely party” sideshow that dances the Time Warp in Rocky Horror and only get 4 or 5 random laughs may be a crime against movies.”

“Not a wet eye in the house.”

“And Donald Sutherland as Colonel Klink!”

“Isn’t it a little offensive in this day and age for a movie to present governmental fascism, racial segregation, and the ritualized murder of children to keep a segment of society that rebelled decades earlier in line, and to have none of it carry any meaning… or any true horror for children? Is this film any less desensitizing than Grand Theft Auto? (The CG certainly isn’t any better)”

56 Responses to “Ledes: The Hunger Games”

  1. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “rand Theft Auto”

    Is that the “darker and edgier” sequel to Atlas Shrugged?

  2. LYT says:

    How about:

    “The Hunger Games. Oy.”

  3. David Poland says:

    I wish it was an “Oy.” More a zzzzzz

  4. Lex says:

    Does Katniss show her feet?

    James Rocchi and Scooterzz Not Rocchi have declared this a near-masterpiece. What the hell is Poland on about?

  5. scooterzz says:

    i’m stunned by your reaction…i mean, i expected the usual contrarian attitude but, really…complete dismissal ?…this is, hands down, one of the best page to screen adaptations of a pop culture phenomenon… it totally works…and, the few nit-picks are obviously fixable in ep.two…this movie is more of a hit than a miss…

  6. Yancy Skancy says:

    I haven’t read the book, and, not being a critic, haven’t seen the film either. But yeah, the “comedy” stuff looks oddly out of tone with what otherwise seems to be rather dour, intense material. Banks and Tucci look like they wandered in from a Tim Burton film, but I guess it’s all true to the book, eh?

    How was Lawrence?

  7. GexL says:

    “this is, hands down, one of the best page to screen adaptations of a pop culture phenomenon…”

    But what if the source material is as vanilla and uninteresting as DP describes the movie (which the book is)? Polishing a turd still leaves one with a turd, albeit a shiny one.

  8. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah the complete dismissal of this film by David, and then stating it’s a worse film than Twilight is a bit shocking. It’s also good way to get geek critics pissed off at him, seeing that almost all of them seem to love this movie.

    One more thing: Woody is basically wearing his wig from Kingpin in this movie. Never forget Kingpin. NEVER FORGET!

  9. sanj says:

    worse than twilight ? yikes. so nobody is gonna come around
    for a dp/30 then…. they’ll just have to be happy with the millions of bucks.

  10. Trevor says:

    Are you joking? I’d rather watch the 2 minute preview of the Hunger Games 50 times, than watch the first Twilight movie again…any comparisons between the two are ridiculous.

  11. JM says:

    GexL, You only just said that you like and want to see turd.

  12. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “any comparisons between the two are ridiculous.”

    - A movie made by a mini-major studio
    - Adapted from a popular YA novel series
    - In an alternate-reality setting
    - Directed by by someone whose first film was about teenagers challenging social conventions
    - Starring an actress who made her name in art films
    - With a prominent love-triangle storyline
    - With one of the love-triangle actors coming from a British Commonwealth country
    - Heavily promoted by getting the lead romantic actors to tour malls across the US to attract tween audiences

    Which film am I talking about again?

  13. hcat says:

    I think Trevor means comparisions between the quality of the films. I doubt anyone would argue that Lionsgate isn’t looking to tap into the Twilight audience anymore than someone would argue that Battleship bears no resemblence to Transformers.

  14. chris says:

    Might not want to lede with the word “And.” (And a couple of the others aren’t ledes, either.)

  15. Foamy Squirrel says:

    *shrug* Some people prefer apple pie over peach cobbler, but I wouldn’t call comparisons between the two ridiculous.

  16. movieman says:

    A tad snarky and dismissive, no?
    While I’d never suggest that “HG” (or any of the “Twilight,” or “Potter” flicks for that matter) was “made” for me, it’s a damn sight better than most of the other YA-sourced movies to make it to the big screen over the past decade-plus.
    Lawrence is outstanding (were you really expecting anything less?), Lenny Kravitz rules, Hutchinson is…well, Hutchinson (which is OK in my book: he does the “sensitive adolescent male” role better than anyone right now) and it was nice seeing so many good actors (Harrelson, Tucci, Sutherland, et al) even if they don’t have a whole lot to do.
    My biggest gripe with the film–besides the fact that, apparently, the entire book series and ensuing film adaptations are such obvious, albeit uncredited, “Battle Royale” rip-offs–is overlength (damn you, Harry Potter) and the blank, boring Hemsworth (clearly his older brother got all the talent in the family).
    Overall it was far more engaging and yes, even compelling at times, than I expected going in.
    P.S.= I’m a huge “Pleasantville” fan.

  17. Yancy Skancy says:

    movieman: “Pleasantville” is one of my pet movies to pick on. I simply don’t get it, or the love for it. I did enjoy “Seabiscuit” more than I expected to, but that was due more to the actors, cinematographer and designers than Ross, who in both films seemed too fond of over-inflating his rather obvious points as though he were Moses with the tablets. So I guess I won’t be shocked if HG underwhelms me. I think I can keep an open mind though.

  18. JoJo says:

    movieman, I think you mean Hutcherson.

  19. David Poland says:

    It’s funny… all the defenses seem to excuse or not even address my core problem with the film… which in spite of scooterzzzz attempt to diminish my opinion by calling it “contrarian,”is undeniable. (Please read the entirety of Roger Ebert’s 3 star review that says almost the same thing, ever so gently.)

    The fact that Jennifer Lawrence is a great presence doesn’t make the movie good.

    The reason this ranks behind the hideous Twilight, with all its shitty effects and bad make-up and over the top acting and abs, abs, abs is that at least Twilight had some blood running through its veins. (And when I was writing that, I hadn’t intended a pun… but recognized it after I wrote the word “blood”)

    This film, sadly, has no stakes. (Another pun!) You know Katniss can’t be killed going in. You have no real relationship with any of the other kids… not even Josh Hutcherson, who is undeniably leaden. So they are all cardboard cutouts that will fall one way or another.

    Even the movie knows this, as it stops keeping count for the audience after the first night, when it shows you the first six dead.

    And frankly, I can get people or geeks wanting to see something they love come to life. Same with John Carter, which had many of the same problems. If you’ve waited all your life to see Tharks live and white monkeys fight, the movie delivers that. But I’m not fan of jukebox musicals unless they are more than just a greatest hits album live.

  20. Captain Celluloid says:

    They all seem right on the money, David, altho I think my fav
    is the “vanilla” one . . . . altho the TWILIGHT ravioli / tofu metaphor
    is likely more apt.

    Perhaps of greater interest, and perhaps worthy of a Poland comment,

    is for what reason [s] is HUNGER GAMES being given a – thus far – pretty much totally free pass by the “media” whereas by this point JOHN CARTER had been totally eviscerated by that same “media.”

    Could it be that the “media” sensed some small measure of JOHN CARTER’s blood in the water and created a self fulfilling “oh look how perceptive I am” prophecy?

    Could it be that self-same “media” noticed that the core audience for HUNGER GAMES would show up in droves for ANYthing regardless of how dreadful . . . . so that “media” decided to say nothing
    eviscerating lest they be found out as lacking perception.

    Stunning yet appalling how a films are declared “bombs”
    and “blockbusters” before they are released or even actually SEEN by anybody . . . .

    Hey, I get the “old makes way for the new”-ishness of life . . . .
    but film “media,” accelerated by the internet, is putting bodies in the ground as the bodies protest “I’m not dead yet.”

    Film media has become like the political process;
    democracy by who shouts the loudest.

    This can’t be good for the Art of the FIlm and/or Digital

    -30-

    FULL DISCLOSURE:
    – I liked JOHN CARTER, faults and all
    – It did remind me of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    – it perhaps reminded me more of THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
    – Andrew Stanton is not a saint but he surely does not deserve
    the Spanish inquisition that he is getting from the media / blogosphere.
    – I work in the film business
    – I have a BS in Journalism
    – I am not a 14 year old Young Adult Girl

  21. bulldog68 says:

    Gosh, David, worse than Twilight? That’s just low man, low. Twilight is pretty bad. I have yet to find any redeeming qualities about the entire Twilight series. I watched the first two because I thought it would be totally unfair to bash a movie I had not seen. It was worse than I expected.

    As someone said earlier, even the trailer to Hunger Games looks better than the Twilight movies.

  22. Paul D/Stella says:

    The first Twilight is the only one I’ve seen. It’s a Syfy movie with a bigger budget. Stiff acting, weak CGI, generic writing, stock characters, and by-the-numbers directing. It’s unintentionally (I think) hilarious from start to finish. Constant laughter is the only reason I made it through the whole thing.

    The Hunger Games looks much, much better. I sure hope it’s not worse than Twilight. That’s frightening. The story seems far more compelling and the trailer/TV Spots are way more interesting. I haven’t read the books and had no interest in seeing it until very recently. Now I’m curious and would like to check it out.

  23. chris says:

    I’m not sure it’s possible to address your core problem, DP. If its emotions didn’t work for you, they didn’t. They did for me, though — especially the scenes between Katniss and Prim, which I think set up the whole emotional stakes of the Hunger Games themselves.

  24. Wilder says:

    Didn’t Soderberg do second-unit on this?

    And at least HUNGER GAMES has a THEME: the inhumanity of reality shows colliding with sending our young to worthless wars.

  25. sanj says:

    the hunger games is nearly 2.5 hours long – somehow teens can sit through this “bad” movie but adults won’t ?

    will adults leave midway through the movie and ask for their money back ?

    how about a special dp/30 ? – DP vs teens – discuss why teens like a movie DP totally hates .

  26. David Poland says:

    We don’t know how teens will feel, sank, until AFTER they’ve seen the movie.

    And with due respect, a lot of critics start pandering to crap when they hear it’s going to be Twilight big.

    I’m sure some sincerely like it. And they need to pick up their balls (inc women) with their cell phones after screening the film.

  27. David Poland says:

    And there you have it, Chris. 20+ children are murdered in a state-enforced event over 100 minutes and your primary, if not exclusive, emotional connection is The Little Sister She Left Behind in the first 15 minutes.

    I couldn’t explain why this is garbage much better than that. (But I will try to do so today.)

  28. movieman says:

    Yes, JoJo. Thanks, lol.
    You didn’t like “Pleasantville,” but did like “Seabiscuit,” Yancy?
    It’s just the opposite for me. I thought “Seabiscuit” took frigging forever to get started–or as my most frequent moviegoing companion likes to put it, “the thing had a LOONNNGGGG front porch”–and by the time it finally worked up a head of narrative steam, I’d pretty much lost interest. Also felt the Americana/Capra-corniest aspects of the movie were ladled on with the heaviest of hands. I did like Tobey, Jeff and Liz Banks, though, and thought it looked almost “Tucker”-ish good.

  29. Yancy Skancy says:

    movieman: “Seabiscuit’s” flaws are many; they just didn’t grate on me as badly as “Pleasantville’s.” Here’s a thing I wrote about it a while back:

    Try as I might, I’ve never been able to make sense of “Plesantville’s” premise. I get the Garden of Eden parallels, but I think maybe it’s the filmic equivalent of a “straw man.” Ross creates Pleasantville as a sitcom world in which everyone is happy because, basically, they’re “drawn” that way. But when Tobey and Reese get there and muck everything up, we’re supposed to feel for the plight of certain characters (Joan Allen) and despise the actions of others (J.T. Walsh).

    So the film’s noble, liberal sentiment is undercut by an unintended message: “Ignorance is bliss,” or maybe “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Tobey and Reese come off as missionaries trying to convert natives to their religion. Also, since I know that racism, sexual repression and book-burning are bad, I don’t really need a silly parable to make that point. If this story could have somehow been told in the mid-50s when such sitcoms were at their height, it would have been a hard-hitting social statement. But in the 90s it just feels like Ross came too late to the party.

    Maybe I’d have liked it better if I actually bought into the notion that everyone who lived in the 50s was stupid enough to think that real life was identical to family sitcoms. TV undeniably reflected (and still reflects) the prevailing social mores, and we all go through a “there is no Santa Claus” phase when we learn that there’s more to life than what comes through our screens. But most of us learn that by the end of adolescence.

    “Pleasantville’s” good intentions are undeniable; I just wish it didn’t have that creepy little suggestion that the destruction of innocence is, by definition, a good thing.

  30. christian says:

    PLEASANTVILLE is a classic for one reason: Don Knotts. THE END.

  31. chris says:

    Actually, no — I mentioned that in response to your claim there’s “nothing remotely moving” in the movie. I think there is. What I’m saying is that that connection underscores the waste of the Hunger Games that Katniss carries throughout the Hunger Games and that will lead to young people rebelling against it. To me, it seems clear the whole process makes her heartsick (beginning with that personal connection, continuing with the Rue relationship) and that builds throughout the movie. Sounds like you didn’t buy into that but I think it’s worth acknowledging the possibility that some will.

  32. movieman says:

    Yancy-Truth be told, I haven’t seen “Pleasantville” since its (1998) release.
    But I actually saw it twice during the film’s (not terribly successful) theatrical run.
    While chatting with Ross at a Writer’s Guild cocktail party during the 2003/4 awards season, I deliberately avoided mentioning “Seabiscuit,” and instead concentrated on how much I loved “Pleasantville” (and his screenplay for “Dave”). Not sure whether he was able to ascertain that I wasn’t a very big fan of his most recent nag, lol.

  33. The Pope says:

    I don’t know David. I haven’t read any of the novels and only knew of the story by way of the trailer. But I was really impressed. It is a brilliant idea for a story and I thought the movie handled it very well.

  34. Krillian says:

    Yeah, we know Katniss will live to the end, just like we knew Sharon Stone would make it to the end of The Quick & the Dead or Stone Cold Steve Austin in The Condemned or any of these to-the-death tournaments go.

  35. anghus says:

    When the media can’t wrap it’s arms around something, it gets a pass.

    You get nebulous, non-specific Twilight reviews where they refuse to admit that Taylor Lautner is barely capable of acting. You get the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace with B- reviews because they’re afraid of seemingly irrelevant.

    Hunger Games could very well be the same animal. The buzz is big, it’s huge with teens.

    Good is not important to the equation for a lot of critics and online media outlets because mania is more important than quality.

    Twilight is a lot like Tim Tebow. Everyone gets really excited about it but at the end of the day the finished product is kind of underwhelming. But it doesn’t matter because the people who love it are so fucking loud and passionate that common sense gets drowned out.

    Someone once asked a few months before Phantom Menace came out: What if it isn’t any good?

    The answer: It doesn’t matter.

    Hunger Games would only benefit from good word of mouth, but don’t think bad word of mouth would harm it in any way. Get on board or get out of the way. That’s what mania is.

    And Roger “Technology can’t produce art but it can give me speech” Ebert’s review is absolutely sad in the way he gives a very average film an above average score. There isn’t an ounce of passion in his review for the film and yet it ends up with 3 stars. At some point you would think decades of criticism would make you impervious to the vanity of seeming irrelevant. I guess that’s not the case.

    Then again, here’s what Ebert said in his summary about Phantom Menace:

    ” As for the bad rap about the characters–hey, I’ve seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They’re called “Star Trek” movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day.”

    Yikes. Just yikes. Not exactly the barometer of good taste.

  36. David Poland says:

    So Chris… the next movie is the movie that will make this movie worth sitting through?

    “that will lead to young people rebelling against it.”

    So now the first movie is the middle movie?

  37. David Poland says:

    Well, Krill… we know there are more books.

    And since the is no character who offers a hint of being significant in the next story, aside from Sutherland and the blond kid (but I can only assume that he’s the wolf, not the vampire)… she is impossible to kill.

  38. JS Partisan says:

    Anghus, yeah, Tim Tebow and Twilight are the same because all THEY DO IS WIN, WIN, AND WIN! Seriously, Paul Hornung won. Tebow wins. Twilight has led to Summit taking over Lionsgate.

    Seriously, if you want to slam Tim Tebow then please, feel free to ignore that the kid wins no matter what, and that the kid has a statue in his honor at Florida for a reason. He wins. Don’t be an Elway and hate on a winner.

  39. Todd Gilchrist says:

    I’ll address as many of your criticisms as possible, although I admit I’m entirely unclear what your “core problem” with the film is, if it isn’t that “none of it carries any meaning” (which is probably too subjective to debate):

    “You know Katniss can’t be killed going in.”

    Unlike The Dark Knight, the Bourne films, almost every action film in the last three decades, you mean? A hero prevailing is an inevitable, unchangeable convention of virtually all movies now — and mostly ever, which is why we’re so surprised and it’s memorable when the hero dies.

    I thought Hutcherson did a good job communicating what was demanded of him, but he’s secondary to Katniss, and their relationship is tertiary (or even further down the food chain of important plot details). The story is about Katniss coming of age, being forced to do whatever necessary to survive in order to keep her family together. Consequently, Peeta’s interest in her (much less his own storyline) is less focused upon, and deliberately less important.

    As a commenter suggested above, the relationship between Katniss and Prim sets up the entire emotional dynamic of the film, with Katniss as a survivor and protector, and the political undercurrent of a fascistic regime is de-emphasized in order to examine what she can and will do in order to survive, including [SPOILERS] pretending to be in love with a boy she doesn’t actually care about. It obviously remains to be seen how they address the larger political context in subsequent films, but this film seems expressly designed to set-up the reverberations of her victory within that society, even though she sees it only as an opportunity to return home and be reunited with her family. And in that regard, I did care, and I think the reflection of her familial relationships in her dealings with Rue give the story a clear and compelling throughline. She isn’t invulnerable, she has to learn from her experiences in order to survive, and she does, including learning the value in that world of emotion, but real and pretend. And in teenage terms, those are pretty sophisticated themes that the film explores really intelligently.

  40. Connor says:

    Hilarious how it takes one person to come out and shit on something for the ignorant band wagoners to follow suit. Well, maybe more pathetic than hilarious.

    The negative few are always the loudest. Shame.

  41. David Poland says:

    Have you even seen the movie, Connor?

    And Todd… unlike Batman and Bourne, the entire story of the movie isn’t about 1 person surviving in a group of 24. As a pure action play, you couldn’t possibly think this movie does as interesting a job of putting her through her paces as Batman or Bourne (which, by the way, didn’t have to end with Bourne surviving at all).

    What do you think she learns? I don’t think her character moves an inch, aside from learning to pretend on TV. Maybe The Kardashians or one of the 16 & Pregnant girls will show up in the next film.

    Honestly, I think you (in this case) – and this film – are patronizing to teens.

  42. JS Partisan says:

    Isn’t it a bit of a stretch to tell teens, who get something from this property that you do not, that they are being patronized?

  43. David Poland says:

    I meant by Todd… in the notion that “in teenage terms, those are pretty sophisticated themes that the film explores really intelligently.”

    Really simplistically, in my view.

    Are they being patronized by the author, books, and film? Wouldn’t say that. Misled, in thinking this is sophisticated material and they are being challenged in a real way by it… perhaps.

  44. Todd Gilchrist says:

    I think that examining the idea of teenage self-discovery via these external challenges is sophisticated and interesting. A young woman discovering that she can manipulate those around her (indeed an entire “world”) via the pretense of acquiescing to romantic fantasies is pretty complex to me. The idea of realizing that she can — or even has to — put on a different face for the world than the one she wants, I don’t think is patronizing to teenagers, nor testing the boundaries of her control of other people. Her interest in Peeta is strictly for the cameras, as she subtly acknowledges when she says she wants things to go back to the way they were.

    If you don’t like the film, fine — I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong to feel that way. But I think it’s unfair to suggest the film isn’t saying anything interesting, entertaining, or emotionally engaging, much less to suggest that the film fails because it never pursued the possibility that the main character and heroine could or would die. I would argue that isn’t a criticism you would immediately lobby at any of the movies I mentioned above, or say that of any movie in which, say, Clint Eastwood or any other major movie star (especially male) was the main character. And in spite of the dry-eyed crowd at your screening, I think there will be a lot of viewers at a lot of ages who respond strongly to its story, as I did. That doesn’t make me more right, but it at least suggests there’s something underneath its story and characters that people are connecting with, for better or worse, as they did in the book(s) themselves.

  45. Ewong says:

    On your criticism about Hunger Games not having any stakes, I really have to wonder how you could think that Twilight doesn’t do the same thing. You know that they can’t kill Bella (even though I wish they would, and not in the “turn her into a vampire” way) any more than you can’t expect the writer to kill Katniss when you know there are more installments to be made. It’s the same with any movie saga, book series, or television show. I believe the main problem with why the movie adaptation may not translate the drama and emotion the way the books did is because the books are written in the 1st person, and in present tense. So, the way it reads is more energetic and much more fluid than other novels that paint a much broader picture. It’s the problem I see with Hunger Games as well as the Percy Jackson books. Both are told in the 1st person, and from the main character’s POV, so you kind of explore the world through their thoughts and emotions, which may not read well on-screen when there is more than one thought in a character’s head at any given point in time. Especially when there isn’t a scene where the internal struggle can be represented in some way. Scenes dealing with mistrust, deceit, and problem solving don’t lend much to a visual medium when you don’t have a way to understand a character’s thought process. Your review pretty much exemplifies what I was dreading about the movie, however the previews did placate some of my anxiety. I just have to wait and see it for myself.

  46. PaulNYC says:

    I think reviewers who are at least chronologically adult have a hard time with anything that is geared towards what they perceive to be the hipper and more relevant younger set. Pablum reviews that seem to not want to piss-off the audience for this film are like music reviewers gushing over a band that puts out tuneless music with lots of fuzzed-out strumming. It sucks but they’re afraid to say it sucks because it cuts down their chances of bedding someone half their age.

  47. Ewong says:

    Oh, and yes, I’ll give you that Hunger Games (as in the first installment of the movie/book series) shares more than a little with Battle Royale, and Battle Royale does it better. However, from the next installment onward, the Hunger Games series shifts its focus to the political fallout from the way the first book ends. From there it snowballs into a much richer experience, but I’m not sure how well the series is going to be depicted on a movie screen.

    About your complaint about the overuse of governmental fascism, etc. in the last paragraph of your “review”, I can only say that those themes have become familiar archetypes for storytelling because audiences (especially younger ones) really go for stuff like that. It’s the same way people like a good underdog story or a fun romantic comedy. The only difference is that the way the are presented reflects the sensibilities of the time. Other fascist empires have been depicted as the rich people in power over the poor, but the Hunger Games introduces the element of linking consumerism to barbaric entertainment in a more modern setting versus a gladiator movie set in ancient Rome. it makes it more appealing to new audiences and also makes it more relatable. I’m not sure if that makes it any less cliche, but it might mean the difference between someone casually enjoying it and feeling like it was catered specifically for them.

  48. sanj says:

    has the cast of the hunger games seen this or DP’s review of the movie ? will anybody be angry enough to stop doing
    interviews in the future ?

    this should be one of the top posts of the year … you
    should bring it up at the end of the year ..

    this is exactly one of those times its not easy being a critic for a super popular book / franchise film series..

    the year is not over – Spiderman / Batman / Avengers probably will get better reviews from DP ..although
    i’m not sure of Battleship …

  49. Sam says:

    I fully understand what he meant mentioning twilight here.
    It seems that some people didn’t understand what he meant.

  50. chris says:

    No, DP, they rebel against it in this movie. I haven’t read the other books — I have no idea what happens in them.

  51. SamLowry says:

    “You know that they can’t kill Bella any more than you can’t expect the writer to kill Katniss when you know there are more installments to be made.”

    Why does Katniss need to survive for there to be a sequel? Couldn’t another character be inspired enough by her death to carry on the fight? She volunteered so her sister wouldn’t have to go–why not let her sister take the lead?

    …or is that the problem with the movie–none of the characters are compelling enough to inspire anyone to do anything?

  52. SamLowry says:

    The one bright, shining line in Glenn Kenny’s piece was “nobody seems particularly interested in treating it as a discrete piece AT ALL.”

    http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2012/03/from-hunger.html

    How many critics who reviewed any of the Jane Austen adaptations felt a need to read the books first? How many felt a need to devour Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories before they could make an informed decision about those Robert Downey Jr. flicks? And how about Shakespeare for that matter–did anyone dust off their Cliff’s Notes before they dared to comment on the chemistry between DiCaprio and Danes?

  53. Susan says:

    Well, to be fair, rebellion against the governmental fascism, racial segregation and ritualized murder of children is what the Hunger Games will turn into, and this first movie sets it up.
    I completely disagree with saying this movie was more PG than Twilight. I do, however, think it lacked the emotional punch that the books had.

  54. Alicia says:

    Hi all,
    (SPOILERS…. if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie)
    I saw the movie on Sunday. Having read the books numerous times, an then the reviews, I was so excited to see this movie. My boyfriend, who is not a reader and has not read the books, was excited to see this movie. (He saw Harry Potter only for me, he saw this because he had an interest.) We walked out of the theater asking the same question….What was the point of this movie? I can forgive the little changes (the color of the cornucopia, no Madge, etc), but I felt they took away the meat of the story and only left the skeleton. In all reality, who cares about the skeleton? Where is the reason I would want to wait 18 months to see the next one? I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of the characters. I did cry when Rue died, but more because I knew I should cry for her, to because of Katniss’ emotions.

    David: I think your vanilla pudding comment is spot on. But the last one: “Isn’t it a little offensive in this day and age for a movie to present governmental fascism, racial segregation, and the ritualized murder of children to keep a segment of society that rebelled decades earlier in line, and to have none of it carry any meaning… or any true horror for children? Is this film any less desensitizing than Grand Theft Auto? (The CG certainly isn’t any better)” is absolutely perfect. Why do we care about these characters?

    The one positive thing I can say about this movie, was that I though the casting was perfect. I loved Woody Harrelson and everyone else was pretty much how I pictured it in my head.

    I will see the next one, but I won’t be counting down the days to it.

  55. Sarah says:

    I can’t figure out why so many people care what you have to say about this film, when you don’t present a single objective criticism and rely solely on cutting humor… people these days.

  56. Yancy Skancy says:

    Sarah: Anything objective one says about a film is not criticism.

    I haven’t read the books, but I enjoyed the film, despite a general aversion to dystopian fantasies (which are almost never remotely plausible). At least it has a compelling star, a couple of interesting relationship dynamics, and a nice forward momentum, even if the latter is partially the result of some annoying shooting and editing choices.

    I don’t quite get David’s objection to the way the deaths are handled. While it might be preferable if each individual death had a tragic impact, I think the very premise of the story does a lot of the work. I didn’t need to read profiles of the Columbine victims to gauge the tragedy of that event. To me, Katniss, Peeta and Rue provided enough emotional content, but I guess mileage varies.

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“The effect of the avalanche, and Tomas’ refusal to acknowledge his terror, seem to have devastating effects. But the interesting thing about Force Majeure is the sly suggestion that maybe this event could have a liberating effect on the family.”
~ Robert Horton 

 “Teaching how to make a film is like trying to teach someone how to fuck. You can’t. You have to fuck to learn how to fuck. It’s just how it is. The filmmaker has to protect the adventurous side of their self. I’m an explorer, I’m an inventor. Doc Brown is the character I relate to the most and he’s a madman. He’s a madman alone, locked up with his ideas but he does whatever he wants. He makes what he makes because he wants to make it. Yes, the DeLorean has to work in order for him to be a madman with a purpose—the DeLorean should work—but the point is I think everyone should try and find their own DeLorean. When Zemeckis was trying to get Back To The Future made, which he was for seven years, he was trying to get a film made where basically a teenager gets in a time machine, goes back to 1954 and almost —-s his mother. That pitch is extremely subversive and twisted in a way. My point is, he had a fascinating idea that no one had done before, but was clearly special to him and he stuck to it and made it what it was. When you do that you can create culture, but I think a lot of movies are just echoing culture and there’s a difference.”
~ A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night Filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour