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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Hunger Games: Movie Review

   I must begin by saying that I didn’t dislike this movie. I wasn’t captivated by it either.

   I have not read the books of The Hunger Games trilogy. Clearly that would have helped immensely in the watching of this movie. I am sure it is a difficult thing when making a movie like this in regards to determining whether to write the screen play for the readers of the books or the watchers of the movie. In the first option the producer and director can assume alot of things and merely allude to them in the movie or completely leave them out all together. In the second option they would be forced to skip potentially significant parts of the story in order to fit it in the movie format. Both have their negatives. But both have their positives as well. The producer and director of The Hunger Games opted for the first option and by all accounts did a good job at faithfully recreating the world and the story related in the first book of the trilogy. However, seeing it as one who did not know anything of the story besides the very basic plot put forth in the trailers (which made me think of The Running Man movie), I came away from it wondering how this movie will ever gain the vast audience of series like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or even The Chronicles of Narnia. It is not on par with any of those movies in the least.

   Some of my criticisms will be met with, “well you should have read the books.” And I guess that's fair but I can’t imagine the makers were not expecting people who had not read the books to watch the movie. If they did though, they didn’t care. There was very little character development which was surprising as slow as the beginning is and as long as it took them to get to the actual game. They had plenty of time to do it but squandered the opportunity for spectacle instead.

   The acting was pretty good. I wanted to love Katniss and feel heartbreak for Peeta and hate President Snow but I couldn’t. I just really didn’t care about any of the characters. I didn’t know who I should feel empathy for or with whom I should sympathize. The MC of the games was so endearing that I actually enjoyed him. I don’t think I was supposed to. The whole thing was convoluted.

   When the Games finally started there was little suspense. I didn’t know who to trust and root for and who to distrust and root against. In the end I could only pick one right? And even I knew the winner before the thing even started so the only question was how. That question was answered almost immediately when she was given magic medicine to heal her leg. The fix was in. Americans have traditionally been fans of the underdog so this was a twist but not in a good way. Suddenly everyone else was the underdog and suddenly I was disinterested.

   The absolute lack of information about anything made this movie nothing more than just another movie when maybe it could have been so much more.

   Camera work was annoying too. Some days I wish The Blair Witch Project had never been made.

   But in the end it is the support from the Christian community that has me confounded. There are far more positives I could take away from movies like The Exorcist III, The Ninth Configuration, or even The Book of Eli than The Hunger Games. And those are all R rated movies.

   What I think is that Christians are so desperate for something positive to cling to from Hollywood that they are now grasping at straws. I saw this happen in the Eighties and Nineties with music. At first Christians just tried to copy anything remotely popular in the music world. Then they actually began creating quality music themselves but that was not enough. They started trying to find God in any song or artist they could. We ended up with artists like U2 or R. Kelly and Evanescence being loved by Christians everywhere. And now here we are doing the same thing with movies. And frankly, its embarrassing.

   The Hunger Games is a movie about a game where children are taught to kill each other for societies enjoyment. And really, how did anyone watch the movie without becoming an active part of that very society? There was no choice. Except that it was so poorly constructed that I think most people probably didn't care enough to participate. I know I didn’t. So maybe that is one positive thing.

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