Monday, March 26, 2012
Quick Review of The Hunger Games
I've not read the books, but I wasn't the least bit confused by the background and plot of the film. If you've watched a number of other "Most Dangerous Game" styled movies, you can push the fiddly bits aside and watch teenagers hunt and kill each other for sport. About that - I didn't have any problem with what I saw, and I would have been willing to take a kid (if I had one) to see this movie if they were old enough to read and fully comprehend the book. I've seen people who claim they wouldn't even let 15-year olds see the movie. What reality are these parents living in? I've no idea. I was reading Vietnam memoirs in grade school, so maybe it's just me.
Overall, I thought this was a very solid film. I was certainly more emotionally invested in the story and the characters than I was watching John Carter. The issues that these sorts of "gladiatorial" movies bring up, such as The Running Man, Spartacus, Gladiator, Gamer, Death Race 2000 (and to a lesser extent the remake) and so forth are all relatively similar. The clincher is of course making the combatants teenagers, and also teenagers of a wildly varying age range. Pitting a 12 year old girl against an 18 year old boy is, by and large, going to be an unfair fight. I'm not going to post any spoilers here, but let's just say the fighting isn't always fair, and comments early on in the film about how the most dangerous opponent in the Games is the arena itself are certainly true.
Overall acting and screenplay I thought were solid. Child actors, especially those having to play very emotional roles, can be really good or incredibly awful. I definitely feel that the cast for this film was well-chosen, and although there were a few chuckle moments for me, that's mostly because I'm a bastard and often find myself laughing when others weep. So sue me.
I did say this would be a quick review, so I'll leave it at that. For a story that comes from a Young Adult novel, I think this was a very good movie and well worth the money I paid. I only wish I took the money I spent on John Carter and used it for this ticket instead. It's actually kind of sad that a story that's almost a hundred years old gets handled so poorly while a book that's only been out a couple of years does so well. I wouldn't want to see their fortunes reversed, but it is interesting to see the differences in how the two franchises have been handled.