Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games [2012]

Director: Gary Ross
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth
Genre: Science fiction/Action
Rating: General
Excerpt: "A hard sell for someone who's unfamiliar the books. Definitely not a standalone movie..."

In a dystopian future where a civil war tore down North America as we know it, and a nation known as Panem rose victorious. In a move that's meant to punish those who revolted, Panem decreed that two able-bodied children aged anywhere between twelve to eighteen from all twelve districts must participate in the annual Hunger Games, a tournament where they all fight to the death until only one is left. The story shifts its focus to a sixteen-year-old girl, Katniss from District 12, who volunteers for the Hunger Games in place of her sister. Despite the amount of survival skills she accumulated over the years, nothing could prepare her for what is to come.

What to Expect
1. Decent action sequences
2. Unconvincing mythology
3. Inevitable book vs. movie debate
4. Cool cast
5. Baffling decisions made by the characters
6. A missed opportunity

What NOT to Expect
1. Rambo
2. Twilight
3. Battle Royale
You can afford to miss it
Books are books. Movies are movies. Feel free to read the first two sentences another time because I don't want you fans to accuse me of discrediting this movie, saying things like "You have to read the books!" like it's my own damn fault. Besides, I already have a backlog of unread books in my personal library, and the whole point of adapting a novel is so you wouldn't have to read the damn thing, right?

So as I was saying, as far as movies go, it felt like The Hunger Games was made for the fans and it didn't seem like they wanted to gain new fans all that much. That's neither good or bad, I'm just saying that's what it felt like. You see, what bugged me the most was how they kept on testing how far they can stretch my suspension of disbelief. Even by Science fiction standards, it seemed a little too far fetched that anyone can be okay with everything that happened in the movie.


Suzanne Collins secretly hates children, sorry kid...
So I did what I could to "just go along with it" and what I got in exchange for logic, sympathy and empathy is a movie made for teenagers who's trying to distance themselves from their Twilight-loving peers, with some decent action sequences that might be entertaining for them, but will do very little to excite hardcore action movie fans of my generation. So don't go into it expecting to see something that could rival First Blood [1982] or the Japanese cult classic Battle Royale [1999].

Well, it wasn't completely devoid of violence. It's just that, some of the things you're going to see will make you flinch. But it's really because it involved children as young as twelve years old. Just be thankful that at least they hired a cameraman with Parkinson's Disease so we wouldn't have to see it in plain view. To put it into context, it's kind of like watching two eighty-year-olds getting it on in a softcore porn movie. Even if they don't show any explicit sexual intercourse, it would still be enough to traumatise you.

Sorry for that mental image. But look, here's two attractive teenagers to look at...
But it's not all bad. The casting of this movie certainly helped in making The Hunger Games feel like a real movie (Find me one person who can't stand Woody Harrelson, and I'll spit in their food). With that being said, if you have any trouble believing the premise of the movie, rest assured that the acting will help you ease into it. Jennifer Lawrence, in particular, deserves praise and I'm sure real movie critics out there are saying the same thing.

Okay, maybe I'm not being fair here. After all, I said many times over that a movie should be seen the way it's meant to be seen, instead of what I expect to see. And I believe that, I really do. What this review here meant to convey is that I saw the movie the way it's supposed to, and I don't buy it. Again, I believe this is because the movie was made with the assumption that people have read the books, therefore we're supposed fill in the plot hole(s) ourselves.

Therefore, the payoff of this movie (for me) comes in the form of its audiovisual. Of course, you might need a little bit of a getting-used-to with the movie's take on what's the future is going to look like. Gaudy, tacky, and pretty much what the world looked like in the late '60s. But that's hardly a complaint, if anything it gave the movie a little more depth. I shall not say why, just so you'd have something to ponder upon.

Is it worth it? Well, just don't make it out to be more than what it's meant to be; A movie that's meant to offer the world yet another reason why Bella Swan is the stupidest, most annoying and useless character ever in cinematic history.


Dan O. said...

Good review. Maybe The Hunger Games is going to be the one young adult franchise that really lives up to the hype. Thankfully, it’s no Twilight- meaning that future installments will actually be something to look forward to and there won’t be any mopey romance angles. Fancy that! Check out my review when you can.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Thanks mate! Will do :D

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