I went into The Hunger Games expecting as much as a nun on the pill. Having not seen so much as a preview, I was one of a rare few whose first impressions of the story were unveiled at the theater. I grasped the premise of the story as it unfolded on the screen.
From jump, the film was visually quite striking. Elaborate costumes and intricate sets (used to depict the story’s metropolitans and their luxurious living spaces) would later illustrate that, in fact, no attention to detail had been spared in the making of this film. The opening scenes featured a post-apocalyptic world reminiscent of The Dust Bowl, though the theme of poverty was starkly juxtaposed against occasional hints of technological advancement, like television and spaceships.
The film has some opening dialogue that takes place in a wooded area between Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her hometown boy toy. My initial reaction was that the conversation sounded painfully scripted. I was skeptical. (Though this improved as the film progressed).
It would be remiss to fail to mention the first appearance of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks)—a character whose introductory scene might be equated to the unleashing of Cher on a community of pilgrims.
Effie was the audience’s first preview of the story’s city dwellers. Color-coordinated from the eyelashes down, her bold appearance was a shocking contrast to the bland, impoverished peoples we’d come to know in the story thus far.
Some reviews have called her Gaga-esque. I was reminded of James and the Giant Peach’s Aunt Spiker. I inspected for signs of poor dental hygiene, but was almost disappointed to see that she had decent chompers. From this, I inferred that she wasn’t as evil, (or grotesque) as the character I had associated her with.
A scene in a light rail car sheds light on the disparities between those living in the city and those living in the districts. The car is exceptionally lavish; we begin to fully sense the framework being laid for the film’s political themes—the film sends a loud message about power and corruption.
Skip to the next best part: Cinna, as played by Mr. Lenny Kravitz. Here’s a man that set my 7th grade panties on fire. Call me tough to please, but I wouldn’t say his acting was phenomenal. Although—let’s be real—this man could have been reciting an instruction manual and I’d have gotten behind it.
The Hunger Games then present the audience with another unsettling dilemma: tributes face brutal, unfavorable circumstances—pitted against one another, exposed to the elements, and subject to manipulations by game overseers—for the purposes of entertainment value. The film’s presentation of television coverage concerning The Games is so eerily familiar, the audience is nearly forced to consider our own society, reality TV, and, ultimately, the surprising plausibleness of such a scenario.
We take comfort in realizing that our heroine is a force for justice. She befriends a young tribute, Rue (Amandla Stenberg). I may be partial to talented, positively adorable 13 years olds, but I found her performance to be among the best in the film.
[If you haven’t yet been made aware of the disturbing controversy surrounding the film’s cast, the following article has been floating around the internet:
It should go without saying that these reactions to the movie are truly revolting. It’s disturbing that this film—which raises questions about social equality, humanity, and justice, no less—is now the source of racial controversy. Discrimination’s presence in our society is utterly frightening.]
The final surprise: We have yet to see Katniss truly serve self-absorbed, power-hungry city folks their asses on a platter—the movie ends with a cliffhanger. This is a series? You have got to be fucking on me. Yeah, I got hosed. But, the only thing worse than being “the girl who’s so socially challenged that she unawarely signed on to a sequel,” would be being “the girl who’s so unfortunately lame that she only saw the first movie.”
put a lot of time, thought, effort, energy, and old down south wisdom into her
review, I am a girl that runs on no sleep and energy drinks. So how is that
working out for me? Not well! Thank you very much!
We went to go
see the Hunger Games because the
world would not shut up about the Hunger
Games. I thought maybe we would like the
Hunger Games or maybe we would just seem, really, really COOL if we went to
the Hunger Games. Just like
Really solid reasoning? I know. That’s why
they put us in the GIFTED PROGRAM.
three hours after seeing the film that everyone was getting hard over, just
about everyone, I have to say, I was made a firm believer in my oversized
theater seat in that the Hunger Games-
not so much Twilight or even Harry Potter, which to me, always felt
just too whimsical and overdone- was a series of considerable merit. Even if
other people have done it just a little bit better, even if other people have
had the same sort of concepts and thinly veiled critiques put forth audiences
I have not read
the books. My sister has and she loves them. My sister also reads Twilight. E tu, Brute!
But now. Now, I might have incentive to read them. When I remember how to read.
It amazed me how political The Hunger Games were, as LizRo so articulately captured before me (thanks bb). Like- the themes, the motifs, etc. Classism is the biggest issue easily, followed NEXT by voyeurism a la of the reality TV genre. Racism, which I don't believe was so evident in the book (from the little I know of it) was definitely featured in the film....having Rue be African American (Pan American? um) and then the riots that she caused....was a little bit of an uncomfortable flashback to the ongoing civil rights struggle that we as a country probably will never overcome at this point. All in all: there's a lot of deep thinking for kids going on in this. It's pretty incredible.
Which is why I was, furthermore, not surprised to hear it's on a lot of those dreadful "BANNED BOOK" lists. like really? REALLY? God forbid we make people think, God forbid we try to introduce our children to the theory that the world really isn't a pretty place. That there are the haves, and the definite have nots. Which is life.
By the way, I like how I'm starting every sentence with which. WHICH.
Catniss is sort of like the medium of a female heroine we need....she isn't a pushover like Bella, but she's not quite as crazy and brutal as the girl from Dragon Tattoo. Catniss is a strong moral lead, a strong feminine lead. and kicks ass when needed to. Also, the dude that is nailing Miley Cyrus is TOTALLY in this film. Liam? He's dreamy, I have to say. And Lenny Kravitz is great, too. It was Rue that won my heart the most...keep an eye out for that little girl in the future. SHE'S GOING TO BE A STAH.
So, now come my complaints:
- WHERE WAS THE TAYLOR SWIFT SONG I DIDN'T HEAR IT ANYWHERE
Seriously, while LizRo sitting next to me, all I could think about omgIgettohearTaylorinamovietheaterHOWCOOLISTHAT! Because really "Safe and Sound" is dope. And to me, the song fits perfectly in the film. But did I hear it? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I was so upset about it. I still am upset about it. I will be on my deathbed, upset about it.
- some of the actors kind of....blah. See LizRo's comment about "scripted."
- IT'S SOOOOOOOOOOOOO LONG JESUS CHRIST
- and we missed the trailers, which have nothing to do with anything, but like what the hell, man. I could watch a movie that's all trailers and be TOTALLY satisfied. like, smoke a cigarette and ask the trailer-movie, "was that as good as it was for me as it was for you?"
Long story short: I can't wait to see the next installment of this. FUCK YEAH SERIES MOVIES WOOO