The Hunger Games

March 27th, 2012 by Potato

I read the The Hunger Games books not that long ago, in part because of the hype for the upcoming movie. I enjoyed it, plowing right on into the 2nd and 3rd books in the series. The action seemed well-suited to a movie adaptation, so I had high hopes going into the theatre today.

Unfortunately I can’t recommend the movie. The biggest drawback is the terrible camera work. It’s shaky cam, like the Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield, except worse: instead of just being one shaky camera, it’s rapid cuts between many shaky cameras. And not just for the action scenes (which are likely deliberately motion blurred to nothingness to get a PG rating): even just sitting down to eat dinner seems to require rapid cuts to different shaking viewpoints.

So here is what I propose: director Gary Ross and Michael Bay should be put into an arena where they will fight to the death. The winner will get a tripod, the loser, well… But a much-needed tripod! So worth it!

Other than that, it was okay: they seemed to do a decent job of streamlining the plot to fit the time and format. The acting was pretty decent, which is a tough feat with so many child actors. The movie had some behind-the-scenes looks at the arena and the gamemakers, which I think were good additions. There were a few points though where I had to question if people who hadn’t read the book would be able to follow along.


For instance, Katniss and Rue decide to blow up the food & supplies cache of the careers, but don’t explain why in the movie, so it seems really random. Watching the movie, you wonder why Katniss doesn’t just put an arrow into a few of them from her cover in the bushes, and what blowing up their stuff serves to accomplish — in the book it’s explained that they’re dependent on the supplies from the cornucopia, so if she can take those away they’d be on a more even footing, or even an advantage to Katniss with her superior survival skills. Plus the story does a pretty good job of not having Katniss run around terminating other kids with her superior archery skills, even though that’s what it looks like the book is building towards at first.

Then, after Rue dies, it’s kind of strange to see Katniss get so worked up, since Rue had all of like 3 minutes of screentime before that. I think their relationship was built up much better in the book, and I didn’t catch any hint of “you remind me of my kid sister who I loved so much I volunteered for this freak show to save her” in the on-screen relationship.

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