Just back from seeing The Hunger Games with my elder daughter. We both really enjoyed it. Here are some thoughts:
Things I didn't like:
As in the book, my problem with the whole scenario is that Katniss is never put in the situation where she has to kill a sympathetic character. I think both book and movie want to have it both ways, in that we are never put in the scenario where we have to root for a character who does something awful. Which is pretty much what the setup demands. Battle Royale is inferior to the Hunger Games in almost every way, but this is one way in which it's better. We're forced to confront the ugly realities of the scenario rather than denying them.
Also, the fight sequences in the movie are horrible. This seems to be a new thing, and let me just say I freaking hate it. People start fighting and the camera goes crazy, herking and jerking all over the place so that you don't have any idea what's happening. What the hell is the point of that? If you're going to obscure it with your convulsive camera, why film combat at all? Why not just report on stuff that happens offscreen?
Boring love scene in the cave that brings the entire movie to a screeching halt.
Ways in which the movie was better than the book:
Yeah, I said it. But two. One: the movie is a little more explicit in indicting us for enjoying the spectacle of these kids fighting to the death. In the book, I felt we were absolved for enjoying it as an adventure, but the movie, with its constant cuts to the actual show and the behind the scenes people running it, reminds us again and again that we are just like the people in the story who watch this for entertainment.
Also, in the book, the boringass love triangle is pretty clearly an actual love triangle, but in the movie, it's never quite clear whether Katniss really likes Peeta or is just feigning her affection for the sake of ratings (and sponsors and medicine and such). In the movie we see her becoming not only a fierce competitor and survivor, but also way more media savvy as the movie progresses. I liked this. I figure the tiresome love triangle will become more actual as the sequels arrive, (Haven't read the sequels) but for now, I really liked the fact that we couldn't tell whether her affection for Peeta was just one more way in which Katniss is using all the tools at her disposal to survive.
The movie is very well done and definitely worth seeing.
As in the book, the world building is incredibly halfassed. As in the book, the action is good enough that I didn't care.
Finally, Stanley Tucci is freaking awesome.
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