Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Sad Day for the Movie

(thoughts on the Hunger Games movie) 

My eighth grade English teacher, back in 2009 if I recall, asked us to read The Hunger Games to bring up some engaging hypothetical questions about society. I joked to my friends, who were also reading it, that we should have read a Twilight "novel" (though I hesitate to identify it as a literary work) instead of The Hunger Games if our teacher was going for such contemporary, youth-minded books.

The book was light reading, but I was awed by the author's imagination and the situations in which she placed her characters. Similar themes obviously exist in other works, but I thought Suzanne Collins did a nice job of building a framework for her world and her words were refreshing. I felt emotion. I didn't think the story was targeted to that pre-teen Twilight crowd. And most importantly I thought it could stand on its own as a work of literature, unaided by the later books, which I dare not read now that I have such a romanticized image of their predecessor.  

One of the few pleasures the movie brought me was this guy's shaving prowess.

Let me just say that The Hunger Games as a movie fails to capture the book in anything but title and characters. Perhaps a few descriptions were closely followed to bring some sort of "following the book" mentality, but other than that, I wasted a hard-earned $4.99 renting it on iTunes. Disappointed? Yes, but I think my feelings about the movie go beyond that. I LOATHED the movie to a degree I'm not used to. The acting from the younger stars, including Jennifer Lawrence, who I loved in Winter's Bone, was seriously lacking. Action sequences were stale and lacked impact. As a whole, the movie didn't carry emotion. 

Did anyone cry when Rue died, except for the pre-teen audience to which it was marketed? Perhaps out of pity for the movie, which was shaped to make angst-ridden young teenage princesses recall Twilight and the epic love triangle of whatever their names are. The directing was dismal, and the camera moved constantly. Perhaps this was done so that people wouldn’t get bored and young girls would be constantly on edge, wondering when that kiss of kisses is going to show up.  Which of course was amped up for maximum effect. No surprise there. I could go on. I kind of want to. But I will just cover that stuff for now.

What would I do, if I were making this? Get young stars that know how to act and not just look pretty. Make the movie grittier. Make the action mean something. This is not a love story, guys. It’s a story about society and an epic battle of survival. Get a director that can understand the source material and producers that are willing to sacrifice a little bit of money in exchange for actually making a good movie that goes beyond box office sales.

I heard that Suzanne Collins had some involvement with the movie. Perhaps they paid her a fortune to nod her head to the whims of the studio.