The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games | Amazon.comJust under a year ago, a friend introduced my wife and I to the Hunger Games. I started reading the books and in just 4 days had read all 3 books. I loved them, interesting characters (good and bad), intense situations and plenty of sentimentality1)What can I say? I’m a sappy kind of guy. So when I heard a movie was being made of the first book, I was a bit excited but mostly concerned that Hollywood was going to screw it up2)Lord knows they’ve screwed up plenty of other adaptions. When some early promo pictures were released, I was even more doubtful regarding the movie’s chances as the actors just didn’t fit the images I had in my head for the characters. When we finally got a trailer and my hopes were raised slightly. While in still images the actors didn’t match what I had envisioned; they seemed to be working well on screen.

Then we come to this evening, opening day for the Hunger Games movie. My wife and I were planning on going out after dinner to do some household shopping and wondering what we’d do afterward. I pulled up the theater’s movie listing, noticed that the Hunger Games was out3)I don’t pay attention to release dates as I don’t go out to movies often. and the next showing was only 40 minutes away. Seeing as we still had some free movie passes lying around4)The last movie we saw had some technical difficulties, so they gave us the free passes as an apology., we decided to see if we could get in to see it.

We went straight to the theater and the parking lot was looking full. We parked, started walking up to the entrance and noticed what looked like a crowd waiting in line for tickets. We started to mentally prepare ourselves for leaving the theater and finding something else to do with our evening. But as we got closer we released it was just a group of kids hanging out by the doors and there wasn’t really a line at all. We got right in.

My wife decided to get us some water and had me go ahead into the theater to get seats. While there were a fair number of people in the theater already5)Almost entirely seated in the area I like to sit in best. *sigh*, it definitely wasn’t packed. My wife came in a few minutes later; we watched the adverts and inane trivia crud the theater always shows and then the movie started.

We watched it all the way through6)Note: there’s nothing after the credits, so there’s no need to sit through them if you don’t want to.; and frankly, we’re really glad we were there using our free passes instead of shelling out full ticket price. While I’ve not reread the books yet7)Decided to save that until after I’d watched the movie., I do remember enough of them to recognize that the story from the first book was heavily squished to fit into the movie’s 142 minutes. It didn’t feel like anything essential was left out; but everything prior to the arena is glossed over to the point that I doubt it made much sense to people who’ve not read the books.

And in the arena scenes are were we come to my biggest problem with the movie; the cinematography. Over the past few years, Hollywood’s gotten on something of a kick of relying heavily on hand-held/shaky camera work, small DoF and motion blur. Presumably their usage is intended to help the audience better engage with the film, either by focusing the audience’s attention on specific parts of the film or by making the audience really feel like they’re there in the film. In any case, if these effects are used well; they can have a profound impact on the film. Unfortunately the Hunger Games does not use them well and the end result is eyestrain, headaches and a lot of time spent looking away from the movie screen.

Overall, I’d say 2/5 stars. I would’ve given it 3, but the shaky camera work and motion blur really bothered me.

Notes   [ + ]

1. What can I say? I’m a sappy kind of guy.
2. Lord knows they’ve screwed up plenty of other adaptions.
3. I don’t pay attention to release dates as I don’t go out to movies often.
4. The last movie we saw had some technical difficulties, so they gave us the free passes as an apology.
5. Almost entirely seated in the area I like to sit in best. *sigh*
6. Note: there’s nothing after the credits, so there’s no need to sit through them if you don’t want to.
7. Decided to save that until after I’d watched the movie.

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