8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A very long trailer for a Hunger Games movie. Read the book instead.,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
In all honesty, I appreciate the efforts of Gary Ross and co. He did what he could with what is really difficult source material, and in some form he managed to really pull it off. The film has great graphics and such, and right off the bat it already feels more intimate than your typical blockbuster thanks to some very low-key mood setting and handheld camera.
But judging by the way the story is presented, this ultimately felt more like a fan movie than an official presentation. I mean yes there are flashes of brilliance throughout- one in particular being the Countdown scene. A moment of quiet brilliance. The embrace between Cinna and Katniss, the elevator to the arena, etc. Then the sudden blast into brutal violence. I will also admit found Haymitch to be hilarious too, great acting from Woody Harrelson. I knew when I read the book that he had to be played by Woody, and I got what I hoped.
One more positive comment: Jennifer Lawrence was amazing, she was not an Oscar nominee for nothing people. She really helped lift the movie off the ground. She IS Katniss and she managed to keep the movie running, though weak and sloppy it may be.
Now for the bad parts. Warning there's tons of spoilers.
First, if I had to narrow down what I loved about the book to one thing was its intensity. Sure the book wasn't particularly amazingly written but Susanne knew how to keep a rising line of tension throughout the book. She kept the action constant, the violence brutal and she saved the romance for when appropriate. The movie has almost zero suspense in the action scenes. I get that the filmmakers wanted to go for that "silent action" thing, and problem is for this movie it doesn't work. It worked for Haywire, it worked for Edge of Darkness, it worked for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but for a movie about a bunch of kids forced to kill each other.
The next big problem was there was not very much development. Sure Katniss is well developed but thats only because she is the protagonist. We don't get a sense that the kids in the other districts are connected, etc. Peeta's backstory is COMPLETELY CUT OUT. Primrose comes and goes. Effie Trinket gets a small amount of development in the sense that she as been around since the reaping began but that's it.
Oh, and the adaptation discontinuity. Cutting out various big parts (Madge Undersee, AVOX, etc) while emphasizing on smaller parts (Rue's death goes on for an atrociously long 10 minutes. They know each other for like 2 minutes then suddenly they are trying to get her out from the net, then she gets speared and Katniss cries for 10 minutes) and adding in parts that AREN'T IN THE BOOK (When Cato and the careers see smoke they leave a kid behind, and Foxface steals food without anyone knowing. So then Katniss tries stealing supplies and blows them up. And she doesnt go deaf or lose an ear.
I guess it's a good standalone movie and those who haven't read the book will like it. I'll admit it deserves credit there, but in the end it felt like a big long trailer for a better movie. I'd say skip it and read the book. Or wait for the 6 hour director's cut.