This week the movie Hunger Games released to rave reviews. All reports were filled with the glow of pure joy about the release of this amazing story. Let me first say, I have not read the book. The associated Press’ Christy Lemire said “Rare film that never drags and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.” Awesome! I couldn’t wait to see it!
So I dragged hubby to a movie he felt had a poor premise. I reminded him it was a YA book originally, so the premise would seem odd to us, but from what I hear, the author pulls the concept off. Okay, we finally get there (long story, but we were supposed to be there for the 3:45 only to be delayed at our end, Then rushed to make the 4:45, only to arrive just too late for me to feel comfortable missing the first 5 minutes, then arrived just in time for the 5:45 at another theater). We plopped into our seats, only watching two previews before opening credits began.
An hour later, my husband was snoring, and I was still waiting for this “amazing” movie. Surely it’s going to get better. It has awesome reviews, right? An hour later, I’m simply just waiting for it to end so we could leave.
Let me first say that the acting was pretty good. The young Jennifer Lawrence almost made me like her – which considering how I felt about the movie as a whole, that was a damned hard task. When the supposed most important death occurs in the movie, I thought for sure I’d sit and bawl (I had heard about this death via twitter). A large portion of the movie was spent on the event, (I’m trying not to tell the entire story here and give spoilers, which is why I rarely write reviews), and while I’m sure in the book it was great, I barely felt the sting of a tear by the time the entire set of scenes were complete. I had absolutely no emotional connection with the characters. Instead of wiping tears from my eyes as expected, I could only wonder how chilly it would be on the trip home. I don’t think it was the acting so much as the actual screen play that caused this.
The first hour of the movie was apparently designed to teach us about this world, and it did so in painstakingly boring style. The costume design was over the top, and though it was designed to show the major class distinction, it instead came across as just plain silly. I swear, if I ever wear clothes like the women in that city, just shoot me, please. I get that it’s futuristic, but there’s futuristic, and there’s silly.
I thought perhaps when the “Training” part of the film began, things would improve. I’m afraid not. We see very little of the heroine’s training and skills. We don’t see what she learned that would help her in the coming trial beyond how to make a fire. (Speaking of fire, the fire scenes are all probably the best of the movie). We see even less about the skills of the competitors in general. These young men and women are little more than cardboard characters filling in the “blanks” to give us the full 24 needed for the Games. While a few have important roles, we get zero insight into their skills, emotions, or thoughts and when justice is served, in each case I had zero emotional response.
We kept hearing about sponsors saving the lives by providing “Gifts” for the competitors. Okay. They made this BIG deal about how it was important for our heroine to be “liked” by said sponsors, yet we don’t see others competing for these sponsors, so it leaves us wondering why that was so important. Who has the best sponsor? What did they receive for their trouble? We never know. For something that drives the entire first half of the movie, it certainly was handled in an almost anti-climactic style.
I kept waiting for there to be character arc. I kept waiting for there to be something “Change” in society. I kept looking for this supposed “Message” the book has. I never saw it. Instead, I saw what is probably nothing more than foreshadowing for the next movie. The problem is, you have to enjoy the first one to want to see the second. I was never so happy to see a movie end.
Scores on a sale of 1-5, 5 being the highest.
Visual Effects – 5
Cinematography – 3 (I hate this new artsy style of filming where the camera moves too fast to capture the action).
Costume Design – 2
Overall Enjoyment factor: 1.0 (My husband rated it a -1).
So go ahead – beat me up. I apparently have a different idea of true entertainment than most do. I suppose it’s because I’ve been a movie “Fan” for all of my life. My husband and I go to the movies a minimum of 2 times per month, often as many as 8 if there are good films out. I go to the movies to be entertained, rather than educated. I’m not much more dramas at the theater, which is probably why I thought the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was terrible. I watch mostly action movies, with the occasional comedy. Other movies are just “Rentals”. In my opinion, this “amazing, Action packed” movie doesn’t even qualify as a rental. Maybe, just maybe, The Wrath of the Titans will deliver where The Hunger Games has not.