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David Poland

By David Poland

Review: The Hunger Games

“What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he’s around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I’m semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing… he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important.”

This quote, from Broadcast News, is always reliable. Written by Jim Brooks, spoken by Albert Brooks (no relation), it is one of the movie world’s clearest statements about lowering the bar gently, even enjoyably, until we all live in Hell.

And so goes The Hunger Games. The film is loaded with actors who are undeniably likeable and gifted. The concept is very compelling. The adapted/director has glossy skills behind the camera and a gift of dialogue.

So why is the movie like eating the white of a hard boiled egg with no salt, pepper, or any other flavor except “white?”

Simply, it does not have the courage of its conceit. Not for a minute.

The movie is about a nation that went through a rebellion 80 years before this story and a fascistic government which after putting down the rebellion, keeps down the 12 rebellious districts as best they can. One tool is The Hunger Games, an annual contest that selects 2 children from each rebel district to battle in a only-one-survivor show. 24 kids. 23 will die.

Katniss, played by budding superstar Jennifer Lawrence, has a little sister who has just come of Hunger Game age and a broken mother who has been unreliable since her father’s death. Katniss volunteers after her little sister is picked. There is also an insanely pretty guy she is attracted to who stays home after he is not selected for the games. (Saving him for Movie 2, I bet!)

Katniss is of the earth. She is tough. She is smart. And she is honorable.

That’s one character you know.

Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta, whose name is pronounced “Peter” through most of the movie until Katniss screams it correctly, making her sound like she’s in a community theater production of Fried Green Tomatoes: The Stage Show. He’s a bit of a cypher because we are not supposed to know if he is playing Katniss or digging Katniss.

That’s two characters you almost know.

And that is about all you will ever get. There is a crazy evil blond boy, who gets one line of character dialogue in the third act. And as is needed in any “meaningful” movie with 3 blacks in its entire cast, there is The Magic Negro, in this case embodied by an absolutely beautiful 13-year-old who looks to be about 8 years old. The character is named Rue. She appears from nowhere to innocently help our hero, breath purity into the proceedings and (don’t feel like spoiler warning the obvious). There is one other kid from the same District 11 as Rue… the only other black kid in the games. (Enter extreme segregation eyeroll here.)

What does it tell you when the movie’s website lists FIVE of the kids forced to play in the games listed in its “Full Cast List” section? There’s Katniss, The Boy, The Evil Kid, The Angelic Little Black Girl, and the Crazy Knife-Wielding Brunette Girl *(who is essentially the smart-ass version of the guy with the big knife in Raiders). That’s five of twenty-four, almost all of whom will be murdered by other under-18s. I found 8 more with character names on imdb and another 6 with non-descript character names “District Girl/Boy #.” So I am still missing five murdered characters.

The thing is… if your premise is forcing 24 teens and pre-teens to murder one another in a few days, shouldn’t your movie be emotionally invested in that idea? Isn’t that an idea that not only demands focus, but must be shown respect, lest you turn mass murder into something even less weighty than deaths in a first-person shooter videogame?

Do I think that Hunger Games is going to set some kid or kids off on a rampage or keep them from crying when someone they love dies? No. But will a slaughter in a foreign nation mean anything more to them after seeing this movie? No. Probably less.

Ironically, the Japanese film Battle Royale was all but banned in the United States when it was released a dozen years ago. It never got a theatrical. And it had only cult DVD distribution in this country until this month.

Watching it today, after having seen The Hunger Games and hearing from people who claim the books are not a rip-off of BR, I am not only reminded how much of a clear rip-off this film is (I can’t speak for the future books or movies), but I am saddened by how powerful the emotion – not just the violence – is in BR compared to Hunger Games.

I actually have no problem with a PG-13 version of this material. I get it. Business is business. But BR is almost a textbook of things that could have been done in Hunger Games that would have raised the stakes.

So much of it is nearly identical. There is an evil gamemaster (whose fate in similar in both films… though, of course, unseen in Hunger Games). There is a kitschy cheerleader type laying out the rules. There is a central love story, confused by another relationship. The largest kid is the most skilled, violent, and crazed. Etc.

The numbers in Battle Royale are different… 42 kids, not 24. All the kids are one high school class, not strangers from 12 districts. So it is a bit easier and there are more opportunities to get into ideas connected to specific characters before they die. For instance, there are multiple groups refusing to play the game as it is presented. One pair commits suicide rather than play. Another pair of tries to broker cooperation between all the kids. Another group, all girlfriends, decides to ride it out in a safe space and to try not to kill or be killed… at least until the time is running out. I value all three of these ideas, but I am not saying that Hunger Games had to directly reflect BR. Honorable suicide is cultural touchstone in Japan and not so much here. But these are real ideas… as active in concept as Hunger Games is purely reactive.

Also worth noting, in a film with a running time under 2 hours, BR manages to introduced every single kid and to note their demise at least twice.

As for simple guts, as an action tale, you need look no further than the start of the game. Katniss is warned, “If you jump off the starting pedestal a second early, they’ll blow you to high heaven.” (paraphrased) And then, the film proceeds NOT to have anyone jump early. That’s the kind of movie this is. There is a lot of talk about how deadly everything and everyone is… but they seem intent on keeping a movie about a mass murder event safe for a 12-year-old to see three times. So no one gets “blown to high heaven” for jumping early, thus mitigating the danger from the game itself.

Conversely, before the game even starts in BR, the guy in charge of the game kills a girl with a knife thrown into her forehead for whispering to others after she was told not to and there is a neck-splosion from the control necklaces each kid wears. These kids are terrified and they immediately know that the stakes are death and that death is real.

Another Hunger Games cheat – maybe from the book – is that instead of letting the kids fight a fair fight, the “gamemaster” adds all kinds of weird, badly CGed elements… like flame balls to push characters out of an area or CG monster dogs that are not only badly done, but, as so many things in this film do, distracts from the core idea of the story… kids forced to kill kids.

This is not a Paul Verhoeven movie or something that is aggressively satiric, like Series 7: The Contenders, made for adults, somewhat cartoonish, and poking us in our collective face with our lack of sensitivity. This is a movie made primarily for kids. Between 7 and 12 million kids under 18 will likely see this movie this weekend. What are we telling them when only two or three of the twentysomething kills has any attempt to make an emotional connection?

Is the movie entertaining, aside from my social concerns? Modestly.

The greatest failure within the narrow context of the film itself is the misuse of Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanley Tucci, who gets most of his character work done by slapping in some giant teeth and smiling in a genuinely creepy, funny, and showbiz -familiar way. They hired some of the great scene stealers of the era… and get a couple laughs out of each. it’s almost as though they just didn’t want to go there… even though they trussed up the audience like the crowd that dances The Time Warp in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Second is the failure to force or allow Katniss to ever have to seriously confront her own morality. She doesn’t kill for quite a long time and then, only when reacting to an attack. Our hero, basically, ends up behaving like every action movie sidekick that ends up taking care of business at the last second when the hero gets in trouble and the coward has no choice but to act. Twice.

Third is the abandonment of any strategic thinking that involves more than one step. This movie is checkers, not chess. Act, react, reset for the next scene. Oy.

Fourth is the irritating cutting that has never been seen in a Gary Ross film before. Someone needs some Ritalin. This is cutting that doesn’t push story forward… it’s just style. Bad style.

I’m sure there are more – wasting Donald Sutherland is almost as much of a sin as Wes Bentley’s stupid facial hair – but I don’t feel like picking the movie apart.

My guess is that most people will “be okay” with Hunger Games. I get that. It moves along and Jennifer is lovely to look at and you’ll never actually be surprised or be forced to care very much. Every emotion is simple and obvious. It’s a much better film, technically, than Twilight. But this film makes me appreciate the high camp of that series. It’s about a bunch of kids so horny that they can’t contain their inner animals. I’d love to see Neil Jordan’s version… it might actually be good. But at least it is what it is, not a faded copy as though the printer was just about out of ink.

No horns. No fire-breathing. No deep offense. Just empty calories.

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183 Responses to “Review: The Hunger Games”

  1. LYT says:

    Aside from Condon’s installment (the only one I like), how is Twilight “high camp”? I wish it were campier. The self-seriousness with which it plays out an absurd mythology is what kills it for me.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I have no dog in this hunt. But is there is any connection between the acidity of David’s vehement review and the fact that I couldn’t get into this website for a fairly long time tonight?

  3. JS Partisan says:

    Joe, yeah, I think some Hunger Games fans DoSed the site. You don’t fuck with Katniss fans!

    LYT, it’s not as serious as most men think it is. There is a level of camp and silliness in these films, and one of them is when Jacob takes off his shirt. The characters taking the mythology seriously is because it’s serious to them. They still take a moment to be silly though.

    Now with this review, eh? Seriously, I have no idea why David decided to take soapbox to this series. It’s contrarian but he really goes out of his way to nail his points in ways he rarely does anymore.

  4. berg says:

    i think the correct vernacular is

    That dog don’t hunt
    I don’t have a dog in this fight

  5. Tracy says:

    Seems like he didn’t read the book(s) because if he did,
    he’d understand why not all of the 24 Tributes’ lives are
    explained in the movie. I think he just wanted to be the
    one person to say he didn’t like the movie. I’m sure it is
    going to be killer! (get it? Hee Hee)

  6. Cory says:

    I read the Book and feel “No horns. No fire-breathing. No deep offense. Just empty calories.” sums it up quite nicely. Hopefully the sequels are better, I’ve yet to read them and don’t know if I will. Simple series of events at the expense of real character creation and exploration is unfortunate. It is what separates the Hemmingways and Collins.

  7. LYT- I think the first TWILIGHT is definitely high camp — Edward sparkling in the light, the running uphill sequence, etc. Hardwicke knew what she was doing. It’s the middle two that take themselves seriously and are, as a result, utterly terrible.

  8. David Poland says:

    I didn’t read the books… and there is no reasonable reason why I should have to read the book to appreciate the movie(s).

    And the whole contrarian schtick is grating. Read the reviews and then tell me how this has earned a 90% RT movie.

    And Joe – The review brought the site down, actually. We’re working on muscling up so that moments of Twitter intensity don’t kill the site… been happening too much lately.

  9. dwk says:

    David, slight error you need to fix – “Ironically, the Japanese film Battle Royale was all but banned in the United States when it was released 22 years ago. It never got a theatrical.”

    BATTLE ROYALE came out 12 years ago, not 22.

  10. David Poland says:

    Thanks, dwk… fixing…

    God, it feels like 22 years.

  11. Lex says:

    Twilight is one of the 10 greatest franchises of all time.

    Tired of having it besmirched. They’re really terrific movies.

  12. berg says:

    has anybody actually watched Battle Royale or Battle Royale II REQUIEM >>> THE DIRECTOR Fukasaku died after shooting one scene of the sequel and his son, who wrote both films, directed the remainder …. BRII is a total comment on terrorism in the new millennium

  13. J says:

    Broke down and read the book a couple weeks ago. I could see how it could be compelling, gritty stuff if it stuck to class issues and the hunt… but it’s clearly a product of a post-reality television world, and it’s a YA novel, so we get tons of time to bond with stylists.

    I haven’t seen Battle Royale in years, and honestly don’t remember much beyond its concept, but I don’t have any problem with them approaching the general idea again — or those of The Lottery, The Running Man, Most Dangerous Game, etc. This stuff is out there and in play.

    I had problems with the book on an execution level (I don’t feel compelled to follow the trilogy), and the movie’s such an “event” that I know it was doomed to lack the grit that would have given it teeth. But we’re talking about source material aimed at 14 year olds. The only reason to get angry over such stuff is that such stuff is too often the only stuff out there.

    Mysteries of Lisbon is now streaming on Netflix. Man, what a flick that is.

  14. Matt says:

    What I find disturbing about this review, is its lack of passion. It marinates in a biased factual conclusion that Hunger Games is a rip off of “Battle Royale”, and like others have pointed out, the idea for survival can even be linked to things like “Lord of the Flies” or Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Your suggestion that films that have such a young adult appeal, can’t hold depth because of its lack of structure and irresponsibility is farther from the truth, and is the core of why I can’t respect your review on a professional level.

    You challenge the idea that the Hunger Games takes light of the fact that in third world countries, slaughters of all ages happens daily, and that this movie forces its viewers not to think, but yet enjoy the fancy explosions. However, I don’t feel Ross was looking to invoke a true rebellion, and the irony of such a serious accusation to why you discredit a movie is based on its “political viewpoints” is absurd. I have not read your other reviews on such teenage films like Twilight, Harry Potter, Napoleon Dynamite, etc, etc. So I don’t honestly know if your vindictive approach to such a mass target audience is on purpose or not, but I find it insulting to anyone who happens to be of that age.

    I agree that you should not have to read the books for the movie to be successful. However this is a book adaptation. Therefore its inspiration comes from the way Collins wrote her story. Thus following the main lives of Peeta and Katniss. To be honest, I would love to know the backstory behind Effie or Cinna, but we don’t get that information in the first book and its intentional. The way Collins gave information about her characters is exactly the same way the tributes received gifts from the districts, sporadic and rare and only when we were desperate to know more. We settled with the absence of history because we were so compelled with our main characters. I hope Ross honored that, because its how the book was written. Hunger Games as a book on it’s own, without even referencing to its sequels, is about a teenage girl, who through a series of events, (regardless of how extreme or over done they are), finds her voice and allows her to carry out what she feels she’s brought to do. Movies have been doing this for ages, approaching a simple concept, tweaking it to their thematic elements, and continually succeeding to be successful. Movies like Rain, or Kill Bill, Breakfast Club, or even Pretty in Pink all have the same concept of a female character who through a trial of events, finds her voice. The Hunger Games is just doing that on a younger scale, which to me doesn’t discredit a movie. I honestly do not know of anyone who wants to see the movie who hasn’t read the books. Obviously you are not the person to jump on any mainstream bandwagon, you probably thought Baby Mama and Bridesmaids were terrible films too, but if you made your decision after reading the books, I’d probably respect it more.

    I’m tired of hearing the same thing “professional movie reviewers” looking for the next oscar winning film to catch their breath. At 23 and working at the local AMC, to hear that 85% of our theater’s across the country are sold out for Thursday’s midnight release, tells me that through heavy marketing, targeting the “social media” audience, and casting a unique cast, that’s carried by its indie soundtrack, the movie will do far better then just succeeding at the box office. And I’m excited for once to see such excitement about going to the movies, and not have kids downloading it from some pirated source.

    Sometimes movies are just entertaining, but that doesn’t make them any less quality films. This entire review is polluted with google researched evidence of why “Battle Royale” is the better film, and that’s fine. Just don’t expect anyone to take it seriously.

    I too agree, Mysteries of Lisbon is a great film.

    P.S. To further validate your ridiculous notion of segregation; the black characters also only come from such districts as Agriculture and Lumber. Please let your fervently illustrated mind run wild with that.

  15. Mike says:

    More commercial shit shoveled down the Hollywood trough for our consumption. It saddens me to see great writers like Gary Ross (Big, Pleasantville) and Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered Glass) wasting their talents on this glossy garbage.

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I haven’t seen the films, but the reason that all the kids are blank slates in the book is that it’s told first-person from Katniss’ perspective. Hence, since she only interacts with 3 for longer than 30 seconds (they are trying to kill her, after all), that’s all you get.

    I think that transition from internal monologue for the reader’s benefit to external exposition for the viewer’s benefit (such as the described case of the landmines) may come across hamfisted. These are kids who know the rules because it happens every year – in the same way you don’t need to explain Christmas to teenagers.

    I think it’s one of the reasons why Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett’s works tend to be horribly adapted – the nuance in the jokes is how it is written, not what actually happens.

    Where are all these irregulars coming from, incidentally?

    ETA – I think the first-person perspective is what made it such a hit as a book. The whole time, Katniss is trying to figure out everyone else’s motivation – do they hate her, are they trying to take advantage of her, are they just doing a job or is it personal, do they like her (a big one for tween girls). For a teenager struggling with their own sense of self in relation to the people around them, that’s definitely something they can relate to writ large.

  17. Mackenzie says:

    Maybe you should try reading the books before you trash the movie.. You know, to gain some insight on the “boy they’re saving for movie two” which is untrue to the plot. You would understand everything if you just read the books. Quite a concept, eh? Suzanne Collins was brilliant in this series. You should do some research before trying to sound like an expert on something that you’re clearly not.

    About the kids killing kids, but no one getting really “good” kills? No one WANTS to have to be in the Games (except the careers, who were trained basically from birth for them) and they really don’t want to die either, hence no one stepping off the plate. They come into play later on in the book, but you wouldn’t know that, would you? People like you irritate me. Just read the book and then watch the movie, so you know the backstory and plot, most of which is internalized, since katniss narrates in first person present. Give that a try, and leave the reviewing to people who actually have a full grasp on everything involved.

  18. Jenn says:

    “Also worth noting, in a film with a running time under 2 hours, BR manages to introduced every single kid and to note their demise at least twice.”

    And he thinks this is a good thing? That’s way too many characters for a film of that length.

  19. Krazy Eyes says:

    People who insist that Hunger Games is a rip-off of Battle Royale always seem to miss the point that this plot line is hardly unique.

    Stephen King’s “The Long Walk” (which he wrote in the late 70s) has nearly an identical set-up to both films with the exception that the kids go on a non-stop cross country walk to the death rather than fight it out in a wooded arena.

    Speaking of The Long Walk, why has nobody ever done an adaptation of that since it’s (to my mind) the best of King’s Bachman books? I heard year’s ago that Frank Darabont had perpetual rights (like he did for The Mist) and would someday get around to it. If true, I guess he missed his window of opportunity.

  20. lian92 says:

    BR movie sucket and Kiriama wasnt even a real charecter unlike the novel. It was just a gore fest, for horror lovers and had no depths ,If i were Takami i woud ve been upset with them butchering the novel. Battle Royal novel defenetly had a lot to say about Japanise coulture,but the charecters had sme names and personalities.

  21. Andrew says:

    Mackenzie, are you of the opinion that any time someone sees a movie, they must read the source material before having a legitimate opinion of the movie? Do you think that everyone who doesn’t like a Batman movie should go read all 987 Batman comic books?

    The Hunger Games movie is a movie. It is not a book. Reading the book is not a requirement to see the movie. If you have to read the books to understand the movie then the makers of the movie have failed.

    The main legitimate point that I think this review has is the comment about Katniss not ever having to really kill someone until she is “forced” to. It is a weakness in the book as well because it is just pulling punches. I think that it is lazy to introduce this whole premise and then try to Care Bear it with Katniss never having to really be morally challenged. But that’s my opinion. I read all the books, hated the Mockingjay ending. Will be seeing this this weekend anyway.

  22. Martin S says:

    I like how Dave is being hammered for not reading the book, but strictly on the final movie. Good. God.

    Foamy seems to have the best book insight into explaining What Poland found wrong.

    By adapting a first-person novel into an omniscient film, you’re preaching to the choir, in this case the HG readers. They inherently know the process behind certain decisions non-readers are not privy to. If the majority of critics have read the book and give it a stellar review, then it means the movie cannot stand on its own.

    It’s easy to say, since we’re in a cross-media age all adaptations are now co-dependent on their medium counterparts, but that usually requires the adaptation to hold closer to the source material or expand upon it. In the case of Games, it means either telling the movie as close to Katniss’ POV as possible, to the point that you are in her head, (but that’s Spike Jonez territory), or to restructure the narrative altogether to fit an omniscient film format. The latter requires distance from every kid chosen, which is Battle Royale territory.

    I understand the books are about Katniss’ journey to lead a rebellion, but if you focus on her from the beginning, you either have to make the audience “Katniss” and limit the world around to only what she experiences, or you’ve got to make Katniss apart of the terrain as a way to explore her reality and create parity. By being in her head, you heighten the unknown and fear, by focusing on the macro it amplifies her journey from average person to heroic leader.

    Then again, every time I see a commercial all I can think is – “Wily Wonka’s 1984”.

  23. Sport67 says:

    I stopped taking my friend to movies because he would base his opinion, just like this review, on the movie he wanted the film to be and not the film it was.

  24. lian92 says:

    Oh and enother problem i had with BR movie Spoiler unlike the novel most girl charecters that got murdered were Noriko Kagawas bullies. so they diserve it right, wrong, i find this review biased and will see for my self. When criticuing something people need to have a open mind and not just compere it to other works.

  25. CHUCK says:

    Isnt it a rip off of The Running Man?

  26. John Fist says:

    This movie is a ton of gay bullshit. I saw it and I thought that movies couldn’t be that bad…I was wrong. I hope this movie fails and all the actors die in real life and the director kills himself. If you liked this movie you are automatically a terrorist who eats babies

  27. Paul D/Stella says:

    Yeah if you like this movie you and all non-Christians need a one-way ticket out of America. Mode of transportation is up to you as long as the final destination is not in America.

  28. Mania says:

    Very interesting review. I found it surreal to read so many stellar reviews of a teen movie glossing over kids being killed by each other.
    That should be handeled as a serious subject and inflict fear and emotional turmoil in the viewer. Not sure this movie will deliever.

    Also I find it so very depressive that big studios are only willing to bet huge sums of money into certain cash-cows (aka best-selling novels). Stating the obvious but this is certainly one factor why Hollywood is slowly lowering it’s standards.
    They should trust creative screen writers more. Wich I’m sure there are many out there.
    Remake after remake of old stories and movies is getting very old.

  29. lian92 says:

    John Fist people who siriusly wish others death,shoud go to Hell there actually people realy killing themselfs because of Bullies like you, im sorry for your ex classmates. And also hating Homosexuals just makes you look stupid.

  30. hcat says:

    I wouldn’t call Lionsgate or Summit Big Studios, they somehow got lucky grabbing these rights as they slipped through the fingers of the majors. In the case of Hunger Games I can see the whole minors killing each other thing being a turnoff for a big studio, while Lionsgate has never really shied away from salicious material.

    And as for best selling books being cash cows I would like to point out that Potter led to a rash of kid-lit properties being scooped up and almost all of them underperformed, Lemony Snicket, Eragon, Seeker, Vamp’s Apprentice, Spiderwick, Percy Jackson. Book adaptions (at least those without pictures) are more often than not money losers.

  31. lian92 says:

    And who is the Terrorist a guy who wishes 11, 13 yearolds to die ,because there are little kids in this movie, hope you just hate the movie. Because other wise if you realy mean it you are a horrible person. and Chuck i dont know maybe you shoud ask Stephen King who loved the books.

  32. J says:

    >>Where are all these irregulars coming from, incidentally?

    Link on Rotten Tomatoes.

  33. Micah says:

    In the second book in the series, Katniss is force to participate in another Hunger Games. She learns a lot more about the other tributes, forms some alliances, and you feel an emotional connection to the characters.

    The first book, Katniss is a loner who doesn’t want to get to know the other tributes. She matures as the books go on.

  34. Haven’t seen the film yet, so I’ve been skimming over the comments to try to avoid spoilers, so if this has been said, apologies. Anyway, it’s absolutely paramount that a literary adaptation stand on its own as a movie. The whole ‘read the book and then you’ll get it’ meme is absurd on its face, and the mark of a failed adaptation. Using Harry Potter as an example, the big reason I put Prisoner of Azkaban higher on the list is because it’s the one where you really have to have read the book to get major plot points (especially the finale). It’s still terrific entertainment, but it loses points for not quite standing on its own as a movie. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that I would have enjoyed Harry Potter 4, 6, and 8 more than I did (liked them all, and 8 improves every time I see it) had I not read the books, as I wouldn’t have been whining about what the book did better and/or what the movie cut out. But the movie should damn-well stand on its own, period.

    Having not seen the film, I am concerned about the ‘you don’t care about the other contestants’ bit. That should be a pretty important component of any ‘most dangerous game’ story. Never mind Battle Royale (which really is quite good and emotionally compelling, natch), the underrated Steve Austin action picture The Condemned actually took the time to somewhat flesh out its various criminal combatants so that you cared (a little) when they died. Granted there were only ten major contestants, but the film works as a potent indictment of the whole reality show voyeurism angle (also helping, the film condemns snuff-as-entertainment and plays fair by keeping most of its graphic violence off-screen).

    Anyway, I’m waiting until Friday night for IMAX (ah… glorious 2D IMAX!) so we’ll see.

  35. JS Partisan says:

    Here’s just a response to the “CARING ABOUT TRIBUTES” quandary. Why do we have to care? If this movie really is about Katniss and Peeta above all else, then why do we have to spend time fleshing out these characters? Rue is important for reasons to the main character. The other tributes are not.

    If this is all about the perspective of one character and the guy she may get with, then complaining about a lack of knowledge of the other tributes. Ignores that at the end of the day, they are a bunch of red shirts, and they really are there as a service of the plot. Sure, servicing the plot characters are very lame but really, this is the Katniss and Peeta show. Everyone else is just sort of there until the second movie fleshes everything out.

    What should be asked and doesn’t get asked enough: how in the fuck did the US, after a rebellion, go to a place that coddles and adores children to wanting to kill them off in a brutal televised competition? How in the shit balls did that happen? Seriously, Death Race makes more sense than the fucking Hunger Games, because stretching CREDULITY doesn’t even cover how going from EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY to EVERY YEAR WE WILL KILL YOUR KIDS happens.

  36. The Old One says:

    You hit the nail on the head, and this is why I won’t be seeing this movie. I did read the books and couldn’t quite articulate why I found them so wrong–it seems the movie has carried through on that wrongness–the curiously blank emotion of Katniss, both towards the whole concept of killing teenagers and the supposed love triangle. We see the story through her eyes, yes,but she doesn’t ever seem to engage, so we as the audience can’t engage either.

  37. waterbucket says:

    I love the movie Battle Royale. If this movie is half as good, I will be happy. But I don’t think it will be.

  38. David Poland says:

    MAtt – “Your suggestion that films that have such a young adult appeal, can’t hold depth because of its lack of structure and irresponsibility is farther from the truth, and is the core of why I can’t respect your review on a professional level.”

    I suggested no such thing. In fact, I complained that THIS film fails to achieve that goal. Unlike something like The Wizard of Oz, which uses metaphor to discuss some interesting notions, this film is literal. And death is literal. But not taken seriously in this film.

  39. David Poland says:

    Sport 67 – “I stopped taking my friend to movies because he would base his opinion, just like this review, on the movie he wanted the film to be and not the film it was.”

    I understand the concept of reviewing what you wish a movie was… and dislike it as much as you do. But I am afraid that I am seeing Hunger Games for exactly what it is and it isn’t on the screen. And my guess is that people who love the books will project their knowledge onto this film and not think much about the film itself… as in seeing what they want the film to be and not what it is.

    I have no preconceived notions of what The Hunger Games should be. I simply see a man with blue hair and a woman with pink hair, etc, and in movie language, expect something more interesting or funny or ironic.

    I see 24 children sent to die… and I expect to feel something profound, beyond one girl’s need to get home to care for her sister.

    I see a society in which the 7.7% lords over the 92.3% with arrogance, cruelty, and cynicism and I expect there to be something more than Sutherland’s character offers here.

    That is, my friend, looking at the movie and not projecting what will come in movie 2 or 3.

  40. David Poland says:

    Jenn – “That’s way too many characters for a film of that length.”

    And that’s one amazing thing… it actually works. THG is 30 minutes longer and doesn’t do as much for half as many characters.

  41. David Poland says:

    Krazy Eyes – Watch the two movies in the same 24 hours and then tell me they are not a reflection of one another… in general and in details.

  42. David Poland says:

    John Fist – I assume your post is a joke. Maybe a parody of my review? No one is that much of an asshole. Or you should seek help. Really.

  43. J says:

    One other thing: While reading the book, and knowing about Lawrence’s casting, it was impossible not to see empty echoes of Winter’s Bone in the first part. Not that they’re not common enough archetypes to use, especially in fairy tale/fable situation where they’re almost necessary for your hero’s journey, but the hero elder daughter caring for younger sibling(s) with an absent father and invalid mother. In the same Appalachian setting to boot.

    I fear it’s going to be impossible to not associate the two projects (one Hunger Games review I scanned referred to Lawrence’s role in Bone as a “warm-up” for this one), and Bone will inevitably be overshadowed. Which is a shame, because I found Woodrell’s book to be a billion times better than Collins’ — not only is his use of language sublime, while hers is bland (and when not bland, bad), but he manages to pull off the trick of making the work feel both lived-in and specific and also mythic — and admire how Granik’s film found its own way to exist outside the book (by moving in and documenting local color).

  44. Edward Havens says:

    If one has to read the book to understand the movie, then the movie has failed to tell its story properly.

  45. Lori says:

    The minute I saw the words ‘Battle Royale’ in this review, I facepalmed.

  46. David Poland says:

    Have you seen Battle Royale, Lori?

  47. Robin says:

    @J: Winter’s Bone is in Missouri, not Appalachia.

  48. J says:


    My bad. That’s my urban northeasternness mentally jamming all Southernish mountainous regions together.

  49. Chazwiz says:

    I agree with everyone’ s opinion. I have not read the movie but have seen the book. No, wait, scratch that, reverse it and fold it into three equal parts. People, it’s a movie. I love movies but no movie has ever changed my life. Except maybe BREAKIN 2 : Elecrtic Boogaloo. I have watched Yojimbo and Happy Gilmore in the same day and enjoyed both. So go see the movie and if you like it , admit it. If you don’t, go home to your basement and enjoy some alone time with your vhs unsubtitled copy of Batle Royale and fantasize about how hip you are . PS – Dark City and The Matrix are the same story. So what. Bothe great movies. PPS – Go team Peeta . HAHA lighten up everyone. The party only lasts about 75 years. It’s ok to stand in the corner discussing Kafka but the real fun is around the keg.

  50. SamLowry says:

    “how in the f— did the US, after a rebellion, go [from] a place that coddles and adores children to wanting to kill them off in a brutal televised competition?”

    What, “My Super Sweet 16” doesn’t inspire such thoughts?

  51. Krillian says:

    The book is written in first-person format, and Katniss doesn’t really get a lot of how the 7.7% work. It’s fleshed out more in Books 2 & 3. Also, sounds like no one’s colored their skin blue. There were times I was reading the first book where I wondered if the twist would be that the 7.7% are actually an alien race that conquered Earth a century or two ago.

    As to the 24 kids, Katniss doesn’t get to know all of them either, so why would we? About half of them, she never sees again once the Games start. She just sees the news at night that they died.

    And it is aimed at tweens/teens.

  52. Tofu says:

    Thanks for the review, David. I have waiting for more answers or even development from the second and third movie is a fool’s errand.

    91% on Rotten Tomatoes? The Gods Must Be Crazy.

  53. SamLowry says:

    “91% on Rotten Tomatoes? The Gods Must Be Crazy.”

    That’s what happens when professional critics are replaced by drooling fanboys with a WordPress account.

  54. David Poland says:

    Well, nothing besides nuclear war and what you ate today really matters, Chazwiz. Right?

    Fact is, both Dark City and The Matrix are beautifully made movies that stand up on their own. So do American Beauty and Fight Club, which are also the same idea.

    I don’t disagree with the idea that there are only a handful of core story ideas.

    And I don’t care that Hunger Games rips off Battle Royale. What I care about is that a generation of kids are taking their cue from a movie about murder that is clean and easy and not very challenging in any way.

    Ironically, Jackass is more honest. Yes, those guys bounce back from doing all kinds of really stupid, dangerous stuff. But the truth is, most of us did survive doing a lot of stupid, dangerous stuff. But Jackass never pretends that being kicked in the balls doesn’t hurt.

    I never believed that a movie like Total Recall or Body Double or Looney Tunes desensitized kids or adults because we can understand the signals of fictional, sometimes cartoonish thinking they offer. I adore Verhoeven’s Black Book, which offers up a kinky sex and black comedy in the midst of Nazi times.

    I too am happy to watch Kurosawa and the better films of Adam Sandler in the same day. Nothing in this review suggests otherwise. I have no problem with low culture or high. I believe that all films should first be considered based on the goals of the film, not the critic or the audience.

    But the whitewashing of the central premise of this movie – which may evolve into something deeper in future movies – is problematic for me.

    And if you haven’t had a really good fight, driven by good bourbon and cigars, about Kafka or whatever highbrow bullshit you like, you don’t know that it’s even better than the keg. It’s not only drunken fun, but it can exercise your brain too. And perhaps you should know… sex is better when the woman is having fun too.

  55. David Poland says:

    SamLowry – Get thyself to Bob Goldthwaite’s God Bless America.

  56. David Poland says:

    Even the pros are going “thumbs up” on this film. But if you read the reviews, many of them offer the same reservations I do… just not enough to go negative on a $100m opener not directed by Michael Bay.

  57. chris says:

    Right. Because if critics disagree with you, they must be motivated by something other than their genuine feelings about the film, whereas your feelings are pure?

  58. LYT says:

    ^ That’s an interesting comment…implying that major critics often give a pass to $100 million movies?

    I would have thought “John Carter” would be an obvious rebuttal, but maybe I’m misunderstanding the point…

  59. LYT says:

    Oh, my bad, you said “opener.” But most every review is written prior to opening. Do these critics therefore base their opinions on what they assume the grosses will be?

  60. David Poland says:

    Chris… I know you want to argue. But read my full sentence.

    No, not all critics who like The Hunger Games are giving it a pass. But read the content of some of the Fresh reviews and see if you don’t find a lot of hedging.

  61. David Poland says:

    Well, John Carter is the opposite. That was a case where I’d say there was a bit nod a pile-on in some circles, as the film was pegged as a flop before it opened… though I can’t say too much about reviews as I read very few.

    Do you not think, Luke, that a handful of times a year that critics lean one way or the other because they sense the zeitgeist around the film? Not positive replaced by negative or vice versa. But a lean… more praise or more vitriol or a positive star count in spite of strong reservations?

  62. Martin S says:

    I think JS can actually back me up on this one…

    Hedge reviews are written because the critic goes in already knowing its going to be, or already is, massively popular, but upon leaving, cannot deduce why.

  63. anghus says:

    Everyone seems afraid to say ‘its sub par’ if it’s going to be culturally relevant. All the Twilight movies have sucked. Kristen Stewart is a terrible actress. Taylor Lautner is a fucking big screen blight.

    To say otherwise is to be a pop culture apologist. I get why. People are afraid to swim against the tide, even when it’s an ocean of shit.

    Be brave. Call it like you see it.

  64. chris says:

    No interest in arguing. I just think there’s a way to express one’s subjective opinion without suggesting that others’ subjective opinions are somehow tainted.

  65. anghus says:

    chris, you’re right. people’s opinions are subjective. but can you genuinely, honestly state that mania doesn’t impact decisions and people give above average reviews to crappy films because they’re afraid of seeming out of touch with the cultural zeitgeist?

  66. ascfencer says:

    plot-wise, your points are very valid and I agree with many of them. HG is no masterpiece of storytelling, though I do think it a more original premise than it’s being given credit for. I’ve seen BR. there are similarities, but mostly in the most basic plot elements.
    however, I’d like to make the distinction that your beef is, or should be, with the source material and not so much with the movie. I’m a firm believer in judging a movie based on its success in achieving the goals it sets out to achieve. By most accounts, Transformers is not a good movie, which is certainly true. But I get impatient with the people who think it’s relevant to complain about the plot. I saw Transformers to experience a rollercoaster of some of the best that modern technology has to offer in terms of CGI action and grandeur and I got exactly that.
    In the same vein, I think HG does exactly what it sets out to do, which is to successfully adapt a popular book to the big screen. is the plot perfect? of course not. but that’s on Collins. Why try to remove the movie from the contextual framework within which it was created? Movies aren’t created in a vacuum, they’re created with goals and with a target demographic in mind. there isn’t one standard for judging movies because there is a time and place for so many different types of film.
    Read the book, don’t read the book, but please don’t fault Ross for deciding not to drastically alter the plot of the source material for the sake of the big screen, because that was never the point and I respect that.

    oh, and the reason the characters aren’t all fleshed out in the arena is a deliberate stylistic choice of the author to use a first person perspective so that the reader only sees and knows what the main character knows. fine to disagree with that, but again, that was Collins’ choice, not the movie. if anything, they took liberties with the “big picture” behind the scenes perspective with the gamemakers.

  67. SamLowry says:

    “To say otherwise is to be a pop culture apologist.”

    …or be Armond White, which no one else wants to be.

  68. David Poland says:

    Yes and no, asfencer.

    There are very few circumstances where the book is so sacrosanct that the movie can’t be viewed in its own context.

    Comments noting the source material have been abundant enough that I believe your view of it to be accurate, even without reading it. But still, if Katniss’ perspective is the perspective of the film, the film cheats on that conceit so often as to render it indistinguishable.

    To my memory, the primary POV in this film would seem to be the TV show’s… or God’s in other contexts.

    I am not a stickler in this regard. I’d include The Limey ad a for instance of a film heavily filtered through one person’s perspective, but with scenes he could not have witnessed. I didn’t get that here, except when she hallucinates one time.

    But interesting offering. Thanks.

  69. Mariamu says:

    Somehow I am not very interested in this movie. I remember when the books came out and I admire Jennifer Lawrence. Just may check it out when it gets to the $2 dollar theatres.

  70. LYT says:

    They very specifically say in the press notes (not that reading those should be mandatory for understanding a film) that the movie makes a choice to depart from only showing Katniss’ perspective.

  71. scooterzz says:

    ross made it very clear that he only insisted on keeping the pov from katness’ perspective during the arena scenes…he was fully aware that it might be considered a controversial choice but had full studio support and even hired juliette welfing and stephen mirrione to make sure the cuts were first rate…

  72. David Poland says:

    I have no stake in the choice… aside from whether it works in the movie.

    I would say, without too much detailed consideration, tbat if this story is structured around one character’s POV and you abandon that conceit, the lack of complexity going on around her becomes a greater problem.

    And from what others have said, sounds like Gary Ross is more interested in the TV show elements than the book is, further pushing away from the 20+ dead kids.

    This all makes sense to me.

  73. scooterzz says:

    to borrow a phrase…’oy’….

  74. Paul D/Stella says:

    106 reviews counted as of 7:50 am CST today. How many of those critics are concerned with being in touch with the cultural zeitgeist? Is it just online critics? Is there a significant difference between the way print and online critics are reviewing this? This hedging/group-think argument rears its ugly head every now and then and I find it kind of fascinating. Are people really reading 100+ reviews word-for-word to determine how prevalent hedging is? How does one know whether or not a critic is giving something a pass because it’s likely to open north of $100 million? I believe hedging exists. I’m not suggesting it doesn’t. I’m more interested in how it’s quantified. We all have pretty strong opinions. Maybe sometimes we’re letting our opinion of the movie influence what we believe about hedging/group-think?

  75. Krazy Eyes says:

    These group-think arguments only seem to rear their heads around here when DP goes seriously against the grain but then keeps insisting that it’s all the other reviewers that are out of touch — not him.

    I don’t think it’s the case but I always think it makes DP look incredibly insecure about his contrarian stances.

  76. Paul D/Stella says:

    And Ebert’s three-star review reads like a typical three-star Ebert review to me, not a hedge. It’s effective entertainment with a great lead performance, but it has notable flaws (lack of character self-awareness and avoiding social criticism). He liked it but wanted to like it more than he did. Nothing unusual there.

  77. Pat Hobby says:

    The culture of death.

  78. David Poland says:

    As I’ve noted, the hedge effect, which I think happens a half-dozen times a year or so, can go both ways.

    There is no overt quantifying it. And as I already wrote, it is not true for all. I certainly think Luke and Todd and others have very clear opinions about how they feel about the film and the books.

    Think what you like, Krazy Eyes. Very few of my allegedly “contrarian stances” haven’t played out as mainstream stances over time, though some – like Eyes Wide Shut – have only been reconsidered by a small group of oddballs.

    My position on this has been very consistent for over a decade now. Every year, there seem to be about a half-dozen movies that either get a pass or get thrown to the wolves in a way that seems contrary to what you would expect based on the discussion of the film. Of course, when picked apart, it becomes very specific and personal, which it is not.

    This is very much in the category of, for instance, critics awards. Is it a coincidence that the awards always seem to come from a very short list of contenders? No. Does this mean that any member of a major critics group is saying, “I want to pander to the vagaries of this award season so that I might be able to sit next to Likely Oscar Winner X on a Saturday night?” No.

    Same is true of how people see elected national politicians. Congress sucks… but my Congressman or Senator is great.

    Part of this is the simple-mindedness of Rotten Tomatoes itself. I think it was and is a great idea, as a clearinghouse of ideas. But the bar for Fresh or Rotten has, I believe, started to creep into the tone of reviews. RT is hardly the only influence on this. But the middle is somewhere no writer seems to want to be on anything these days. And if they are in the middle, is that Fresh or is that Rotten?

    And maybe this is how Roger typically closes a 3-star review, but after saying it is “an effective entertainment” and that he likes Jennifer Lawrence, he seems to be wagging his finger very clearly at the film’s lack of ambition.

    His closing line – “I found the movie too long and deliberate as it negotiated the outskirts of its moral issues.”

    You tell me.

    To para-quote Roger, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

    I get why this discussion sets off alarms for people. But having been through it annually, I know it’s not as simplistic as would make some feel comfortable. That doesn’t mean I have all the answers or an antidote… but I’m more concerned about how much people like to turn any opinion outside of what is the unconsidered mainstream into contrarianism.

    Read Armond White. Disagree with Armond White. But understand that he has a point of view and it’s not flipping all over the place. If you seriously consider his ideas, even if you still disagree with them vehemently, you will gain insight into your own ideas.

    Or just be blindly naive about consensus tends to be built and give up your thinking to it.

    If anyone is a fascinating case in here, it’s JSP, who SCREAMS about stuff I write all the time… and about 1/3 of the time, after he has seen the movie in question, agrees. He’s much quieter about agreeing when he does. But he clearly makes up his mind, eventually, based on what he sees and feels, not whether he’s berated me for the same position he ends up taking for a month.

    Sometimes consensus eats individual thinking. Sometimes it doesn’t. Most stuff is so bland that no one cares. And then you get Malick or Von Trier or a soon-to-be-massively-successful book adaptation that is just good enough for critics to be on “the right side” of this time, instead of spending years fighting against the stupid vampires and werewolves of Twilight.

    As far as I know, there is no memo… no secret handshake… and some percentage is absolutely sincere in their passionate praise.

    But it’s not my imagination.

  79. David Poland says:

    PS – You may note… in my review, no mention of other critics.

    This issue of me vs the RT score is a Comments event, not something I started. And truth is, it’s not relevant to the film being great, good, or weak.

  80. Yancy Skancy says:

    Well, it’s hard to argue with vibromasseur rabbit. I think I’ll click the link in his name and see what other wisdom he has to offer!


  81. palmtree says:

    I wonder if maybe the moral issue itself has become too large for these mainstream filmmakers (or critics) to tackle. At the same time they want to create an exciting, visually-appealing, violent action movie, they also want to have social commentary (i.e. satire) condemning that very same violence and visual titillation. BR had the luxury of coming before the reality TV craze. HG has to contend with the fact that our society does crave reality TV and all the things we were warned about in Network and other satires. Instead, the satires have simply become prophecies. So how can a film have it both ways when either way is loosing?

  82. palmtree says:

    Also, I think many critics are also giving HG a pass because of its feminism. How many other female ass-kicking protagonists are there in $100 million openers?

  83. cadavra says:

    “the better films of Adam Sandler”

    Is that anthing like “the better films of Steven Seagal?” 😉

  84. You mean Under Siege, Under Siege 2, Above the Law, and Executive Decision? Yes, they are that-much better than the rest of his stuff, just as Punch Drunk Love, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and well, his performances in Funny People, Spanglish, and Reign Over Me, are arguably superior to pretty much everything else he made.

  85. Jason B says:

    I was guessing that this would be a successful opening, but $100m opening? And boxofficemojo is projecting $140m? Is this material really that popular? Because $140m is Twilight or better popularity and I am surprised it has hit that level. Heck, I would have thought Dragon Tattoo was higher in popularity (just comparing the source material-obviously the Dragon movie is not as accessible). Does everyone expect this kInd of opening? Would be a huge win for Lionsgate.

  86. SamLowry says:

    When I was an English lit student in the ’80s almost all of my profs, who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, were obsessed with one topic: conformity. They had plenty of terrifying examples to prove just how obsessed everyone was with proving they were one of the guys, a regular joe, no one who would stand out in the crowd. In the ’80s, such thinking was ludicrous, antiquated, quaint–everyone was an individual, an iconoclast, unique!

    Nowadays…holey moley. Every youngster is once again obsessed with reading the right books, wearing the right clothes, watching the right shows, listening to the right music–no one dares to step out of line and hint they might be a weirdo, a freak, an individual! No critic wants to buck the trend, for fear they might offend anyone and lose eyeballs, click-throughs, ads–cash!

  87. LYT says:

    If you’re in the middle on a movie, it should be a “Rotten” on RT. People forget, but “Rotten” is supposed to just mean “not recommended” (as opposed to “crap”) and anything letter-graded below B- is counted as such.

    Thus a “C” movie would be rotten and in the middle.

  88. greg says:

    wow.. did i just read a post that extolled the virtues of Funny People and Spanglish???

  89. I actually hate Spanglish (mostly for the throw-the-popcorn-at-the-screen finale) and dislike Funny People, but Sandler is quite good in both.

  90. chris says:

    In the comparison to “Twilight,” JasonB, one thing that probably helps “Hunger Games” is that it’s more action-oriented and way, way less romance-oriented. So I’m guessing boys are more likely to go (and go again), and it plays younger than “Twilight.” I spoke to a class of fifth graders (yeah, they’re probably all too young for the movie but they’d almost all read the book) and the boys and girls are all jazzed about, most are going opening weekend. I don’t think that $100 idea is crazy at all.

  91. JoeLeydon'sPersonalPornStar says:

    I have not seen the movie yet, but I have read the books and I am surprised at myself because of JUST HOW ANGRY I am at your review.

  92. Frankie says:

    I agree with most of your points, Mr Poland.

    I like The Hunger Games –the first book only, the second and third books makes me feel so frustrated and the world-building in the book fails to make much sense— still I’m willing to give Miss Collins the benefit of doubt that she really has never read/watched BR (though the similarities are really difficult to overlook).

    But the fact that she doesn’t have the decency to give credits to survival-theme novels/movie by Western authors/film-makers, e.g The Running Man, The Lottery etc, annoys me to no end.

    Who’s she kidding anyway? Are we supposed to believe Greek Myth had mentioned packaged weapons and teenager being ordered to kill each other, instead of those elements (e.g. , sealed off arena, teen-kills-teen, packaged weapons, deadly traps, the arena getting smaller everyday to make those teens kill each other more easily etc) being presented in survival-theme novels/movies which were written in the modern era?

  93. mitchtaylor says:

    I was surprised to find that when it was over, I began to think that Battle Royale was one of the best movies of all time. I need to watch it again to see if it was just hyperbolic thinking on my part, but I felt like the movie had a very profound message about mortality and how we all have different ways of dealing with it.

  94. doug r says:

    Is it just me, or could it have lost 5-10 minutes in the set-up before they actually get to the arena? Will James Cameron direct a better sequel? Will it be titled HG II: Electric Boogaloo?

  95. Karina says:

    If the movie is from Katniss’ perspective, how do you expect every tribute to be presented? Besides, I feel it is more realistic this way. When you are forced to enter a competition where there is only one winner, you find time to get to chat about your lifes, your hobbies, your fears etc? They were not on a date and they were not friends, they were strangers gathered against their will and put in a forest with no way out. When people watched gladiators fight you think any of them bothered to find out about that man who was about to die in there?
    And I don’t think that it being a game of checkers instead of one of chess is a problem. Down there in the wild, they could not afford the luxury of taking their time and preparing 10 moves ahead. Try to have some empathy with the situation and don’t expect so many unreal things. And it seems to me that not paying attention to their lives is what makes the idea so cruel. They made all that show, the parade etc but in fact they knew nothing about the kids they sentenced to death. And even if I knew nothing of the 11 that died in the first minute of the fight I could feel sympathy for them. All I needed to know is that they were human beings sentenced to death by people who made it all look like a game to satisfy their sick and twisted minds. I don’t need their names, the life they led up to that point, how were they going to name their dog etc. Sympathy is there anyway.
    And about the flames and other elements that they gamemasters add. They don’t distract us from anything. In fact it adds to the cruelty of the game. Because they invented the games but did not give those children a fair fight. They had to interfere, to have fun, they needed the game to be entertaining. They had to control everything, this is why at the end they are all so upset because Katniss and Peeta acted against their last rule. If they could not add flames or wild animals, then they would have had no control over the kids. They could have all chosen not to fight but live peacefully all together. The gamemasters being GOD inside their game is what makes the game survive. So the fire and the animals and everything was necessary. No interfering from the sponsors and from the gamemasters means no game.

  96. Pappy says:

    “If the movie is from Katniss’ perspective”

    That’s a big rub. The novel has Katniss as the narrator, her POV. But in the movie, the so called faithful adaptation, Katniss does not narrate. If they were so faithful, they would have had her narrate. I didn’t get the sense in the movie (as much as the book) that it was Katniss’ POV.

  97. Martin S. says:

    stumbled upon this site by chance.
    your review is spot on (being a fan of the book)

    I´m pretty sure if HG didnt have this huge fan-base BEFORE this came out, everyone would have passed this down as a mediocre movie.
    Seriously, remove J.Lawrence from the mix and this is nothing more than a b-movie.

  98. JS Partisan says:

    That’s the thing: it’s not a B movie. There’s too much going on there, even if Poland doesn’t see it, to classify it as a B-movie. Also, really, the B-movie thing only works if the film looks like shit. This film does not even come close to looking B-movish. It just doesn’t.

    My main problem with the film is that it’s too short. There has to be more there for every character but this running time, doesn’t give this story enough air to breathe. I doubt it will happen but seriously, hopefully this film has a freaking extended cut coming out in the next 20 months to expand on everything before the sequel.

    Which leads to another point: does Lionsgate move the sequel to next Summer, or leave it in the Twilight November slot?

  99. Martin S. says:

    i agree that it´s too short for what it tries to do. To make this movie work there should have been drastic cuts, but i cant even tell where (maybe lessen the number of arena participants ?)

    Overall there should have been some way for the viewer to get into Katniss’ Head (which is what the book is really all about), maybe in a flashback after the tracker jacker venom.
    I’m of the opinion that the movie makes no sense at all without the audience knowing more about Katniss’ Background. Talking to my wife, she thought Katniss was the typical superheroine (young/strong/beautiful). In the books shes not like that at all.

    However i disagree that the movie doesnt look shitty, due to the crappy camera in most of the arena scenes.

  100. JS Partisan says:

    Martin, someone up thread makes a point that in a battle for the death, you really do not make a lot of friends. The career tributes from Districts 1 and 2 are friends because those districts raise kids a gladiators. Everyone is really doesn’t know one another, and they sell that in the training scenes. Where D1 and D2 kids hang out and everyone else keeps to themselves.

    Also, when you have it being from the perspectives of two characters, Peeta and Katniss, it’s easy to not know everyone. I think Ross tried to sell this by having the kid from D10 (whose Tresh I believe) refer to Katniss as “12”, so he didn’t even get to know her name. You can go on all day about how to sell the arena battles (even though that camera in those battles had to be used to get the PG-13. There’s no other reason for it) but what seems to be the point of it, as Cato says at the end; “I am already dead. I never knew it but I’m dead.” All of those kids are dead and trying to sell it any other way ignores that if we got to know them more, it doesn’t change that they were dead anyway.

    That really has nothing to do with Martin’s response as much as I just wanted to put it out there :D! Nevertheless, Catching Fire needs a different director. Ross can Executive Producer but if they really want to capture those books. They need someone who can get you inside of Katniss’ head.

  101. cadavra says:

    And again, BATTLE ROYALE, even in its 110″ theatrical version–fully half-an-hour shorter than THG–somehow managed to give everyone time for their characters to be fleshed out. As I.A.L. Diamond so aptly put it, “Films should be edited in the typewriter.”

  102. JS Partisan says:

    Again, Cad, I have seen the movie and disagree. Sorry, but those characters have more TRAITS then they have PERSONALITIES. It’s hard to spend that much time in any movie on that many characters but again, that’s the POINT OF THE HUNGER GAMES! It doesn’t matter what their fucking name is, it’s that they die in the most gruesome way, because it makes for better TV.

    Also, it would be great to edit everything at a typewriter, but seeing as a great editor has to have the same skills as a writer, that quote is a bit silly.

  103. Martin S. says:

    The series is really too violent for PG-13 anyway (which will only get more obvious in part 2 and 3). Yes those kids are “dead meat”, but making us not know them at all really takes away the impact of them dieing.
    Also we saw nothing of the “gruesome way”. Im not hungry for gore…..but a movie like this doesnt work when people touch each other lightly on the arm and one falls down dead.

    Like when Tresh dies in the book, and Katniss reflects on how she owes him her life. Its even worse with Rue. In the Movie its all like “k good he/she’s dead, lets move on”.

    My big Problem with the Movie is, that i really cant find anything it did right (except for casting JLaw).
    It wasnt too bad, but not really good either (hence my score of 40 %)

  104. JS Partisan says:

    The not knowing the other Tributes at all, really feels like a conceit they are trying to make about reality competition programs. Where you have all of these characters and you watch them rise and fall but at the end of the day there is only one winner, and that’s all that matters.

    I’m not implying that works for everyone but think of any reality show competition that you watch, and try to think who came in seventh place. Do you remember them at all? Unless they are someone like Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson or some Survivor castaway, probably not, and that to me seems to be the point.

    Wanting to get to know them more, to have their death mean more, ignores that this is not the point of the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is something established to keep people in their places and to entertain the captiol masses, who watch it like we would watch the Biggest Loser. They don’t give a fuck who the curly haired kid is. They want to see him go out in the most grisly way imagine. They want to be entertained and thus what Katniss does, to turn it from entertainment to something more real, is the point. She breaks the 4th wall and now people have to deal with it.

    Now I get that you disliked it, but is that because of the book? I didn’t read the book and thus liked the movie. If you really dig the books then much like with the Potter films, that seems to be where you get people less than satisfied with the product.

  105. Martin S. says:

    Yes, I very much liked the first book.

    In the book not every participant of the games is fleshed out either, dont get me wrong here.
    It’s just that the charcacters that we DO get to know (Rue being the prime example here) mean so much more.

    That IS the main flaw of the movie. We get to know nothing about Haymitch, Peeta, and whats even worse Katniss either. Like I said earlier: THG is Katniss’ Story. Yet we learn nothing about her, even see her portrayed in a totally wrong image (Hi! Im selling those cool leather jackets).

    What we are left with is a mediocre action movie, which i really cant recommend neither to people who did read the book, nor to people who didnt. It really IS a watered down version of Battle Royale, even though the book is NOTHING like it.
    On top of it, the horrible camera just ruins it.

    You seem to go a lot on about the Reality-TV-Show thing. Guess what ? Katniss doesnt give a fuck about people watching her die. Cause shes concerned about figuring out how to make it out alive. She actually abuses the audience (via the fake love-affair) to get sponsors to support her.

    Obviously people watching all those horrible things makes it more perverted, but that is not a main point of the story. You say we see the participants go out in “grisly ways”. Compared to the descriptions in the book, the movie is more than tame.

    Book-Movie Comparison? You are right that its harder to like the movie if you read the book before it. However LotR was a masterpiece, the Potter Movies were alright.
    THG just completely misses the point the books made (which is imo the journey into the mind of Katniss Everdeen, a girl that has to live through more than unusual conditions).

  106. JS Partisan says:

    I go on about reality TV competitions not in terms of Katniss but in terms of what the movie is selling. Critics and posters keep going on about “YOU DON’T KNOW THE KIDS WHO DIE” and that’s the point it would seem. They just die. They are contestants that just bite it.

    This is what happens when you take it away from Katniss. You get a larger sense of what the Hunger Games are and what they are, is basically Survivor but with murder. If the book really is more about Katniss dealing with the capitol, then Ross and the screenwriters failed to really capture the point of it. Which is, you know, pretty bizarre given how most feel it’s a perfect adaptation of the book.

  107. Martin S. says:

    Let’s not go into how “most” people feel. That’s just a lazy argument. Most people couldnt tell a good movie from a bad one if their life depended on it. Most people will fall for the Hype, plain and simple.

    Seriously I doubt you believe the movie is as good as the score it got on Rotten Tomatoes or on other sites.

    I will try to get my point across once again, even though its very hard, with you having no knowledge of the books (no offense intended).

    You say: The movie is good on its own. The Characters may be underdeveloped and weak, but what drew me in was the Hunger Games/Reality TV plot.

    I say: Without the very very strong Katniss character (which you have no knowledge of, cause its not developed at all in the movie) the story is so weak it cant stand on its own. I am 100 % sure you will understand that point better once you see parts 2/3 (or read the books)

    You are wrong in another aspect: The kids who die ARE important in the sense of how they affect Katniss.

    The book is not really about Katniss dealing with the Capitol. The book is about Katniss dealing with Life and “coming of age” under very cruel conditions.

    I just have a hard time accepting that people can enjoy this Movie so much with this very bland Katniss. Like I wrote above: Whats left of this movie without the intriguing Katniss character is a a watered down version of Battle Royale.

    I AM fully of the opinion that Ross missed the point completely, AND that it will only get worse in the 2 movies to come.
    Maybe YOU can tell me why you think the movie is good.

  108. JS Partisan says:

    Martin, no offense taken, but I can infer. I can infer there’s more going on. That’s how it works most of the time with adaptations and that’s why usually I read the books afterwards to get more backstory.

    Nevertheless, my own criticism of folks like you who are overly critical of adaptations is: it’s an adaptation. They are good or bad, but judging an adaptation against it’s source material always feels like a stretch to me. Again, difference of opinion and the such.

  109. Martin S. says:

    I can agree with that.

    Trying to go from a neutral point of view and not thinking about the book I personally am left with a rather average, teenage, hollywood-trimmed version of “Battle Royale” which I just couldnt enjoy much.

    The Movie is weak without the book in mind, and vice versa, with the book in mind the movie is more than redundant.

    Thats just my opinion.

    Best Regards

  110. JS Partisan says:

    Oh no worries man, I can get that movie isn’t for everyone. I just enjoy female protagonist more than most.

  111. anghus says:

    more than lex?

  112. brack says:

    Saw the movie yesterday and found it very entertaining, well made movie. Not very original as far as plot goes, but what really is? It’s well acted, Jennifer Lawrence plays a good Every Girl to root for. Empty calories, maybe, but in a country where most people are overweight, that’s a moot point. We like our empty calories.

  113. My major problem with the film is by virtue of omission it ends up allowing/encouraging the audience the basically celebrate the Hunger Games as entertainment just as much as the onscreen people watching it do. By removing the gruesome violence, not developing any of the characters, and (this is the big one) dividing the players into ‘good nice kids who try to keep their hands unbloody and help each other’ versus ‘mean, rich, well-trained kids who really enjoy killing the underdogs’, it basically creates a relative morality in an inherently immoral situation. Instead of reflecting on the horror of the games and the mindset of those who would produce them, we are encouraged to cheer when Katniss escapes death, boo/hiss at the bad guys, cry when a ‘nice’ character dies and cheer/applaud when one of the evil characters dies. It basically disguises the cruelty of the situation, the fact that every one of the 24 kids are basically kidnapped children taken from their homes and forced to murder each other for the entertainment of the privileged masses. They are all equally ‘victims’, yet the film makes some of them ‘good’ and some of them ‘evil’ in order to tell a more conventional action narrative. I don’t know whether it was an intentional patronizing decision (“We have to make this a crowd-pleasing ‘fun’ franchise-starter!”) or merely the by-product of what’s (allegedly) left out from the books, but the end result is the same. It’s basically a high-tech version of ‘bum fights’ where we are actually encouraged to hope that homeless person A kills homeless person B so that homeless person C can survive to live another day. Quite frankly, the film disturbed the hell out of me for just that reason.

    * For those who care –

  114. christian says:

    How many in the audience went back home to catch the episode of MOB WIVES they missed?

  115. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah Scott, I am not sure anyone but you views this as Bum Fights. The Hunger Games is a horrible fucking thing. If anyone goes in there rooting for the kills, they are rather fucked up. Most people want Katniss to bring down the whole damn thing. That’s the point.

    You also seem to be missing that the Hunger Games is basically a reality competition run amok. That’s why there are good guys and bad guys, because that sells the show. They want personalities. Good guys and bad guys because it’s a twisted reality show competition. Why that’s lost on people like you and other critics, really perplexes me. This is what Ross is going for in the adaptation.

    He’s selling the whole spectacle and depravity of it all because THAT COULD BE US! We could be watching kids kill themselves for our entertainment, and that should disturb you. It’s a fucked up thing and not viewing it that way ignores the single premise of the movie. It also ignores why Haymitch is so fucked up. That level of damage doesn’t happen to a survivor of the games for a reason.

    What we all should really be bugged by in this film, is the ever changing color of Katniss’ windbreaker. Seriously, that thing changes colour like four or five times. What’s up with that?

  116. Martin S. says:

    Have to agree with Scott.
    PG-13 hurts this movie bad. Funny how they omitted all the bad stuff happening to Katniss, all she got was one minor burn. No mention of the fact she nearly dehydrates on day one, her near-death experience at the hand of the tracker-jackers (bees) and the constant struggle for food. Instead she looks fresh as the morning sun for the whole movie. The dark theme of the book isnt touched at all…….the good guys are winning, right ?

    I’m really thrilled how they will handle part 2 and 3 where shit really hits the fan, and a LOT more people die, whole districts are destroyed etc.

  117. David Poland says:

    Thing is, you could have had strong emotions about the deaths without making it an R.

  118. palmtree says:

    Have not seen HG yet…but I do believe there’s a very real difference between showing us the reality TV show world and criticizing that world. Showing something that is immoral and disturbing is not nearly the same thing as criticizing it. And that’s what I think people here are saying…that by merely showing the results of reality TV gone wrong, it could equally be interpreted as a celebration of the medium.

    And as we all know from Network, even the most pointed and satirical take on the degradation of TV programming wasn’t enough to keep our culture from basically turning into that movie’s disturbing vision. “That could be us” has turned into “That IS us”!

    So it’s much much harder for me to agree with an argument that showing the excesses of something is enough to claim it is inherently critical of it.

  119. brack says:

    People, including myself, have come to the same conclusions with movies that exploit violence but because they’re made by prestigious directors, they’re high art, like Fight Club or A Clockwork Orange, the latter of which I’m prone to agree with to an extent because everyone at least gets what’s coming to them, and isn’t simply about disgruntled, mostly young white guys.

  120. jesse says:

    Scott and others, I will say that the idea of there being some “good” tributes and some “bad” tributes is carried over from the book. They don’t go into as much detail about this in the movie (because Katniss’s voice isn’t there to explain as much), though they do mention it: the “bad” kids are “careers,” who are pretty much raised from birth to complete in these games, and volunteer to do so.

    Some of that nuance is lost on screen because this kind of thing, I feel, comes across as more hateful or “bad” when actors get involved (not that there couldn’t be more nuanced performances there, and indeed, that’s an area where the movie doesn’t do a great job) — in order for the actors to register at all, they have to seem a little more directly unlikable than they might in the book, when we’re lurking in Katniss’s head. That said, in the book, yes, several of the tributes come across as bad. But given the context (and, again, yes, the book probably has more context in this regard), I don’t know that we’re meant to see them as “bad guys” and “good guys” so much as “products of this horrible system” and “victims of this horrible system.” So no, in the book you don’t feel equally sorry for every single tribute; some of them are bloodthirsty. Could there really be SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS of Hunger Games and still every contestant would be ill-prepared and scared and sympathetic? I doubt it; some would be playing to win. There would definitely be amazing terror in 24 kids who are all scared and ill-prepared forced to fight to the death… but it’s not particularly realistic nor is it particularly easy to dramatize.

    In the book AND in the movie, I didn’t find myself rooting for Katniss to kill people. I rooted for her to survive. I just don’t see a way around this narrative problem unless you’re making a straight-up cautionary horror tale that doesn’t need its lead character to actually survive it physically and mentally intact.

    I had some problems with the movie, particularly with the handling of Rue whose relationship with Katniss feels very rushed (even though they didn’t cut a ton out — just one of those forest-for-the-trees adaptation problems where just putting in as much as you can fit into the running time does not solve all of your problems. This is a very post-Potter thing, where the basic thrust of the narrative is considered sacred and only minor cosmetic alterations are allowed). But I don’t think it particularly gets you cheering for immoral stuff any more than the book does; in both cases, what you’re experiencing is exciting even though it’s also extremely troubling.

  121. palmtree says:

    But that’s the thing…Fight Club and A Clockwork Orange don’t exploit violence. They are about the uses and causes of violence, but they are not asking the audience to root for its characters to kill or hurt others. Can the same be said of HG? Not sure. I’ll have to see it to find out.

  122. David Poland says:

    “the “bad” kids are “careers,” who are pretty much raised from birth to complete in these games, and volunteer to do so.”

    This alone, if it was really a part of the movie, would make a difference to me as a viewer.

    It’s a very interesting notion. It’s political, it’s personal, it’s religious.

    “Could there really be SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS of Hunger Games and still every contestant would be ill-prepared and scared and sympathetic? I doubt it”

    Another interesting notion that’s not really in the movie.

    I don’t see the movie as “rooting for violence.” I see it as a completely anesthetized view of violence, glossed over and never as disturbing as it should be.

    Series 7n: The Contenders actually satirizes all of this on multiple levels. There is a love story that gets twisted inside out and things that we know these shows want us to feel good about that are blackened and mean. Brooke Smith running around, desperate to kill people while 8 months pregnant has got more layers of complexity, in and of itself, than the entirety of The Hunger Games movie.

  123. The more I read about ‘what got left out of the book’ the more I’m convinced that the film fell victim to its need to get a PG-13 and/or be a more mainstream/entertaining, don’t make the audience too uncomfortable kind of movie. Having said that, I certainly am not one to believe that any film that shows something horrible happening is inherently condoning it (I never got the rap over Fight Club since 90% of the violence involves consenting adults beating each other up for their equal enjoyment).

    As for The Hunger Games, I do believe that by virtue of setting up the whole good combatants vs. evil combatants dichotomy and then removing much of the nasty consequences/undercurrent/overt bleakness (again, stuff I’ve been told exists in the book), that the finished product ends up becoming the very sort of bread-and-circuses entertainment that it spends much of the first (relatively good) hour trying to comment on. We may never know, but I got a whiff the whole time that many of the omissions/changes that bugged me were a result of studio executives trying to make the film more ‘accessible’ than the original novel, forgetting that if kids can handle the novel then they can handle the movie too. Personally, I’m offended both by the moral framework that the movie ends up creating for itself as well as the apparent condescension that caused said alterations and ‘toning down’ of the source material.

  124. JS Partisan says:

    Scott, read what Jesse wrote above. They didn’t really change all that much from the narrative. They tweaked thing sure but what’s in the book is mostly there in the movie. Why you are hung up on this absurd notion about the moral framework, that doesn’t exist is rather off.

    You also have to realize that there is a difference between seeing it and reading it. The kids can handle it on the page but what’s up on the screen, is pretty fucking bad. What more do we need?

    David, the four kids that Peeta joins are career tributes. They state as much about Districts 1 and 2. They breed gladiators. That’s who they breed.

    I still do not get your anesthetized violence comments because the violence in the film is pretty fucking horrible. It’s gruesome. Do we really need to go all Peckinpah on this shit?

    What you and some others seem to be missing is that the Capitol terrorizes the other districts each year with this TV show. Sure, D1 and D2 have decided to go with it, but all you need to do is to see Primrose’s freak out to realize the terror this brings. It’s a horrible situation and I do not know what more you or anyone would need, to make it so obvious it’s a horrible situation.

  125. wonka says:

    One more time: IT IS A KID’S MOVIE.

    This isn’t Otto Preminger or Werner Herzog or Peter Greenaway! It is a weekend allowance moneywaster for teenagers who don’t have anything better to do. It doesn’t have to make sense, just sell tickets.

    …and some people believe a bowl of “frosted mini wheats” really IS part of a balanced breakfast.

  126. jesse says:

    Yeah, while some of the stuff I mention is MORE present in the novel, it is at least mentioned in the movie — the career tribute idea is absolutely stated and present. The careers are a little less hyped up in terms of being adversaries for Katniss than they are in the book, because we read Katniss’s thoughts about them — but that’s true of many moments in the book, and in many cases (not all) the movie does a nice job making those points visually or quickly without narration or anything.

    So that’s less clear in the movie, sure, but those career characters don’t have amazing depth in the book either — which is not to say that automatically gives a free pass to the movie because “it’s just adapting the book.” To me it indicates that OK, it’s not a case of a movie making something more dumbed-down so much as it is the source material being about something pretty different than knowing the complexities of every tribute, so it’s pretty easy to drop it down even further when doing the movie.

    And as such, Scott, though the novel does work better for a variety of reasons and there was indeed some toning down to get to a PG-13 (less in what happens than what you “see” of it), I do think you’re on some level sort of demanding that the movie (and/or book, though I realize you haven’t read the book) be something different, more intense, more unforgiving, bleaker, yet also making a moral point. That’s not a case of the movie ignoring aspects of the novel to get a PG-13; those elements are not really on the page either. In the book, you are rooting for Katniss, even though you recognize that she does not want to take lives and that it’s not a great position for her to be in, even if she wins.

    If anything, the movie is less outright thrilling than the novel (which I’d argue is more due to muffled filmmaking in the last half hour or so, concerned more with faithfulness to the plot than the spirit), so I don’t think that it turns the material into a bread-and-circus show that betrays the seriousness and inaccessiblity book. The book is EXTREMELY entertaining and accessible. And it’s not as devastatingly satirical as some (like the EW writer who did a piece about what the movie “misses”) have implied.

    I guess you can still make the argument that showing hardcore violence can give viewers a taste of how horrible it is, but I don’t know; ultraviolent stuff is still pretty sensationalized (like DRIVE, which I did love, but couldn’t argue is about the horrible costs of violence, even though there are costs and the violence is horrible). If you had “nasty consequences,” I don’t know, I think a lot of people would still find places to cheer Katniss on.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think making the R-rated version of this movie would solve the problems you have with it, because a lot of those problems would still be there.

    And I’m not saying it’s a great movie. It does pull some punches. But I found that less with the violence than with the suspense, which should’ve been more taut in the final section, and some of the more likable characters, like Haymitch, who is softened considerably (which is odd, because he’s far more likable in unsoftened form than a lot of the other characters in the book OR movie).

  127. Martin S. says:

    Having watched the movie again (thanks to my daughter) I really feel that the main difference is that the movie moves the story we see in the book from Katniss’ Head to a third person perspective which just makes it much less thrilling.
    It also tries too hard to appease everyone (was Ross afraid it would be less of a blockbuster ?)
    I really got pissed in one of the first scenes when Gale (hunter extraordinaire in the books) stops Katniss from shooting a deer, which is totally out of character for him.
    Why is this done? To show Katniss/Peeta/Gale as nice people the audience can root for. Too bad that Katniss isn’t nice at all, but to make things Hollywood-esque Katniss and Peeta are allowed to kill only in self-defence.
    Katniss is no heroine. While she is no murderer, she won’t flinch from killing someone to ensure her own survival.
    This is what makes her fascinating. Instead we are presented with the classic close-to-perfect, morally unquestionable character.

    The buildup to the Games is watchable (some blunders are made here and there. Would it be so hard to show us that Katniss, for the very first time in her Life, gets enough to eat ?).
    Its when the Games begin the movie really starts to fall apart.
    What is supposed to be a horrible slaughter of children among each other, comes off as a weekend summer camp.
    In the books its made clear that even though Katniss survives the games, the damage done to her soul (and body!) is major – nobody wins in the end.

    There is event after event after event. But what is downright shocking to Katniss in the books (Peeta joining the Careers, Rues Death, etc) just doesn’t have the same impact on the audience in the movie – due to the third vs first-person-difference.
    Again a smarter director would have skipped a few things and emphasized others.
    Ross just seems scared to commit to anything. Instead we get a weak, dumbed down summary of the book, which just does not work.

  128. Anna says:

    I have to say I agree that the movie should be able to stand alone! As I read the books before, I can’t judge the quality of this. From your comments though, I seem to get that they did fail to cover several aspects:

    – The fact that it is invariably from Katniss’ perspective and that the viewer doesn’t get to know all tributes because she doesn’t – because, in the end, she is a survivor. In the book (and for me, also in the film), it seems to be part of the concept – you keep wondering who they are, what their names are and how they died. I think it is very much on purpose – Katniss never thinks about them much. She is very indifferent towards the tributes, putting her personal survival first. It is her personal feeling, since she is forced to see them as adversaries.

    – But, much more importantly, the good guy – bad guy distinction, and how the death of other tributes is considered. Never once can you see her celebrating someone else’s death. I also have to disagree with your perception that she never has to question her morality and decide to kill or not kill. Several situations show she defends but doesn’t attack directly. The first run-in with the woods – she has the knife, the other girl doesn’t. When she shoots the supplies – she could’ve shot the boy from District 3 guarding the pile, or Foxface, but she doesn’t. She decides not to kill in those instances, in fact, it doesn’t even cross her mind. Plus, watching others die such as Glimmer in the tracker jacker attack (she only started to not be hit herself plus to escape) is not exactly easy on her.

    – Ultimatively, the horror that book put into me. The horror that comes with every tributes death, even the ones considered to be “bad” – Cato’s and Clove’s death were shocking and quite devastating. Also, the perversity of the games and them being “entertainment” for the rich.

    I thought the adaptation was quite close, but a lot of the most important stuff seems to get lost! Then again, that is the problem with most books made into movies – the movies never capture the essence of the book entirely.

  129. christian says:

    “but they are not asking the audience to root for its characters to kill or hurt others. ”

    Alex is the only human being in the film version of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. And there’s a reason Kubrick pulled the film from English release for years.

  130. anghus says:

    it was a pretty average movie. the setup is far more interesting than the execution.


    my wife had a similar reaction to the timeline of all the events. ‘theyve been doing this 75 years and people act like it’s novel. name anything in our short term memory a.d.d. addled world that would hold anyone’s attention for 75 months, much less 75 years.’ You could say ‘the olympics’, but they have a hundred different events and are held every four years.

    I hadnt thought about that, but once she said it i couldn’t let it go. If theyd said ten years or twenty it would seem plausible. But 74 Hunger Games… why does anyone still care? Did no one in the previous 74 years think of a suicide pact?

    Even the life and death struggle of it all seems like it would be kind of boring. Two weeks long? Some kids just die of exposure? This isn’t exactly riveting television. Even the shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race force the contestants into some kind of head to head battles for dominace. Yes, i realize they do that to a degree in Hunger Games with the supplies and the forced fires, but there’s a lot of sitting around and waiting for people to die.

    And is there some kind of benefit for the Districts when someone wins? Maybe they elude to it in the books. Maybe the people would be more prone to cheer if their winners actually brought something back to the district other than the pride of not being dead.

    You would think life and death stakes would be enough, but man they really weren’t. I didn’t know any of the kids except the ones from District 12, and since neither of them died why did i care. They gave us one likable kid, Rue, and we got to spend a few minutes with her before she got conveniently killed. Where’s the scene where someone kills another person and labors over it. Where’s Peeta being forced to crush a kids’ windpipe with his bare hands. So many of the deaths were off camera or convenient (It was the wasps that killed her, or the berries). Katniss and Peta never had to give anything of themselves. They never had to kill anyone that wasn’t self defense. Even the last murder happens while Peeta is being threatened. There’s no darkness to their deaths.

    If that’s not a cop out i don’t know what is. You have a game where 22 people get killed and you give the main characters a pass by barely making them killers.

    And still, i didn’t dislike the movie. But the games were the weakest part. It could have used something more sinister. It was the most passive most dangerous game scenario ever

  131. jesse says:

    Anghus, I hate to be the but-the-book-was-like-that-guy all up on this thread, but a lot of your complaints have to do with the movie not being made into something completely different from the book. There’s no scene of Peeta being forced to crush someone’s windpipe because he doesn’t survive that way. He survives mostly because of Katniss. This isn’t a story about sacrificing your humanity in order to win the hunger games. Without giving too much away, it’s more about the beginning of a revolution and the costs that come from *that*, not how even participating in this horrible tournament of death must cost you your humanity.

    Also, maybe the movie didn’t do a great job of explaining it, but the gamemakers *do* manipulate the players into clashes if not enough is happening. The fire in the forest that comes from nowhere: that’s the gamemakers steering Katniss away from the outskirts of the game and closer to the other tributes. They all but move the players around the board as pieces.

    And yes, there is definitely benefit to winning. You get food (one of the weirdest decisions the movie made, which someone pointed out a few comments ago: they kind of downplay the HUNGER aspect, that most of the district people are close to starving much of the time), and wealth, and basically a lifetime of (Capitol-provided and therefore suspect) safety, though you do have to mentor future contestants (like Haymitch does).

    Finally, I don’t think we’re to expect that people tune into the games because they’re riveted. I mean, that’s part of it, but they’re riveted more because these are real people being sent to their deaths, there’s not a lot else (if anything?) broadcast on television and, moreover, viewing is literally mandatory (that may have been skipped by the movie, which is too bad). Not for the entire time they’re going on; I imagine it’s more like The Truman Show, where you can watch a (directed) feed, but the “main event” is probably more of a recap structured around the biggest events in the games — which the gamemakers control.

    Some of this, granted, is the movie’s fault for not better integrating it, but some of it does sound to me like a mixture of nitpicking and wishing this was a completely different kind of movie.

  132. Martin S. says:

    You really cannot blame the movie for the faults of the book, true enough.

    You can blame it for skipping the strongest points of the book (Katniss’ character development) and focussing on its weakest though.
    The action itself in Hunger Games (book) is not THAT exciting. There are no Death Stars in this.
    The really fascinating stuff in Hunger Games happens in Katniss’ Head, and we see none of that.

    Instead we see Katniss and Peeta with a “get-out-of-jail-free” card out of this, body and mind undamaged (in the book Katniss never recovers mentally from the games)

    The movie turns one of the most realistic, fascinating main characters into a streamlined hollywood super-heroine. Which is kind of sad, especially cause I thought JLawrence was the perfect cast for her.

  133. anghus says:

    never read the books. don’t plan on it.

    then it’s a failing for the source material.

    making a story about having to kill to survive and never making the killing anything other than obligatory is weak. I get it. You can’t have all the carnage is a mass market all ages story. Maybe that’s why young adult literature makes all the money but is viewed as empty calories.

    Again, i liked The Hunger Games. I thought it was efficient and entertaining. I was never bored. But it lacked a killer instinct. And in a movie about murder, that can be a deal breaker.

  134. David Poland says:

    Only speaking for myself, Wonka, that’s the core of my problem with it.

    20+ dead kids shouldn’t taste like a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.. or even Frosted Mini-Wheats… or high-quality Granola.

  135. Martin S says:

    Who is posting as Martin S that is not actually me?

    Is that what this blog has come to, Dave?

    Wait – because he put a “.” after S, it’s all good? And he just happen to come across this site?


  136. Martin Schmid says:

    Sorry my name is really Martin S.
    didnt even know there was another poster, can change name in hindsight.
    It’s quite a common name, and I didnt know you had exclusive rights to it.

  137. jesse says:

    I feel like this discussion is pretty much kicked, but if anyone is into reading some more thoughts on the movie, both as a movie and how it adapts the book, I wrote a piece about it here:

  138. Martin S says:

    I posted in the top of this thread. Wouldn’t have been hard to notice, if you know, you actually read through the thread.

    To the chagrin of some, I’ve been posting here for years. There was another Martin before me.

    It’s for your benefit.

  139. Martin Schmid says:

    There are millons of Martins in this world. Too bad.

    If you read my first post, you would see that there is no attempt to impersonate You, since it offers a wholly different opinion.

    I actually did read through the thread, but made no notice of the names!!! of the posters here.

  140. anghus says:

    Which Martin do i shoot? I cant tell them apart!!!

  141. Martin Schmid says:

    shoot me then. I’m german and therefore immortal.

  142. lian92 says:

    I didnt realy like the hunger games movie loved the book though, but i find it funy how people talk about BR movie as if its a masterpiece when it even wasnt a faithful adoptation , for example how much do we know about Kiriama, Tashinorie Oda, Kaori Minami, Misuha Inada etc in BR movie almost nothing it turned a rather thought provoking book in to a gore fest, Hunger games movie is more faithful in evry way. Oh and i also find it annoying that i cant Type Battle royal or Hunger Games with out them being compered . And who are you to complain Takami, his smart enough to deside for himself, and its intresting how the only person who doesnt seem to be bothered is him.

  143. Krillian says:

    There is no Martin; only Zool.

  144. Don R. Lewis says:

    FINALLY just saw HUNGER GAMES and I actually really liked it– more than the book. That being said, I also acknowledge DP’s issues although they’re hardly anything to freak out over. It’s a good, entertaining movie that (as many have already pointed out) suffers from the constraints of being a young adult/tweens movie. I was still entertained by it and it doesn’t strike me as a movie that can muster THAT much vitriol but…whatever.

    I had the same problem with the book in that in order to maintain it’s demographic, it basically fails to commit on anything. It scrapes the surface of media influence, reality TV, building up persona’s to sell yourself, oppression and the movie even went a little bit “Occupy Wall Street,” but none of these things are ever teased out in the book or the movie. I do admire the feminism that feels pure both in the book and the movie. Katniss is a badass.

    The one issue with this review is David not knowing enough about the other tributes and taking issue with that. To me, that’s just nitpicky. I mean, I’m a huge San Francisco Giants fan and I don’t know the backstory of our 5th string outfielder or the guy who just gets out lefties out of the bullpen. Dude hasn’t EARNED me wanting to know more. These aren’t big roles, these are bit parts for bit players. The other tributes in HG are fodder and this is the story of Katniss.

    All issues aside though, I thought this was a very good adaptation of a mediocre book. I heard the series gets better and I believe that….there’s alot of exposition tog et out of the way here and in the book. I also agree that the movie lacks real balls but again, it’s that stupid demographic that needs to be dumbed down in order to maintain the box office. I think gary Ross did a really nice job and the casting was spot-on. I liked the fact that some of the characters were black and it wasn’t like, a big deal. Until twitter made it one.

  145. christian says:

    “Which Martin do i shoot? I cant tell them apart!!!”

    “Shoot them. Shoot them both.”

  146. Martin Schmid says:

    Sorry to dissapoint you, but overall as someone who liked the books i’d say book 2 and 3 are a lot worse.

    The movie isn’t a complete failure for sure…..but its certainly not the smash hit we would expect it to be, judging from most of its reviews/box office success.
    It’s mediocre, though I can agree that it’s hard to judge wether it’s mediocre per se, or suffers from being an adaption of a “weak” book.
    Like I said many times now: The story of Panem and the Hunger games isn’t that fascinating. Seeing it through the eyes of a splendidly written Katniss was what made me like the book.

  147. Don R. Lewis says:

    Speaking of, Martin and everyone else…

    Is it just me or is this whole HUNGER GAMES craze completely generated by the studio? I really don’t recall the books being *that* popular until the movie got announced. Now it’s like Harry Potter but Potter had built up a crazy fan base from the books. The HUNGER GAMES craze feels forced and backwards to me.

    That being said, at an 11:30 am screening here, theater was half full and mostly with younger girls and boys.

  148. Martin Schmid says:

    I honestly don’t know. Apparently the books are very popular in the U.S. at least (something like 20+ million copies sold). The Movie Craze is based on Twilight. While the story is completely different the two guys-one girl thing is in HG as well. Also 4 parts are planned (4x $$$)

  149. Krillian says:

    The Hunger Games books are popular. Half of my extended family had read the first two books before the third one came out.

    Book-wise I’d say the first one was the best. It has the cleanest plot. Movie-wise I see the third one having the most potential for a good movie, as it deals with the outer districts rising up against the government. The second book’s not great and I can’t imagine a movie being very good.

    Since they’re making movies out of trilogies, I’d like to see them do the Mistborn trilogy, though the best way to do that series justice would be anime.

  150. storymark says:

    Working in a High School, I saw a lot of copies of The Hunger Games floating around before the movie was announced. It was what the kids who couldn’t stand Twilight (and had already read Potter 3 or 4 times through) were reading.

  151. hcat says:

    I find it a little sad that the kindle and other tablets will no longer allow me to take a quick survey of what everyone is reading on the train.

  152. JS Partisan says:

    Don, I never caught onto the Hunger Games thing either, until Mockingjay came out last year. This led to everyone and the mother going crazy about it on twitter. Once that happened for an entire weekend, I figured something had to have been going on but didn’t play to my demo.

    Which is the thing with most of these books: they don’t play to guys really. Sure boys and men read them, but they aren’t exactly for men and in terms of how pop culture is driven online especially, that’s why they sort of come out of the blue.

    I just wonder how the geeks will act next year, when Hunger Games goes to comic-con? Will they be as snippy as they were with Twilight, or will the movies being more action driven make those guys act less like dicks and more like human beings?

  153. Don R. Lewis says:

    Yeah, I agree…they’re pretty “chicky.” especially the kind of twee/sweet way Collins writes. I’m not diving into 2 and 3 for a lil bit I don’t think.

  154. JS Partisan says:

    Don, just using the Hunger Games wiki to see where the story goes over the next two books, I suggest reading the next two books. Seriously, shit gets blown wide open it seems, and that alone should be worth it.

  155. SamLowry says:

    Oh my, righties are trying to claim The Hunger Games somehow supports their stance (because the Capitol-dwellers are depraved and the president is eeeevilll?), without realizing the novel itself is actually quite Marxist:

    “Katniss even has an extended conversation with a fellow contestant—Rue, a tiny 12-year-old farm laborer—that pivots largely on the “immiseration thesis”: Marx’s notion that capitalists only permit the proletariat sufficient provisions to be healthy enough to continue working.”

    but as for the film vs the movie

    “Katniss’s struggle to survive can’t involve any broader notions of solidarity, just as her character isn’t permitted any sustained reflection on her standing in the economic hierarchy of Panem, or disparagement of the adult vanities that have put her young life in danger. These calculated elisions are of course standard fare in Hollywood adapatations…Not only is Katniss rendered as a solitary force for unalloyed good; the pernicious evil of Panem is distilled almost entirely into the character of the president…put in a better leader, and the oafish retinue of overdressed grownups who make things tic will all become nicer as well. It’s hard to imagine a subtext more at odds with the bleak, and thoroughgoing, indictment of adult social privilege in Ms. Collins’ novel.”

  156. Krillian says:

    Well, you could argue that Book 1 is like the first chapter of Animal Farm and President Snow is the farmer. But in Book 3 you have your Napoleon figure show up and get some definite anti-communist messages in there.

  157. Martin Schmid says:

    Potential of book 2/3 as movies is actually a lot worse. Book 1 at least has a fresh story.


    Book 2 brings us……guess what ? Another Hunger Games arena battle with Katniss and Peeta.

    Book 3 is totally different. Katniss is incapacipated for the major part of the book, she is drugged up, has mental breakdowns and finally ends up naked, her mind nearly completely gone and her body a total wasteland, not to mention most people left to her (part 3 will kill off almost everyone Katniss loves or cares for) simply leave her, to get a “fancy” job in another district.

    That’s part of the reason I am so dissapointed that movie 1 turned out be so lame.

  158. scooterzz says:

    wtf!?…that’s a pretty strange interpretation of ‘mockingjay’… you might want to re-visit that there description thingy…

  159. Martin Schmid says:

    Tell me what’s wrong my interpretation then. I doubt this is the right place to discuss book 3 though.

  160. Ice222 says:

    No you shouldn’t have to read the book to enjoy the movie, and I had no problem enjoying this one without reading the book first. The problem is that your critiques seem to be based on your own assumptions about what the movie SHOULD be, rather than looking at the movie as it was meant to be seen.

    Your biggest critique is that it is a copy of BR, an draw a lot of comparisons between the two. I agree the premise is the same, and I was apprehensive about seeing the film at first, but Susan Collins did put her own spin on The Hunger Games. It’s no longer just a story about the contestants, but also about the sponsors, audience, and game masters outside of the arena continue to have an influence through out. In fact that is what I liked most about both the movie and book, it actually doing something different, and focusing less on the other contestants and on killing, and more on manipulating elements outside of the game and eluding to what the games mean to the world outside. I don’t agree that stories like this should and MUST be more emotionally invested in the contestants. Personally I find it refreshing that the characters actually try NOT to get emotionally invested. Heck, if I had to go and kill people in an arena I would certainly prefer to keep them as nameless faces!

    What it tells ME when only a handful of the kids that die get named, or when the kids understand the dangers of the game without anyone being blown up at the start, is that it is a different story from BR. They’re not just ‘kids forced to kill kids’, but kids that grew up in oppression, forced to watch this annual event knowing one day it might be them; Kids that learn to try and protect themselves emotionally. The fact that they actually try to control their emotions but still have points when they connect with others and lose their cool (eg. Katniss or Thresh over Rue’s death) actually resonates better with me than typical characters that get overwhelmed with emotion at every turn. Furthermore the GameMaster in the Hunger games isn’t just evil, he himself is being manipulated by higher ups, and when he fails to get the game to turn out with 1 victor he himself ends up essentially executed for not doing his job properly. Nor is the biggest kid the strongest and craziest, as the biggest and arguably the strongest would be Thresh, not the Blond boy. The point is that, beyond whatever the game master throws in the game, beyond the dogs and fire, it’s about the control the Capitol has on everyone and the mere fact that the games exist at all is meant to be completely unfair to begin with.

    Honestly, it’s not the most amazing movie I have ever seen, but I think your review is biased and the movie was well worth watching. I didn’t like the premise, I didn’t like the shaky action scenes (think that was to avoid being too graphic with the violence), but I liked almost everything else: the rest of the story, the casting and characters were all very well done. Yes, I even liked the bizarreness of the side characters, it’s fantastic for contrasting the people of that world: the Capitol vs. the districts. Overall I think it may be one of the best book adaptations I’ve seen of the young adult genre. I read the book after seeing the movie and while the book does go into more detail, I still liked the movie.

  161. brack says:

    I agree with Ice. I read the book after watching the movie, and I felt like everything about the characters were more or less exemplified on film. Besides, how are you supposed to adapt a story told first-person? Are we supposed to sit through a lot of narration? That works for some movies, but probably not one like this, with a lot going on and only so much screen time to devote to the main plot points and character developments.

  162. David Poland says:

    Just for the record, my biggest critique is that death is painless and emotionless in this film, except in the most manipulative and fake-feeling circumstances.

  163. Don R. Lewis says:

    See, brack, I thought they handled that pretty cleverly, even if Tucci and Toby Jones exist solely for expositions sake. Even when Katniss is hallucinating, Tucci delivers exposition!

    Plus, getting to “know” characters who are basically fodder for death is the kind of manipulation I hate. Films that just tee up people so they can be slashed is annoying. I’d rather not know them and move on with the story. Isn’t the development of likable characters who are there only to get dismembered kind of the major gripe about many horror movies, particularly “torture porn?”

    David- I totally agree but as we said to one another on twitter (or, you said) should they just not make the movie if it has to adhere to the 2012 production code for violence in movies? I don’t see what they can do, really. Make it an “R” and go full gore? Only Spielberg gets away with endless, realistic violence in PG-13 movies. JOHN CARTER also used the cut-away from violence move to maintain it’s rating.

  164. storymark says:

    Wait…. so character development is…. bad?

  165. Martin Schmid says:

    The problem is not the lack of character development of the minor characters. The problem is that the main protagonist escapes the slaughter physically and mentally unharmed, which is NOT the case in the novel. Or at least that’s the impression the audience gets.

  166. storymark says:

    Wow, Don. Don’t think Ive ever heard that from anoyone outside of the hardcore torture porn set. Or Michael Bay fans, maybe.

    Character development is the only thing that makes any horror film worth watching, IMO. If there’s no reason to care about the characters, its just masturbatory gore.

  167. hcat says:

    This conversation brings to mind Predators from a few years ago. Not a masterpiece by any standard, but even with the majority of those wandering around in the woods were destined to end up as ground chuck, the time was taken to give them individual personalities. And even though none of them were really rootable heroes each death did serve the narrative.

  168. JS Partisan says:

    I go back to the point Cato himself makes before he dies. “I’m dead. I never knew it before, but I’ve always been dead.” Everyone but Katniss and Peeta were dead people walking and getting to know them, in anyway, is rather Patch Adams in a manipulative sense.

    That aside, what kind of book has the protagonist have an epic freak out after winning the day? That’s just so goofy because Katniss has to overcome her life, in which she starves, her dad died, and her mother checked out. You’re going to state, that character would freak out at the end like some crazy person? A scream of frustration, sure. A freak out? Nah.

  169. Martin Schmid says:

    That’s exactly my point. Katniss doesn’t “win the day” at all. In fact one of Collins’ major recurring themes throughout the trilogy is that war does not have any winners. Ross is probably going to turn this into a Katniss-comes-out-on-top in the end story.

  170. David Poland says:

    Don… I keep saying it. It’s not about gore. It’s about the audience having a stake in the deaths. You can do that in a G. See: Walt Disney.

  171. brack says:

    The movie worked if you cared about Katniss and who and what she cared about. If you don’t care, then the rest of the movie doesn’t matter. But the fact is that the games affect everyone and everything in the movie. That anyone 12 to 18 could play the games reminds people of the power the Capitol has over everything and everyone. I don’t understand how the audience doesn’t have a stake in the deaths. Imagine if it was your child set out for slaughter for everyone to witness.

  172. Talita P says:

    I just saw the movie and I haven’t read the book. Although I thought the movie was good, I left the theater with a distinguished feeling that a lot was left out. I had never heard of the series before, I guess it was not a big thing in my country. The first time I saw the trailer, I was really excited about the whole theme: the gone wrong future with cruel exploitation of many to maintain the frivolous life of few. But even from the trailer, I had the feeling that it was also not so clear. My mom was with me when I first saw it and while I was commenting on it, she was shocked that those were deadly games played by kids collected on a “reaping”. She had not understood it clearly from the trailer.

    I think that the movie brings the same feeling. You know that something horrible is being held, but you’re never really exposed to the reality of it. I’m not sure if better developing the other contestants or showing more violent scenes would change that. I get that Katniss is a very strong girl, who has learnt not to give space to her emotions. But there are a lot of serious questions that could have been better developed and get only mentioned, easily being forgotten by the person that watches. For instance, she says that she won’t ever have kids in the very first part, but I don’t feel like I really saw the horror in those parents eyes. The whole idea that those people have been forced for seven decades to witness their kids being slaughtered is not clearly shown, for me. Other than that, the hunger never really appears. It is mentioned in the first part when Katniss shares a piece of bread with Gale, when she recommends Prim not to ever take extra portions from the peacemakers or when she asks Gale not to let her family starve. But I found it so odd to see her complete control when in presence of the feast that train had. There were absolutely no scene of her eating anything. I get that she is very disciplined and might not want to accept anything from the capitol, but why wouldn’t Peeta be all over the food?
    I guess they tried to show the kids completely comitted to being strong and keeping it all inside so they wouldn’t fall apart. But maybe if they showed a little more of their emotions the cruelty of the entire thing could be better felt by us. Even when Katniss cries after Rue’s death, I didn’t find it very touching. They’re kids. Shouldn’t they breakdown at some point? I liked Cato’s speech before he dies. But I thought that got a bit lost in the midst of everything else. They all just seem like silent lambs and maybe that’s why we have the feeling like the movie doesn’t comit to much.

    I don’t think that there was enough time to develop all the other kids’ backgrounds and I don’t think that would be very relevant. You don’t need to know a lot from a character to feel shocked by its death. And that shock should come even more easily, after all, they are just kids. They didn’t need to show a lot of violence for that either. Just throwing the idea should be enough. But still there’s a very young boy with curly hair killed in the first minutes of the game and you don’t feel the shock of it.

    I felt like the first part of the movie was really good, but as the games start, the lack of expression on their faces made it all sound like a veeeeery distant and never possible story. So you just want people to die quickly and the story to go on. I guess that’s why we feel the movie could have been so much more.

  173. Maddy says:

    I made that poster with my play mobile!

  174. Irene Sobel says:

    You should read Armond White’s mportant and insightful analysis of the entire Batman fiasco.

  175. le ME says:

    so, the fireballs are CGI, huh?
    Tell you something: they’re real. they’re totally and one-hundred percent real.

    (and the “dogs” – they’re totally ugly, but reaaally creepy)

  176. chris salinas says:

    im in love with the kirl that plays katniss and the one to the very left i want to marry them.:)

  177. Cassie says:

    for one, the movie was very close to the book, the fire and the mutant dogs were in there. It was a good movie, but not nearly as good if you didnt read the book. I consider it a supplement to the book. And for the blowing sky high part, all these kids knew from watching the games growing up what would happen if they jumped off too early, they weren’t stupid.

  178. no one says:

    The hunger games books are an amazing series. The movie is good in my opinion, however that’s just it. It’s my OPINION!!! Different people have different opinions. Most people who like the movie will not suddenly decide it’s a bad movie just by reading this review and these comments. Most people who hate the movie will not suddenly decide it’s amazing. That’s my point. You can criticize/praise the movie as much as you want. You can argue with other people as much as you want but all you will be doing is arguing. If you don’t like it it is not your job to convince everyone else it’s bad. Let them make up their own opinions 🙂

  179. Jessica says:

    I love the hunger games it was the best movie ever and the books are all amazing this is the number one movie I have ever saw. I watched the movie first and then read all of the books second!! I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( May the odds be ever in your favor) 🙂

  180. no one says:

    lol Jessica!!! I agree with you one hundred percent!!!

  181. jess says:

    j’ai beaucoup aimé le film et c’est trés jolie.
    c’est mon film préféré et c’est le premier que j’ai aimé

  182. jess says:

    I LOVE YOU THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon