Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hunger Games Movie

Katniss and Rue, from my brother's art blog.
This is going to be more a stitching together of fragmented thoughts, rather than a formal review.

Here's how the movie starts: SHAKY CAM. So much shaky cam. You bring the cam, they bring the shaky. Shaky, shaky, shaky cam.

Shake it.

Wait, is that a rig shot? Nope! It's SHAKY CAM!

I like the idea, but they let it get a little out of control. I like how District 12 looks like it's straight out of Dorothea Lange Depression era photography, though.

I was not feeling the Gale thing, though. I mean, he was just kind of there, looking a little broody. I guess it's hard to show that he and Katniss were life-long pals without going into a really bad montage. But they had zero chemistry, and Gale wasn't awesome at that whole acting thing.

Although I do like The Hunger Games, I'm just going to come out and say it: these are some stupid names. Katniss, Peeta, Gale. Why did she think those were okay? I actually like all the Roman names, but they're the bad guys.

Once we got into the Games proper, the movie really picked up steam. Is it bad to be entertained by watching people being entertained by watching teenagers kill each other? Probably. But it was still fun.

I've come to the point where I really don't care if a movie is "faithful" to the book, I'm more interested now in if a movie works on its own terms and if it has any dialogue with its source material. For example, Woody Harrelson's Haymitch is not the corpulent slimeball he is in the books, but I thought the rugged, savage take on the character worked.

Also, I really liked Donald Sutherland as President Snow. Great call.

James Newton Howard was lazy with his score. LAZY. It sounded like stock music chosen at random. During a scene where Katniss is searching for Peeta, we hear some bizarre, out of place Spanish guitar riff. And the opening sequences where a woman is vaguely ooing at us did nothing for me.

And typically I'm not crazy about wearily sung songs in movies. The hanging song or whatever it is from the books wasn't working for me, although I really liked it in the books. My feeling is that if you want a female character to sing a heart-wrenching song, you need to do the Patrick Doyle/Kate Winslet combo.

Anyway. It's a good, fun movie. It was better than I expected, and quite entertaining. Actually, my hat goes off to how they put the whole thing together, and especially to how they handled the violence. It needed to be jarring, but they didn't make a meal of it. Bloody and savage, but not gruesome.

Good job, guys.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't figure out if the camera was really that shaky, or if my eyes were just twitching because it was 1:00 in the morning. Thanks for your confirmation. Good thoughts.