With a wave of teenage fans bigger than the Twilight series and a plot centered around government funded child arena death-battles, this movie had everything going for it. So how did it end up being a complete shamble? Read on to find out!
The plot was simple enough: The capitol rules the twelve underlying districts that struggle for survival, and once every year the capitol hosts a death tournament staring one boy and one girl from each district. Twenty four children go in, one comes out. Having read the books, this was the foundation for my initial complaint with the movie. Although it manages to present the basics of the plot and stay somewhat true to the book, it lacks a lot of detail and manages to cut certain events that were fundamental to me becoming enchanted with the story. As far as the story is presented, it’s done fairly well. My major gripe with the presentation is that whenever we see the CGI capitol, it looks almost cartoony and extremely poor in terms of a realistic feel (but that’s probably because of the low budget of $80 million). On the bright side, Seneca Crane’s beard is epic.
The movie, as far as actual movie criteria goes, was disappointingly awful. With a pace that goes from boring you to tears to suddenly moving through the only cool sections in a blink of the eye, you’ll constantly be scratching your head trying to figure out what the hell the director was thinking. Seriously, they spend about five minutes having Katniss talk to Prim, but later on the fight scenes last just about twenty seconds a piece? That’s disgraceful! And while we’re on the topic of bad movie criteria, the camera. The camera gave me motion sickness and felt like it was being held by Michael J Fox. It would be shaking for anything that wasn’t CGI and was bouncing harder than Katniss and Peeta in the cave scene.
Lastly, what is a movie without its acting. Jennifer Lawrence is an okay Katniss, but nothing memorable. In fact, none of the good guys are even slightly memorable. The best actors in the entire movie are the two bad guys who get collectively about ten minutes of screen time! So hats off to you, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley). They were the only two with style, with something that made them unique from their roles.
Overall, the Hunger Games as a package was a failure and earns my epic fail seal of disapproval (only once used before in my review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3). You might have noticed I didn’t even mention the soundtrack, and that’s because there’s only about two songs throughout the entire movie and neither are even distinguishable from background music. So between poor acting, a weak portrayal of the story and a wickedly bad camera (yes, it’s THAT bad) I declare the Hunger Games as being an official waste of ten dollars.
Hopefully the odds are ever in their favor for the next film, hopefully with a bigger budget (or some more nightlock berries).