Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games

Sometimes, books should just stay books...

The Hunger Games was my #3 on the list of must-see movies in 2012 (see here), so yeah, my expectations were quite high for this one.
The movie is based on the bestselling trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I myself have not read the books, but I heard a lot of positive feedback about how awesome they are. So to me, this was an indication that the story of the movie will be quite awesome as well. The story takes us into a future, where the known world is divided into twelve districts, which are ruled by the capitol in an autocratic manner. Because of a rebellion 75 years ago, the districts are (still) being punished in quite a brutal way. Each district has to offer one boy and one girl to play in The Hunger Games, a violent survival game where the players must fight to the death against each other, with only one winner (Battle Royale anyone?). On top of that, the world can follow the players fight, live on television.
Katniss, a girl from district 12, heroicly volunteers for the games, taking the place of her younger sister. Together with her male counterpart, Peeta, they are prepped for the games by several mentors (which takes a looong time). Katniss, with her rough character, soon proves to be the favorite of the public.
The rest of the story is quite predictable and not very surprising: A romance develops between Katniss and Peeta, and eventually they are the last players alive. After they threaten to commit suicide, they are both exclaimed victors.

As I mentioned before, I very much liked the story and the idea behind it, but it's developed very poorly in the movie. Several reasons:
Even though the main storyline is quite obvious and appealing, there are a lot of "side stories" that don't really have a lot to do with the main story, and just aren't thought out enough. They make the movie confusing and sometimes even illogical. On top of that, they tend to take a lot of time, time that ought to be spent on elaborating the main storyline. It feels like the makers tried to fit every little detail of the book into the movie, at the expense of the movie itself.
Besides that, the story seemed to enroll "like it ought to". There weren't many surprises or unexpected turns that would have made it all far more interesting. I honestly thought for a moment a new rebellion was at hand, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. Even the fierce Katniss herself played by the rules. This made the movie somewhat dull.
The acting was another letdown. Jennifer Lawrence didn't suck, but that could just be the contrast effect of everyone else sucking. Peeta, their nemesis, their escort Effie Trinket, their mentor,... the latter worse than the former. The only exception was the television host Caesar Flickerman, played by Stanley Tucci. He convincingly played his role in an eccentric fashion.

To conclude: this is a very nice and appealing story, brought to you in a poor manner. In my opinion, the book ought to have stayed a book.

IMDb: The Hunger Games

1 comment:

  1. Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review.