The Hunger Games (4/6/12)

Hunger GamesMovie Seventy Six

Chances are you have already heard/read/seen an obscene amount of things about The Hunger Games at this point, so my review will likely not sway you one way or the other. However, for a film based on a young adult book, it makes for quite an effective showing.

I read entire Hunger Games trilogy after they announced this first film but casting wasn’t announced until I was midway through the second book. This allowed me to form an undisturbed blueprint of the world of Panem and the characters. The film scores highly based on the casting. Jennifer Lawrence, while not exactly how I imagined Katniss is simply divine. The supporting cast all does a good job as well, with my personal favorite being Stanley Tucci.

If I had one gripe about The Hunger Games, and it’s a big gripe, it’s the cinematography. Tom Stern has worked with Clint Eastwood on pretty much all of his movies since Blood Work but for some reason on this film, he decided to employ a shakycam footage that is more distracting than most found-footage movies. While I could defend such a decision for the second half of the film during the actual Hunger Games, but it is the entire damn thing. Constantly. There were some action sequences where the use of shakycam and fast cuts completely disorients.

The cinematography was so annoying I came out of the theater practically hating The Hunger Games, but after a few days to mull it over, the rest of the film supersedes this. The second book, Catching Fire, was my personal favorite of the three, so I’m quite looking forward to more of the series. In a world where there will be no more Harry Potter films (at least until they decide to reboot them) The Hunger Games fills a place that few films can.

I give it 4 ridiculous Peeta camouflaged as a rocks out of 5.

PS – Seriously, when Peeta camouflages himself as a rock it’s the most hilariously out of place thing I’ve seen in quite some time.


Rotten Tomatoes


23 responses to “The Hunger Games (4/6/12)

  1. Shaky cam – when done right it’s great.

    It can also show signs of a filmmaker’s lack of grasping the way a scene or scenes need to be shot.

    If they are having trouble conveying what they mean through the camera lense then they shaky cam it so we get the point driven into our head like a rusty nail.

    • Yes, I fear that is the most likely the case here. The director apparently said in an interview it was meant to convey the chaotic nature of the Hunger Games and the uncertainty of something or other. I think it was just an excuse. But, as I said, it DOES work for the 1/2 half of the film…

  2. 100% agreement with you on the shaky cam! It’s a real shame, because the cinematography in several other scenes (particularly the Reaping and Katniss’ tracker jacker dream sequence) is very good.

    • Ehhhh, it’s pretty faithful so I guess it would depend on why you didn’t like the book. The story and characters are largely untouched from the book but I thought the pacing was actually a little bit better.

  3. I LOVED the book series and particularly books 1 and 2 (a lot of people said they didn’t like the 2nd and 3rd books, but I did like the 2nd very much). I have yet to see the movie though – it’s 2 1/2 hours long right? So I think I’ll wait for the DVD but am eager to see it although first the previews seemed weird and kind of cheesy…I heard the director won’t be back for the second one though. (This seems to be fairly common though, I know there were different directors for the Harry Potter series as well and Twilight I think).

  4. To be perfectly honest, I was actually a fan of the cinematography. Maybe I have built some strange immunity to the shaky cam, but I do think it adds to the rawness of the post apocalyptic world they live in. I wish I could phrase this in a way that isn’t so on the nose, but I can’t help but feel like the rising discontent of Panem is well represented through a shaky and at times oddly placed lens. One thing I remember having a great appreciation for was the sharp close ups of Effie and the beautiful contrast between her Barbie pink dress suit against the dismal backdrop that is District 12.

    I was also rather pleased with Lenny Kravitz portrayal of Cinna. Eager to see the second film.

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