Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief: The Hunger Games

This review was bound to happen, right? Everyone is seeing this movie – like… EVERYONE. Even my grandma has been to see it and I can't remember the last time she left her apartment. 

Does everyone know what this book/movie is about yet? Is everyone sick of hearing it compared to Battle Royale yet? Well I'll tell you one big difference – Battle Royale was f*cking phenomenal and Hunger Games *literally* put me to sleep (well almost). I went into this movie really wanting to enjoy it. I love the premise of kids being pit against each other and the girl bringing down the system. I had heard that Katniss is a hardass mofo who doesn't rely on anyone – how awesome?! But I was overall let down…

Lets start with the things I enjoyed about the film…

The dialogue

Most of what was said seemed to have purpose. I liked the dialogue – there was unfortunately too much of it and not enough bow&arrow pew pew.

Some of the costumes

The characters, for the most part, looked really awesome. Effie especially was always a joy to look at, and she was casted so well. (I'm glad to see Elizabeth Banks finally being cast in a movie that isn't a chick-romance movie, she's so talented. I guess she's in funny movies too.. my point is she should be put into fun roles like this more often.) The fashion was really neat for all the sponsors, too. 

It was PG'd

I like that it was rated PG so younger kids could see it. I think this storyline is a really fun one, and while it is a little bit harsh for kids to see kids killing one another it was pretty tame. There should be a lot of different PG options for parents to take their kids to that aren't all puppies, flowers and kittens.

Aaand now onto things that I did not enjoy…

Katniss

I had heard really great things about this character. I heard that she is a great role model for young woman and that the love triangle she's in is nothing like Twilight. While it's not quite as horrific as Twilight (ie: Katniss's entire existence doesn't depend on men) it's still pretty pathetic. She gains popularity because of the love story with this guy? I think it would have been so much cooler if she could have been awkward and not social but still been everyone's favorite because she is so kickass. And the way it was portrayed in the film it seemed like by the middle she's actually pretty into him, not being forced to be with him. It's nice that she takes care of him – but still, it's hard to deny that the majority of her character isn't based around that relationship. Can't we have a single female for once?

Also – she's supposed to be super awesome and hardcore, right? Then why do other people have to keep saving her life??? She hardly deserved to win. Rue, the other black guy, Peeta…etc – they all save her life. She nearly dies at least 3 times! How is that a self reliant and strong female lead? She can hardly even muster up 10 words when people ask her questions. And her post-victory shit is ALL about her being in love. Like…come on.

Oh and does she have anymore than like two expressions?! Geez louise.

The visuals

I have one question for the director: WHY WAS THE CAMERA MOVING SO MUCH!? Seriously it gave me a headache. Two people having a chat? SHAKY CAMERA. High speed chase? SHAKY CAMERA. Katniss sitting in a tree? SHAKY CAMERA. Hold still on the next one, folks. 

But my biggest disappointment with the visuals was the Capitol, the stadium and all that other fun futuristic stuff. This was an opportunity to be so fantastical. The very idea of The Hunger Games is ridiculous, so why not make the visuals more fantastical? Why not have more fun with it all? I was really let down by how drab everything was.

WTF is going on?

Some of the parts of the movie made absolutely no sense if you hadn't read the book. Like the riot after Rue died – why doesn't this happen all the time? Why didn't this extremely authoritarian government have the ability to squash that riot the second it looked like it was about to break out? Why was Katniss so affected by Rue's death? Their relationship in the movie was not well developed. In fact – all the relationships in the movie were really shallow. Movies need to be able to stand on their own two feet. I hate it when I see  a movie like this and I say "I don't understand this part at all." and people reply "oh, you have to read the book to get it." Well – sorry my friends, but I shouldn't have to read the book to understand the movie.

Also – why don't sponsors send more stuff in for people they want to win??? If I was a sponsor I'd be giving my fav all kinds of unfair advantages!

A glimpse of our own future?

This review of the story made me lol. Do people seriously think that this is what our future is going to look like? Because I don't. I'm not suggesting that authoritarianism doesn't happen – but it won't happen like this for us. The explanation of why they have the games is so ludicrous and nonsensical that it's difficult to take it seriously (which is why I think it needed to be more fantastical – if you're already going to be ridiculous, then why not just go with it? Own your ridiculousness). 

What the book had that the movie didn't

VIOLENCE and GORE. Ha. I know – it was rated PG, but I still think some of the cool elements in the book were lost (ie: monster dogs at the end being made from the bones of the dead kids). And the deaths were so tame and not awesome. This is why The Hunger Games can never be compared to Battle Royale. BR is freaking amazing with Japanese kids opening fire on each other and being blown up at the neck. BR is awesome. HG is boring.

And the book also has other things I already mentioned, better relationship development, better visualization, better explanation of things… etc. 

I mean overall it wasn't entirely unenjoyable. It did make me sleepy and I kept waiting for it to get intensely awesome, but it just never happened. I went in with a super positive attitude, ready to love this movie… so I'm not sure if it's because of all the hype that I was let down or if it was genuinely just a mediocre movie.

I'll give it 3 out of 5… somethings. Wow… nothing stood out in this movie as particularly funny, which is usually what I based my rating scale on. I guess the most logical thing to do is to use mocking birds – but that just seems so boring. WHY WAS THERE NOTHING FUNNY!?!?!?!?!

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katie

katie

Katie is a graduate student from Canada studying the environment and systems theory. She also loves dinosaurs and baking cupcakes. Follow her on twitter @katiekish

4 Comments

  1. April 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm —

    I couldn't make sense of the end of Battle Royale either.  Why didn't the collars blow up at the end?
     

  2. April 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm —

    the shaky camera was horrible for the first part of the movie, it took ten minutes until I could see anything on screen, aside from that I thought it was quite good, although I never read the book ^^

  3. April 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm —

    I think you're missing the point with the on-screen romance between Katniss and Peeta.  Peeta is in love with Katniss.  Katniss is not in love with Peeta.  She owes him a debt (because of the bread) and recognizes him as a decent person that she doesn't want to die, but she is not in love with him.  Hence exchanges like the kiss in the cave followed by Haymitch's soup and the note "You call that a kiss?" and Haymitch's careful coaching of her just before the interview that she must appear to be very much in love with him.  The reason why the ending interview was so sappy and lovestruck was because Katniss was acting.  Is it so surprising that the audience would find this compelling?  There's a reason why the marketing for this film played up the Peeta/Gale thing: audiences like a romance.  
    And while yes, there are times when Katniss is vulnerable, lets remember that of her two near death experiences, she is saved by both a girl (Rue) and a boy (Thresh).  While Katniss may be vulnerable, she's not nearly as helpless or in need of help as Peeta is.  I don't think it's terrible to allow her some measure of vulnerability: male or female, she's still just a teenager.

    • June 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm —

      I gotta agree; the on-screen romance thing is very deliberate. Ideally, people would love Katniss for her spunkiness, but that would be unlikely- especially considering the attitudes of the people in Panem. They want a romance and an interesting Games, and Katniss knows it. It’s almost like she’s taking things into her own hands; this *is* her being clever because she knows what it will gain her.

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