THE HUNGER GAMES (I posted this in the specific thread, but I figured I'd put it in here too.):
My mother read the books a month ago, and I took her to see this, along with two of my aunts who knew nothing about it going in, and I really liked it.
My mother gave my aunts a quick primer in the car on the way there, and both of them said they really liked it, although one said without the quick tutorial from my mother, she very well may have been lost out of the gate and never been able to get into it.
I knew a lot about the books from conversations I'd had with both my mother, and a couple friends (all women), and probably was aided pretty heavily by that.
Strictly from a film standpoint:
I'll begin by saying that I have something of a fetish for "Thah Fuh-You-Chur!" in movies. Particularly post-apocalyptic, and dystopian societies. Weather it be in serious fare, like The Road in recent times, or somewhat silly sci-fi. I have a long standing relationship with Stallone as Demolition Man, for example, that I know in my heart of hearts is rediculous, but I still find that movie incredibly amusing.
I really enjoyed the presentation of the oddball vision of the capitol city, and as with most representations of the such, it's always over the top, but never quite as rediculous as it's intended. Stanley Tucci's giant Oompa Loompa game show host was well done and added just the right amount of levity. I felt Jennifer Lawrence was great. Her volunteering scene at the start was genuinely touching and not something easy to pull off for a young actress in something that could have been really cheesey. I really dig her, and look very forward to her work going forward. A lot of the set work was spectacular. The battle zone was lushly crafted. And the decimated District 12, of which we didn't see a ton, I also felt like was well put together.
My gripes. Firstly, and I seem to have this about a lot of modern action movies, most of the action sequences I didn't like the way they were shot. The fight between Katniss and Chlo was a mess that you could barely make out, and that was nothing compared to the opening sequence in the cornacopia that nearly required dramamine. At some point in the 80s, action sequences adopted this quick edit method that was lifted from the frenetic energy of MTV, and over the past three decades it's gotten way out of hand to the point where if you actually watch this stuff frame by frame, you'd have no idea what the hell is going on. I really wish directors would get away from it. Let your FX team do it's work, and let us see what you're trying to show us. The cornacopia scene in particular is begging for some wide angle, long range, and overhead shots. Instead we get a montage of people swinging weapons at victims we can't see, kids laying on the ground underneath who knows what for who knows why, and a bunch of clanking and groaning sound effects. And I get that they're going for this chaotic sense in the editing room to help express this chaotic feeling on the field, but I really dislike it, and not just in this.
Secondly, it felt in a lot of ways that it was geared toward the book reading audience perhaps too much. I'm pretty good at picking up context clues, plus in this case, I happened to know a bit about it going in. But they never really fully explain who anyone is. The TV producer you sort of figure out about halfway through. Donald Sutherland as the president is another sort of guessing game. Now you should certainly be able to figure this stuff out, and if you can't, then maybe you shouldn't be allowed to drive to the movies for the safety of the rest of the public, but that doesn't change the fact that it's not great narrative storytelling. In fact, if you can't read fast enough to pick up that little post at the start of the flick, you lose the background of the situation too.
So overall I enjoyed it. I'd give it a low 80s score. I have no problem recommending it. I'm borrowing my mothers books and will start reading them this week, and from the sounds of it, will probably finish them as well.
My mother made the same book differences obvservations that D-Rose points out. And the Mockingjay pin was the biggest one for her.
And some discussion in white:
As far as the last one, she says this way they can play it out as more of a love triangle (along the twilight lines (or true blood, or walking dead, or everything else these days)) as the series progresses. In fact one of the other notices she had was that Kat and the kid at home really don't have the relationship that's implied until after she gets home from the games. They clearly like each other, but they sort of imply here that they've already begun a relationship. Playing it that way makes this even more of a love triangle along with making the relationship with Pita feel like it developed naturally and not for show.
Battle Royale - 9.2/10
Enjoyed on many levels, there are few things that didn't make sense to me, but still it was well worth it. Watched to compensate for hunger games, I don't know, but that movie better be crazy good to outmatch for this one.
I definitely agree with what Thorpe said about, the film being aimed more towards the people who have read the book. I hadn't read the book, only a slight rundown on what happens.
I was having to ask my gf something almost every 5 minutes, because they don't explain anything. They sort of expect you to already know everything, which I guess is alright for the book readers, but for people like me, it's very confusing.
The love angle was, in my opinion, shit. They didn't build it up at all, I felt nothing towards Peeta...if anything, I kind of hated him a little bit, just because of how much of a wimp he was.
I was told that in the book, this love angle is much more explored and explained and that katniss really does have feelings for him. Whereas, watching the film, I never, not even once, got the impression that Katniss had any feelings for him (even in the cave). To me, it seemed that she was only doing what she was told and playing up to the cameras. She didn't seem to care about Peeta at all.
I also had a problem with the action sequences, I wanted more gore, but I guess when the whole thing is aimed at teenage girls and middle age mothers, the lack of violence is to be expected. When Thresh, saved Katniss and attacked the other girl (can't remember her name) for killing Rue, I wanted something more than just slamming her against the metal thing, which the camera cuts away from, we just see her falling down after the attack.
It seems like this tries to take the emotional side on more than just the entertainment and brutality of the games. Which is fine, it just didn't too good of a job of doing that either. Maybe the books do, but, like I said, I haven't read them yet.
I guess I had too high expectations for it since the book was so popular and the film achieved such a good opening night...but for me, it just didn't live up to those expectations.
I think I'll like it better the 2nd time, but it was just really, really weird... I wanna read the book too.
Just finished the Wire - 10/10 easy. I would come right out and say it's the best show of all time but I'll reserve judgement until I finish some other series. Only thing I didn't like was what happened with Marlo and Omar, totally anti-climatic.