Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hungry for a new post!

Hello everyone!

I'm back!  Yes, I've been gone awhile.  Sorry about that.  I apologize for the neglect.  I did actually see three movies and was too lazy to post right away.  So, here we go.  On April 6, 2012, I had the pleasure of viewing The Hunger Games with three lovely ladies to celebrate their birthdays.  As you may know, I take my nieces out to celebrate.  It's so much more fun to have an outing than simply hand over some store bought item.  We'd rather make a memory.  I wish I had had this opportunity to spend time with my older relatives having one-on-one times now that I think back.  But life was different "in the old days".  It's a new century, we get to do things our way.  Yay!  Since the day we chose happened to be my sister-in-law's birthday, we included her!  A trifecta!  We went to see The Hunger Games as we had all read the first book.

Let me start with the cast and crew:
Suzanne Collins:  Author of the book
Gary Ross:  Director of movie
Jennifer Lawrence:  Katniss Everdeen
Elizabeth Banks: Effie Trinket
Woody Harrelson: Haymitch Abernathy
Stanley Tucci: Caesar Flickerman
Donald Sutherland: President Snow
Josh Hutcherson: Peeta Mallark
Liam Hemsworth:  Gale Hawthorne
Lenny Kravitz:  Cinna
Wes Bentley:  Seneca Crane
Willow Shields:  Primrose Everdeen
Amandla Stenberg:  Rue
Music:  T Bone Burnett and James Newton Howard
Costume:  Judianna Makorsky

Fans of the book are Fans.  And, I guess, I am one of them.  I enjoyed reading the series and found the story well done with a good message for the young adult market.  The theme is political and involves making choices.  Morality is certainly a big factor here.  Darker than the Harry Potter series.  I didn't read the Twilight series as other nieces (we're a large family) had said not to bother.  The movie stayed true to the book as much as possible.  Small changes made to move the story along didn't affect the overall theme but cut the running time to 2 1/2 hours.  I imagine it was a different experience for those who hadn't read the book.  It comes down to having the background knowledge and therefore able to fill in the blanks and make connections.  It's a great film for the fans of the book.  Oh, damned with faint praise.

Here's my issue:  the movie should be able to stand on its own.   I realized that I was able to enjoy the movie because I had read the book, knew the story and was subconsciously filling in the blanks with "prior knowledge".  For fans of the book, the movie did a great job.  But for everyone else, not so much.  I'm not sure how "not so much".  One friend of mine who saw the movie without reading the book wasn't enthused.  She saw the movie with someone who had read the book and liked the movie a lot more.  The movie failed to deliver to the non-readers.  Not a good thing.  This loses the audience for movies two and three.

Enough about the movie.... let's get down to performances.  Or at least the performances I enjoyed.  First, Jennifer Lawrence.  Fabulous.  I knew she would be.  Her performance in Winter's Bone made her a natural to play Katniss Everdeen.  Katniss is the same character as Ree, just a different story.  Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. - well of course.  Perfect.  Haymitch is a has-been alcoholic.  Woody Harrelson can pull off this role with one hand tied behind his back.  Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.  Why does this man turn in performance after performance and not have an Oscar?  The  movie was well-cast.  Elizabeth Banks was fun as Effie Trinket though not quite as annoying as I'd expected her to be.  Lenny Kravitz was a good choice as Cinna, the stylist.

T Bone Burnett always delivers on music.  And he does here.  Costumes were designed by Judianna Makorsky.  She had a lot of work to do and she met the requirements.  I see an Oscar nomination and I think perhaps an award.  I know it is early but I think there's a winner here.  I was somewhat apprehensive about the stadium costumes but these lived up to the descriptions in the book and maybe even topped them.  Very impressive.

Overall, I give the movie a B, mostly for effort.  It was fan-pleasing.  The work that went into the movie was excellent but the movie itself doesn't stand alone.  That said, I look forward to the next one.  My recommendation for those who haven't read the books and are interested, please do read the books.  It will make the movies that much better.  For those who don't care, don't bother.  But it is worth the time.

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