Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Games: Not So Much A Winner

The Hunger Games: Not
so much a winner
Like half the known world, I was excited for The Hunger Games to come out this past weekend. I knew it was going to be popular, so I went ahead and hedged my bets and got Chef and I sinner showing tickets. It was still pretty full for 10:15 on a Sunday morning. We went to ArcLight Hollywood and sat in the Dome, which apparently didn't open until 10 a.m. so there were a lot of people in the cold, rain waiting for the damn doors to open. In defense of the theater, it's not cold and rainy enough in LA to think ahead on that one, but I digress.

I may be the only person in the world that didn't like The Hunger Games. Let me rephrase that: Chef and I may be the only people in the world that didn't like The Hunger Games. Look, I realize that movies based on books rarely live up the books, but I also curb my expectation to match that reality. It'll never be as good in my head as on the screen. And I'm okay with that. But this wasn't just that.

Also, I like taking Chef to movies based off books because chances are good that I've read the books and he hasn't. So, there's a fresh perspective from someone else on why things did or didn't work out in the movie when they are clearly explained in the book. Here are some of my top highlights of things that aren't placed in any sort of context in The Hunger Games (movie):

  • Why Peeta was partnered with the careers in the beginning
  • Why Katniss plays up the romance with Peeta during the Games (it was there, but not explained enough where Chef knew why)
  • The names, stories or any kind of way to identify the other tributes (other than Rue). The name "foxface is literally uttered one time. Cato gets like 3-4 mentions. We could've gotten this with a creatively written montage of their pre-game interviews, but we didn't.
  • Why we should care about Rue. I cried in the theater but only because I knew the book version when Katniss was thinking of Prim as Rue. 
  • Any of the other stylists, and some significant time with Cinna.
  • Any kind of fear of Snow. 
  • What the hell each of the districts produces
  • Why the Capitol is so rich (this gets brushed over).
There's more, but honestly it just makes me sad. I realize there's a challenge when the book is written in first person and half the movie takes place in a world where you can't really say your inner monologue aloud because the world is listening, but come on. The script just didn't work for me. They could've cut at least one uttering of "May the odds be ever in your favor" with some actual dialogue that moved the story forward. It could've been done. It just wasn't.

It doesn't make me exceptionally hopefully for the next two movies. Chef said "Was the first the worst of the books?"  No, it was the best. "Oh, I was hoping maybe they had better source material for the next ones."

Yup, that about explains it. 

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