Saw the Hunger Games last night. I haven't read the book. So everything I'm writing is about the movie, not the book. I don't know what happens in the other 2 books and I don't care. I am a moviegoer and I paid to see a movie.
Even though it wasn't exactly my choice to see The Hunger Games, I actually expected it to be great. All of the reviews I read were positive, people were saying nice things, and usually when there is that much good sentiment, a movie is at least above average.
Not in this case.
There are so many problems with this movie that I can't believe they are being ignored. Here's the first one:
This movie has the worst shaky camera that I've ever seen. Now maybe there's a chance that I'm getting old, and the kids love the shaky camera, but I've been a fan of it in the past. In fact, I've never had a problem with it. But this seemed like just bad cinematography. This was confusing-shaky, not active-shaky, and there is a big difference. There's a reason that contraption is called a steady cam, it's because it allows you to keep the camera steady.
Perhaps this was an attempt to be young and hip by an old director, but the attempt failed. It was distracting and took away from the action, instead of enhancing it.
Second major, major, issue with this movie: the flashback scenes between Katniss and Peeta. They made no fucking sense whatsoever. I'm sure if you read the book you totally understood, but for the rest of us, I had no idea what they were about. Here's the flashback:
Katniss lies against a tree, looking sad. Peeta comes out of his bakery (a bakery with left over bread in a place where there is no food?), his mom yells at him, and then he dumps a bunch of bread in front of some animals (animals where there is no food?). Then he sees Katniss looking at him, and he gets a guilty look on his face.
What the hell?!
Supposedly, this was Katniss being hungry, and Peeta GIVING her food. Sorry, but you can't see hunger from a chubby faced girl leaning against a tree, and you can't see giving food to her by dumping it on the ground where a bunch of animals come get it.
Third issue: you know how Katniss is really good at hunting (her rating goes to 11!), well, she never actually hunts anyone or kills anyone. She gets her ass saved multiple times by other people. She has chances to shoot arrows at the bad guys and doesn't (until the end).
Fourth issue. This movie has the worst love triangle that I have ever seen. The Twilight movies are pure garbage, but at least they get the love triangle right. In this movie, one of the sides of the triangle isn't even in the damn movie!
Watching it, I thought for sure the good looking, nonexistent part of the triangle (as opposed to the midget part of the triangle who is completely unlikeable) would run into that forest and enter himself into the games and start kicking ass, then wreak havoc on the developing love between Katniss and Peeta.
But no, we just see him once looking off into the distance for 2 seconds, doing nothing. Passionate stuff.
Fifth Issue. What kind of poor excuse for a TV producer is producing these Hunger Games?
The whole time I was thinking, this movie is ignoring everything we know about reality TV. Maybe if it came out before we'd all seen Survivor, it would be okay. But no, we've seen Survivor and a million other shows that are basically a less harsh version of this, and this is not how things go.
The producers of the Hunger Games are committing the biggest sin of all: they're making bad TV!
The closest Katniss comes to dying is when the producers shoot fireballs at her when she gets too close to the edge of the game. Could you imagine that? Your most compelling character doesn't die at the hands of a competitor, but because of the producer's intervention? That's not what you do and we all know it.
Why do you think the Bachelor producer's didn't tell Ben about Courtney? Because she's a great character and they wanted her to stick around as long as possible. Katniss was Courtney, and you want to see her get caught and killed by the other people, not the fucking fourth wall of TV. Jesus!
There are a million other fun ideas that you could do to make this an awesome TV show, but I'm not going to even get into them. But please rent the movie that this movie (poorly) ripped off, The Running Man, if you want to see a few.
And don't even get me started about the idiotic voice of God that randomly changes the rules of the game midway through and at the end. Who are these amateurs? These games have been going on for 74 years and they're this bad at it? They're just making shit up as they go along? Ridiculous.
SIXTH issue. Before the kids are forced into the slaughter that is The Hunger Games, they are paraded around the city. They all go on a talk show in front of a large crowd and get asked questions.
In this movie, the kids all answer the questions with smiles on their faces, playing to the audience, and having a great time. And then it's the main character, Katniss's turn on the show. So what does she do?
She plays to the audience and has a great time. She even twirls around like a God Damn trained monkey for them.
Huh? That's not what a hero does. A hero tells the world that this system is fucked up and it's not cool. A hero doesn't accept the awful world as it is. A hero shakes her fist and demands justice!
Just look at The Running Man. There is an almost identical scene in it. Arnold is brought out on the show by the flamboyant host in front of a cheering crowd. He's about to be sent into what is basically The Hunger Games.
Arnold doesn't smile for the camera. He doesn't chat up the host. No, instead he says "I'm going to come back here and fucking kill you. I'll be back!"
Yes! That's awesome. That's what a bad ass does. That's who you want to root for.
I've seen some reviews where they brought up a few of these issues, but then the reviewer goes "but overall it's really great!".
I'm sorry, but that is way too much stuff to ignore. A movie isn't great with all of these flaws. It actually sucks.
But what are you gonna do? If there's one thing kids love, it's books. Stupid, make you dumber, books.