March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)
(aka Not Another Twilight)
Release Date: In Theaters Now.
Written by: Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross
Directed by: Gary Ross (Steven Soderbergh directed the riot sequence)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley and Donald Sutherland.

$155 million in its first weekend. That's third all time behind The Dark Knight and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Not bad for a movie that many thought was going to be the starting point for another Twilight-esque franchise.

I thought that at first. I was wrong.

THG is the story of a Post-Apocalyptic Society and its Government's mistreatment of its poorest citizens. Each year, the Government of Panem selects 2 kids between the ages of 12-18 from its 12 Districts, puts them in an arena, and makes them kill each other until only one remains alive? Why? Because they want to keep them in line, and remind the citizens that they can crush them at any time. In other words, do as we say or die.

Katniss Everdeen is a feisty poor girl who can kill with a bow like nobodies business. She volunteers for the games to take the place of her little sister,  and is forced to fight for her life aside some boy who gave her some burnt-assed bread one time when they were little.

You already know the plot, I'm sure, so that's all we've got on this subject.

A picture from the leather bondage sex scene. It was very artistic.
For being a book adaptation, and one that was aimed primarily at young adults, THG works well on nearly every level. It's emotional, tense, disturbing, and triumphant. Gary Ross knew what he was doing when he decided to tackle this subject matter, and it shows. Aside from some annoying shaky-cam moments, this is a really well made film.

Jennifer Lawrence owned the screen as Katniss. She's always been a great actress, but now the world knows, and she's aboutt be thrust into the A-List Stratosphere. Same could be said for Josh Hutcherson; his subdued and romantically tortured Peeta beamed with charisma and no doubt dampened the panties of Teen Girls everywhere. He's probably going to have some stalkers now.

We wish that some of the supporting characters could have had more to do. This is Katniss's story, and rightly so, but Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz were so good in their roles, that they just begged for more screen time. Then again, everyone nailed their parts. Donald Sutherland was the perfect evil President Snow, Stanley Tucci was joyously good as Ceasar Flickerman, and Wes Bentley was great as Seneca Crane. Top to bottom, the cast was amazing, and no one felt out of place in the slightest.

Even the lesser-known actors who played the tributes (contestants) were good. Most of them were "kids" and had relatively smaller roles to play, but they were all great.

The best drunk ever (except for maybe Arthur.)
The worst thing about THG are all of the misconceptions people had about the movie before it was even released; It's a rip off of Battle Royale; It's a rip off of The Running Man; It's another Twilight, complete with a silly love triangle...

No, no, and most definitely not.

First and foremost, THG is not another Twilight. There is no shallow, moronic, paper-thin girl character to be found here, obsessing over two boys and which one is going to take her to prom. There's an undercurrent of romance and unrequited love perhaps, but it is not the point of the story in any way.

There's no "Team Peeta!" and no "Team Gale!"  If that's what you want, just go watch Twilight another twenty times and wallow in your sad perception of what romance is.

THG is also not a rip off of Battle Royale, The Running Man, or anything else that people feel is too similar in plot. There are elements that are the same, absolutely, but it's its own story. At their core, any movie, or book for that matter, made/written these days has been done before, and you just cant escape that fact. So yes, kids being gathered by the Government and thrown together to fight to the death was done in Battle Royale. People watching The Hunger Games on TV and treating the participants like celebrities is akin to The Running Man in a way.

Remember though that most fantasy is familiar with Lord of The Rings, Most gangster dramas are The Godfather, most Bourne-like spy thrillers are pretty much James Bond, and every slasher since 1978 is Halloween. We could go on, but the point is clear; every archetype has its starting point. To be fair, the idea for THG and its themes began with the Greek Myth of Theseus, Reality TV, and the U.S. war in Iraq. Ideas come from everywhere, and sometimes, multiple places at once. If there's anything that isn't original, it's the audiences that eat them up.

Despite the premise of the movie, the blood and violence were kept to a minimum in The Hunger Games, because, kids.

It is so not that kind of movie. It's a shame too, because Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lawrence are both Hotties, and seeing them naked would have served the story just fine: "Katniss, scared and alone, clings to Effie... in the bathtub... where they are naked. Together, they discover a new sort of Hunger Games..."

Works for us.

Probably Katniss singing to Rue. If not that, any scene involving Woody Harrelson, because he's just that awesome.

We're also really partial to this scene, but it's really more of a moment than a scene, so we digress.
If you give a starving girl some bread, she will kill for you. Also, Catching Fire, the sequel that will hit theaters in November of 2013, will be a ridiculously monstrous mega-hit.

The Hunger Games is a winner all around, and not just for the kiddies; it may look like standard Teen fare, but it's far from that. Courage, sacrifice, making a stand, rebellion, even the love of ones family; you could safely say that The Hunger Games is about all of those things and more. It's not perfect, and it misses the mark by skipping out on few elements that didn't make it from book to screen, but overall it's a hell of a movie that deserves much of the hype surrounding it.


The hotness of Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks makes sure that the odds are ever in our favor... the dirty, dirty odds. On a side note, how can you not love a girl who refers to her own character as Katpiss Neverclean? Jennifer Lawrence did just that. True story.


  1. Sounds good. I was gonna go watch this but went in to watch The Raid: Redemption instead. You gotta check that one out if you get a chance... one hell of an action flick.

  2. The Raid is one of THE movies that we have been dying to see for a while now.

    Until it comes to Michigan though, we are out of luck.

    We are officially jealous of you!

  3. After reading all 3 books, I thought the actual theme of the whole thing resembled 1984 more than anything else. Also, the first two books, you're right, not too gory, the 3rd book though...maaan. That one will be pretty hard to make into a PG13 movie unless they want to sugar coat the deaths, and I for one definitely don't want them to do that.

  4. I hate to say it, but this is the first review from THC that I've completely disagreed with.
    The entire film was cliche and underwhelming. They had so many avenues busting with potential, ready to be explored, but they blew it all off for the same old story.
    I've never been that fond of Gary Ross, but this solidified my contempt for his as a director. He ruined every action scene with unfocused shots and shaking the camera, like they had MJ Fox running it.
    I love THC, but this review was so far from accurate. I guess everybody has a different opinion in some degree.

  5. N. Worhrl, I can totally see how some people wont like this movie.
    I personally read the books before the movie came out, so for me it was more of seeing the visualization of what I'd already experienced.

    The shaky cam sucked, and the action scenes needed more blood for sure.

    As far as Gary Ross goes, he's only done 2 other movies and I have only seen one of them, Seabiscuit. That was a great movie, if you can stand horse movies I guess.

    In THG, the avenues that seem so ripe for explanation do get explored, in the next two movies.
    On its own, THG is a movie about a girl who offers her life to save her sisters, and while doing so, creates a spark of rebellion.

    Had we not read the books first, it would most likely have been a different experience for us altogether.

    The main thing I wanted to get across int he review, whether the film was good or not, is that THG is not some Tween romance tripe that is geared towards girls.

    So we can agreee to disagree on this one, nor harm done. right? :)~

  6. M'hael, I'm not trying to badmouth you or anything, but I think it's probably best to agree to disagree.
    With that said, I would agree to some extent that it is a fresh take on tween-romance movie plague, but maybe I'm just some cynical bastard, but my twilight loving girlfriend thought it was as bad as Suckerpunch. I wouldn't stoop so low as to say it was in that tier of movie, but I guess it just didn't do it for me.

    Oh well! This is a great blog by the way; literally the only one I have bookmarked.

  7. No worries, N. Worhl, you're allowed to think the review was way off. We're cynical bastards here too, so you're in good company :)