TheRaider.net
 

Go Back   The Raven > Off Topic > Films
User Name
Password

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #1
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
The Hunger Games

Despite early reports that he’d be back to direct Catching Fire, Gary Ross is out – purportedly to go work on some independent project. Shades of Katie Holmes (opting out of Dark Knight to be in some play) any one? Ross was the wrong man for the job, and I single him out as being responsible for much of the film’s flaws. True, I don’t know squat about the story behind the production but watch the film and try to tell me that it looks like a film that cost $100 million. And keep in mind, it was shot with mostly lower price talent and all domestically in North Carolina.

I don’t blame Ross – I blame whoever (producer or studio suit) picked a director best known for Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. And while there may have been elements that were out of Ross’s control (I’ve read a couple of references about a rushed production), there’s still plenty that falls at the director’s feet:

• Casting. Jennifer Lawrence – safe no brainer (Winter’s Bone will forever be an unofficial Hunger Games prequel). Lenny Kravitz – no brainer (just watch Entourage) demographic expanding selection. Josh Hutcheson/Liam Hemsworth – each solid but each unimaginative. Woody Harrelson – safe no brainer (given his recent cool factor from Zombieland and Friends with Benefits). Stanley Tucci – safe no brainer (the guy has been killing it since Julie and Julia). O.K., so what’s the issue? Apart from the number of safe no brainer decisions, what kills me is that this film – set in the future – has the ‘diversity’ casting of a mid ‘80’s action film like Robocop. Show me the Asians/Indians/Hispanics in this film (I counted maybe one Latin and one Asian among the tributes). Ross supposedly reached out personally to Sutherland to have him play the major villain, President Snow. This is another safe choice (Sutherland’s villain credentials are well established) and one I bet a lot of critics even liked – but why not someone like Ken Watanabe (who I bet would’ve been cheaper)? And Wes Bentley with the expanded Seneca Wallace role? Come on.

• Adaptation/Running Time. The story’s simple, direct action made it more screen-ready than any thing that I’ve read in my memory but I’m dogged by the feeling that too much was left out. Today’s audiences are willing to sit through longer films. At 142 minutes, Hunger Games could have had a scene or two more – especially if more discipline had been exercised in editing and deleting time eating footage. For example, when Katniss finally makes it to her room in the Capitol she tinkers with a remote that controls a wall screen that shows random images. This scene was a waste on several levels. First it echoes Total Recall (1990) – thereby making the film seem both cheap and dated. Second it was a good ten or so second time suck (do we have any doubts our heroine would rather be back in the forest?)

• Costumes. Speaking of cheap, some critics and fashion circles have slammed the amateur hour costumes. In part, this is unfair – remember the citizens in the Capitol are supposed to be idiots so its reasonable that they should dress the part (anyone ever see the fashion show scene in Talking Heads’ True Stories (Dream Operator)? Sadly, at the end of the day, most of the costumes do seem like a High School class was shown BladeRunner and Coal Miner’s Daughter and told to have at it. And one small costume detail: Katniss is shown with loose bootstraps and jacket while in the arena. Anyone that’s ever done any bushwhacking knows the importance of not having any loose straps or ties in the woods – even if you’re not running for your life.

• Action/cinematography: Many critics have slammed the hand-held over dependence and the total lack of depth, so I won’t dwell on it – but all the close-up stuff was really obnoxious – and this too made the film feel cheap. One other detail that irked me. In the beginning, Katniss is shown running into the woods. I love Jennifer Lawrence but she does not run like someone who has been in the woods her whole life. I know enough to say that a hunter is not necessarily an athlete but that shot of her running into the woods is awful (compare that with a shot that was cut too soon -- the scene where Katniss walks to a hovercraft in fatigues and a black t-shirt. She looked good and there should've been another beat there).

• Art Direction. Again, a lot of criticism that I won’t bother re-hashing. The best parts of District 12 was the border fence and a short shot of Katniss running across a dam. When I was young in the early ‘70’s, the nearest town was an old coal town that hadn’t been active in some time. It was the valley of ashes (see Great Gatsby), Pennsylvania style. For the film, I know they tried to kill the grass in the old company town used as the setting for 12 and whatnot to make it look less lush, but it didn’t quite work. I’ve seen some of the artist renderings for District 12 and more could’ve been done. What disappointed me most about the capitol was the make-over bays and the room where Katniss first meets Cinna. These were all wrong. The bays looked like a Deep Space Nine set (I would’ve gone David Lynch here with curtains and shadows with no walls – and powerful pin lights). My only comment on the arena was the handholds on the trees. To me, they pretty much said ‘climbing wall.’

• Music. T Bone Burnet. I love the guy – but where’s the originality in this selection?

Enough b****ing. Parts of the film were very effective. The countdown as Katniss parts from Cinna at the start of the games was as good as anything I’ve seen on screen in recent memory. Conceptually, I liked the expanded Seneca Wallace role -- even his ending (but his control room scenes were limp, limp, limp). Ross didn’t mishandle Lawrence (but I have to assume all the direction that was necessary was to tell her to do what she did in Winter’s Bone). I liked the green room where Cinna sits with Katniss prior to her interview (the warm wood was a great choice -- but what was that room doing in the Capitol?) And I liked the opening text about the law creating the Hunger Games.

So why so much time pulling a huge blockbuster apart? Because of Collins’ simple direct story (thanks in no small part I assume to her screen-writer past), this project was an easy adaptation that should have been something special. Instead, all we’re left with is ‘good enough’. The film reeked of compromise, convention and too conservative decision making. There was no intellectual heavy lifting necessary to succeed in this adaptation – just a need to polish a gem. Instead, what we got was costume jewelry that was convincing enough to pull it off, fool the undiscerning eye and have a happy night.

Last edited by Joe Brody : 04-09-2012 at 10:40 PM.
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
roundshort
IndyFan
 
roundshort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Napa CA
Posts: 4,096
Dang Joe.... What a write up. I actually dug the movie. Happy to say I knew nothing about what was going to happen so I just sat back and was entertained. But I agree with many and most of your points.
roundshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
Joe, if you haven't seen them already, I think you'll appreciate these alternate universe Hunger Games posters. (Make sure to note the various casting decisions, especially for Haymitch.)

Just to whet your appetite...

Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 02:33 PM   #4
Dr. Gonzo
IndyFan
 
Dr. Gonzo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,854
And here's another alternate universe Hunger Games poster...

Oh no wait... it's the original, a decade before the Hunger Games was even thought up.



Dr. Gonzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
Luisiana Jones
IndyFan
 
Luisiana Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Posts: 656
Battle royale is far better than hunger games. I dunno its just... lame

Regards,

LJ
Luisiana Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 09:57 PM   #6
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
Oh no wait... it's the original, a decade before the Hunger Games was even thought up.

. . . .and Lord of the Flies was written in 1954, so what's your point? Let's not go giving the charmingly '90's era Japanese (original?!?) product too much credit now. Chr!st, you're on an Indiana Jones forum, perhaps the most derivative franchise of them all (and arguably one of the greatest because it embraces its derivative heritage).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisiana Jones
Battle royale is far better than hunger games. I dunno its just... lame

I'm having a little trouble with the grammar here but if you think the Hunger Games is lame, then explain why. Are the Hunger Games a literary masterpeice? No. Is it original? No. But if one topic has been beaten to death on this forum is that nothing is original and everything is derivative. You can't argue with success. So while there's not much original about boy wizards, teen vampires, mashups, and sword and sex fantasy, in each of these categories a single writer has recently hit grand slam home runs. And I for one would rather appreciate and attempt to understand each of those success than spout off empty condemnations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
Joe, if you haven't seen them already, I think you'll appreciate these alternate universe Hunger Games posters. (Make sure to note the various casting decisions, especially for Haymitch.)

Just to whet your appetite...



Thanks I missed those and they cracked me up. Everyone once in awhile EW surprises to the good -- and you were right about the Haymitch choices. The Fellini, Malick, and Refn were hilarious (always loved the Risky Business Credits).
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 11:19 PM   #7
Dr. Gonzo
IndyFan
 
Dr. Gonzo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,854
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
. . . .and Lord of the Flies was written in 1954, so what's your point? Let's not go giving the charmingly '90's era Japanese (original?!?) product too much credit now. Chr!st, you're on an Indiana Jones forum, perhaps the most derivative franchise of them all (and arguably one of the greatest because it embraces its derivative heritage).

I wonder if we read the same Lord of the Flies?
I must have missed the part where the government forms a lottery for forcing school aged kids to kill each other with various forms of lethal weaponry for entertainment purposes and also in hopes of quelling insurrections?

I guess I can see why you would try and throw Lord of the Flies into that bunch. Very very vague similarities though. The problem with the Hunger Games/Battle Royale is that the similarities are too direct, almost glaring.

I did see the Hunger Games. Thought it was kinda fun, a little long winded but kinda fun. It's just no Battle Royale. But that's just my opinion.
Dr. Gonzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
Whatever. Theseus was SO much better.

Last edited by Deadlock : 05-12-2012 at 11:32 PM.
Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2012, 11:36 PM   #9
Montana Smith
IndyFan
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 10,616
There's only one way to settle this...




Battle Royale is a classic, but for a tale of abused youth Sucker Punch beats them all!
Montana Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2012, 01:00 AM   #10
Luisiana Jones
IndyFan
 
Luisiana Jones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Posts: 656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody


I'm having a little trouble with the grammar here but if you think the Hunger Games is lame, then explain why. Are the Hunger Games a literary masterpeice? No. Is it original? No. But if one topic has been beaten to death on this forum is that nothing is original and everything is derivative. You can't argue with success. So while there's not much original about boy wizards, teen vampires, mashups, and sword and sex fantasy, in each of these categories a single writer has recently hit grand slam home runs. And I for one would rather appreciate and attempt to understand each of those success than spout off empty condemnations.

Well, you definitely got a point regarding originality, nothing is 100% original, but the fact that the argument is so damn close to BR is just incredible. When i first watched the trailer i gotta be honest almost felt like it was trying to insult my intellgence. Another point that'd criticize is the fact that the argument has not been developed for a younger audience, where the as a matter of fact, this movie is. Let's be honest, it is due to this fact that the movie lacks the intended morbidity this plot may have.

Regards,

LJ
Luisiana Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2012, 02:30 PM   #11
Moedred
Administrator
 
Moedred's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: California
Posts: 4,882
How best to pass 18 months until the sequel? (Besides reading, I mean...)

http://www.nbc.com/revolution
Moedred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2012, 05:34 PM   #12
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
In today's New York Times Book Review, Adam Gopnik, in his review of two new children's fantasy books, makes some interesting points:

Quote:
These two fantasy novels, jokey and spooky, read together, do provoke a deeper, *family-wide meditation on What Works (and its sordid companion category, What Pays). If “The False Prince” with its short paragraphs and clear climaxes works as it is read, it also makes one realize that good fantasies, like good novels, obtain their longevity through what lies beyond the story. (Recall how lurid and coarse Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films felt with Tolkien’s sense of lore and history replaced by ghastly orc makeup and C.G.I. wolves.) It’s not simply that a book with jokes should have spooks as well, nor that the spooks and jokes should necessarily be mixed together. It’s more that the reader shouldn’t be sure, upon entering the precincts of fantasyland, where the stress will fall — and whether the next page will bring laughter or fear.

What makes adult books last is, as with wine, their mix of fruit and acidity, sweetness and tannins; what makes children’s books endure is their sheer density, as with milkshakes. The marriage not only of jokes and non-jokes, but of a fecundity of episodes, of strange storytelling and unexpected lyric corners, supplies for younger readers the satisfying fullness of imagination. What we remember in the classics is their side chapels as much as their altars. Chroma’s color orchestra in “The Phantom Tollbooth,” the discussions of world government in “Mistress Masham’s Repose”, Mary Poppins’s shopping trips — digressions are the diamonds in the mines of storytelling. More recently, Lemony Snicket’s “Series of Unfortunate Events” found its poise between lightness of tone and intensity of feeling — walking the tightrope between charm and harm, but also providing a supersaturation of material. Jokey and spooky did not so much alternate as adjoin at odd angles.

Put simply, we like stories; we need worlds. We make the distinction idiomatically and instantly: we speak differently of good stories and great books, and the difference is in the breadth of the imagined worlds. Works of morality without comedy to make them real are as unsatisfying as comedy without morality to make it matter. Though the laws of serendipity still rule a book’s reception, perhaps the only way for authors to approach the literary lottery is to buy as many tickets from as many different vendors as possible: one from the grim store where Melpomene, the spooky muse, sits; another from the Times Square newsstand of Thalia, muse of laughter. *After that, it’s all the luck of the game.

I confess, I haven't read Battle Royale, but I'm betting it is just as lacking in its own way (if not more) as any of the Hunger Games's flaws (being derivative not being the least among them). I'll argue that Hunger Games, however, has a better mix of the elements that Gopnik describes above. It's impacted too many people to dismiss out of hand just because it is not the first story to pit kids against kids.

[Sure Lord of the Flies isn't directly related but Hunger Games is close relative (just Google the two titles).]

. . . . and Montana, I confess that I just bought Sucker Punch on Blu Ray this past Friday to deconstruct it. I'm no fan of green screen epics but this one irked me when I first watched it and for some reason I want to go back to it.
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2012, 10:27 PM   #13
Montana Smith
IndyFan
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 10,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
. . . . and Montana, I confess that I just bought Sucker Punch on Blu Ray this past Friday to deconstruct it. I'm no fan of green screen epics but this one irked me when I first watched it and for some reason I want to go back to it.

Off-topic, but SP is a movie that often gets hammered because I think a lot of viewers don't take the time to look for the symbology scattered throughout. They may expect something else, and therefore be disappointed.

I like it because it was brave enough to be different, and rather than conform, it twists the stereotypes. It's also a movie that's good when played loud on the surround sound!

I wanted to back to it as well. I think I watched it three times in a week I got it.
Montana Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2012, 08:54 PM   #14
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
My issue with Sucker Punch: mentally, I've blended it with Shutter Island. I really can't separate the two...
Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2012, 09:02 PM   #15
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
My issue with Sucker Punch: mentally, I've blended it with Shutter Island. I really can't separate the two...

. . . well, apart from the sanitized sexploitation that is.
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2012, 11:08 PM   #16
Montana Smith
IndyFan
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 10,616
This is an interesting view on SP.
Montana Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2012, 10:05 PM   #17
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
Joe, I played hookie from work on Monday and caught the Hunger Games... I'll post some thoughts when I have a minute.
Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2012, 06:18 AM   #18
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
One thought that was on my mind for pretty much the entire movie: was Seneca's beard real???
Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2012, 10:16 PM   #19
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
Joe, I played hookie from work on Monday and caught the Hunger Games... I'll post some thoughts when I have a minute.

Great . . . but the nicer question is whether you've seen Winter's Bone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
One thought that was on my mind for pretty much the entire movie: was Seneca's beard real???

Mephistopheles he is not.
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2012, 07:36 PM   #20
Deadlock
IndyFan
 
Deadlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Post-apocalyptic Iowa
Posts: 1,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
Great . . . but the nicer question is whether you've seen Winter's Bone.

Watching it tonight, boss. Whadja think of Drive, BTW?
Deadlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2012, 09:55 PM   #21
Joe Brody
IndyFan
 
Joe Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Posts: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
Watching it tonight, boss. Whadja think of Drive, BTW?

All the retro elements (opening credits, jacket, cars, music) came across as too much/trying too hard -- like margarine -- but I guess that's LA for you. And from a writing perspective I think the strong silent type is a cop-out. It makes for an easy script. For a better kindred film, I'd recommend Miami Blues with Alec Baldwin, a fantastic Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward who produced and (I think) help write the film.

Sadly, I've still got about five minutes to go to Drive. I lost interest at the elevator scene.
Joe Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2012, 11:16 AM   #22
Pale Horse
Moderator
 
Pale Horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: L.A.
Posts: 6,981
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
too much/trying too hard -- like margarine -- but I guess that's LA for you.

Hey now, I'd take offense, but I'm chilling on the beach here...bro.

Quote:
And from a writing perspective I think the strong silent type is a cop-out. It makes for an easy script.

How so? Many strong silent type characters need nuance to be fleshed out in a script. I can name many scripts (Clint's come to mind) that while they many never win for Best Screenplay, they are complicated and detailed beyond many of the block busters we see today.

Quote:
Sadly, I've still got about five minutes to go to Drive. I lost interest at the elevator scene.

Lemme guess, it went down from there?
Pale Horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2012, 12:30 AM   #23
Marshall2288
IndyFan
 
Marshall2288's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 150
I liked the movie alot. I wish I knew more about the world they lived in. Guess it's time to read the books......

They left some things hanging. Like when Katniss threw up that hand signal. Also all the kids did it at the lottery. Did I just miss what that meant?
Marshall2288 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 07:11 PM   #24
Moedred
Administrator
 
Moedred's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: California
Posts: 4,882
http://www.deadline.com/2012/07/hung...mber-2014-2015

Totally called it.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - November 21, 2014.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - November 20, 2015.

Hopefully George Lucas is aware how much people will pay to see how a story ends.
Moedred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2012, 06:42 AM   #25
Montana Smith
IndyFan
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 10,616
The 2 disc The Hunger Games (The Unseen Version) Blu-ray fooled me for a moment this morning at a boot sale.

The box and upper band of the slip case are red.

What is that? Representative of extra blood?

Been wanting to see this, so I'm putting it on the top of the pile.
Montana Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:41 PM.