The Hunger Games – Review

The film has taken the third highest Opening Weekend in history. The book series has sold over 26 Million copies. It’s no wonder the words “The Hunger Games” are on everyone’s lips right now.

The Hunger Games takes place about 100 years in the future, around 75 years after a vicious uprising in the United States (now known as the country of Panem). Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for the civil war (and to ensure it never happens again) the Capitol forces the twelve districts to ‘tribute’ one young male and one young female each year for the Hunger Games. A deadly competition, between the 24 tributes, where only one comes out alive.

And so the 74th annual Hunger Games are upon us and it’s time to select the tributes… District 12 (the coal mining district) holds it’s ‘reaping’ an event where children’s names (aged between 12 and 18) are drawn out at random… Ladies first (as usual)… Primrose Everdeen (12 Years Old). Enter Katniss Everdeen, Primrose’s 16 year old sister who volunteer’s in order to save her sister. Katniss, along with the other District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are taken to the Capitol to compete in the deadly Games.

The storyline would not be one you would automatically aim at the Twilight audience, considering it’s strong political undertones and death of over twenty children, not to mention the ones committing the murders are the same age. It’s something you would make a youtube video out of and rally the world against. Unfortunately, what I consider to be a good and engaging storyline seems to be wasted on the young. The fast-movements of the camera during a lot of the fighting and death scenes almost makes you feel like you are one of the competitors, the camera seems to brush over the crucial killing blows. In my opinion, I would say this was to keep to an M rating and allow the target demographic to enjoy the film adaptation of the book series they loved so much. I have not read the books. Although I intend to (having just bought the first book today). I would have loved to see a story like (Scratch that… THIS STORY) this aimed at an older demographic. Then they could turn it into a TV series a la Game of Thrones.

But enough about the tween/teenage demographic who do not deserve such a story. Lets talk about the rest of the film. While the camera movements made me feel apart of the Games, it also alienated me a little… I go to a film to enjoy it… not have a seizure. However annoying it was, (and having not read the books, knowing very little about the story) I found my self interested in the story, worried about Katniss, not whether she’d come out alive (… she can’t die… right?) but more how she’d come out alive. I was on the edge of my seat for some parts. Now, acting… Jennifer Lawrence is a very talented (…hot) woman, she played the role of Katniss Everdeen (the name is starting to grow on me) perfectly. I got the feelings she was experiencing and her overall fear and courage through out the whole film. Lenny Kravitz did pretty well as one of the District 12 (I could have the wrong terminology) advisors. Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta quite well, although there were a couple of times I thought his character was acting kind of strangely (but again, I haven’t read the book… maybe it’s normal?). Woody Harrelson plays a fantastic drunkard yet caring ex-Hunger Games champ. And Liam Hemsworth… our guy, (’cause he’s an Aussie) despite his quite high billing on the film, is in it for about seven to ten minutes on whole. He received a collective “awwwww” from the cinema in a scene where he is watching the coverage of the Games and pulls of a better ‘Jacob (Why didn’t she pick me) Face’ then Taylor Lautner himself. I assume he plays a larger role in the later films.

All in all, I was impressed with the film. It was a good film… not worthy of any super-duper awards, but a great adaptation and I’d say also a good avenue fro people to get in to the books (it’s what has happened to me). The Hunger Games universe is a great one and one you could create stories for anywhere in its 75+ year history and beyond, in to the future. I am actually trying to wrap up writing this blog so I can start reading the book.

I wouldn’t recommend this film for anyone under the age of 12-13 and even then the 12-year-old would probably have to be a little more mature than a regular 12-year-old. There are some pretty confronting images of dead children that are not for the younger kids. Parents, watch it first before you decide on your kids seeing it.

To Wrap up…

  • The Hunger Games
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Fantastic storyline
  • Sometimes annoying camera movements
  • Not suitable for the young ones
  • I’d see it again!

3 Stars

The Hunger Games is in cinemas around the country now.

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Cinema Forecast – Week 13, 2012

FEATURE:

Wrath Of The Titans

The sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans remake, helmed by Battle: Los Angeles director Jonathan Liebesman. Perseus (Sam Worthington) must venture to the depths of the underworld in order to save his father, Zeus (Liam Nesson). Set a decade after his victory over the Kraken, Perseus is forced to put his tranquil life as a villager aside and enter the heated battle between the gods and the Titans. With his traitorous brothers Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) aiding Kronos, Perseus must stop the titan leader from imprisoning Zeus before the gods are completely overthrown.

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax

A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Stars Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Danny DeVito.

A Dangerous Method

Filmmaker David Cronenberg (The Fly, A History of Violence) directs this true, historical thriller based on the turbulent love triangle that developed between two towering intellectuals of our age – Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and protege Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) – and a troubled patient (Kiera Knightley). Based on the play The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton, which was based on the nonfiction novel A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr.

Mirror Mirror

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright. Stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer. Mirror Mirror is one of the two ‘Snow White’ films being released this year.

Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor) – Review

Based on the Russian novel series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Night Watch was adapted by Timur Bekmambetov, a Russian Writer/Producer/Director in 2004.

The film follows Anton Gorodetsky, an ‘Other’ who has found himself mixed up in a secret war between other ‘Others’… A battle between Light and Dark. Light ‘Others’ are the Night Watch, sworn to keep the Dark ‘Others’ in check. Likewise, the Dark ‘Others’ are the Day Watch keeping tabs on the Light ‘Others’. Siding with the Night Watch, Anton works as a ‘supernatural police man’ taking down Dark ‘Others’ who defy an ancient truce that keeps the world from falling in to chaos. When he sees a woman on a train with the vortex (an omen that spells the end of the truce and the apocalypse) over her head, he and the others of the Night Watch must stop the Vortex before the truce falls apart and the world plunges in to darkness.

Night Watch is seen as the first Russian Blockbuster since the collapse of the Soviet Film Industry in the late 80’s/early 90’s. With a budget of $4.2 million it was considered high concept until a few years later… now some budgets are over $20 million! Russia’s film industry is expanding greatly since the fall of the iron curtain and it’s directors like Timur Bekmambetov that are helping it along. He is now working in the US as well as Russia, currently directing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and in 2008, Wanted.

Bekmambetov is a very strong sci-fi/fantasy director. In Night Watch it is clear that he draws his ideas and styles of filming from Hollywood productions like The Matrix series. The film felt more hollywood-y rather than a international film but it still felt quite Russian in its culture and character. If you like The Matrix or The Underworld series and don’t mind reading subtitles, (There is a dubbed version, however I do recommend the Russian with Subtitles) definitely see this film.

3 Stars

Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor) and it’s sequel Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) are available in most DVD stores.

Cinema Forecast – Week 12, 2012

FEATURE:

The Hunger Games

Sci-fi set in a post-apocalyptic America that sees a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone) being drafted into the ‘Hunger Games’, a brutal, fight-to-the-death, reality TV show. Based on Suzanne Collins’ young adult novels, from the director of Pleasantville. In the face of drought, fire and famine America has crumbled and been replaced by the Capitol, a regime that controls the country with brutal force. Each year, two residents from twelve districts are selected and forced to compete in ‘The Hunger Games’: a televised, to-the-death event which all citizens are forced to watch. When Katniss Everdeen’s (Lawrence) younger sister is “selected” to participate, Katniss volunteers to take her place, pitting herself against bigger, stronger competitors. The film is adapted from the first book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. It was recently confirmed that book two, Catching Fire, is also getting the big-screen treatment.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

A Deeper Shade of Blue

A Deeper Shade of Blue is the award-winning new film from legendary surfing film maker Jack McCoy, the man behind cult titles such as Occy the Occumentary and Blue Horizon, and one of the most respected film makers in the industry. Set to inspire, educate and update, the much-anticipated release is the most comprehensive story of surfing ever told.