Entertaining Peery: The Hunger Games. Ross (2012)

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have not read the book, but as my college Film and Literature professor would say, “Each work should be judged on their own merit.” Thus, I have no problem reviewing The Hunger Games with no prior knowledge of the novel.

That said, I do have a vast knowledge of post-apocalyptic literature, film, and other media. So I must agree with Mr. Platt and say the film’s story stands on the shoulders of giants. The story is strikingly similar to Bachman’s (AKA Stephen King) “The Running Man” and “The Long Walk.” I also see some lesser known post-apoc literature like “Serenity” (from Sci-Fi Digest, NOT Whedon’s work) and films like Solarbabies, to more classic works like Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game.”

All of this is NOT a bad thing. Anything that adds to one of my favorite genres and does it with a large budget is most welcome.

I liked the story, except the screenwriter/director Gary Ross, with help from the novelist, Collins, left out of the movie a lot of the details of how the state of things arrived at the current situation depicted. I assume they felt the audience would have read the book prior to screening. Too bad, really. I think it would have made the film less a marketing tie-in to the book and more a piece able to stand on it’s own if they had informed the viewer at bit more. At 2 hours and 22 minutes, I think eight more minutes of back-story would have been well spent.

I also take exception to the general camera work especially related to establishing shots being too short and the combat cinematography being extreme “shaky-cam” to the point of being unable to tell what is going on. Frankly, I will rack this up to Ross mainly being a writer and a green, beginner, director that has never directed anything remotely action-oriented. No, I don’t count Seabiscuit as action. Also, it doesn’t help that the producers on the film also never worked in sci-fi or action. I wonder what this film would have been like with a more journeyman and sci-fi/action director helming. Maybe the sequels will be better in this department?

I rate this film 3 out of 5 stars, it’s worth a watch, but it could have been better. If you have not read the book, expect to have questions.

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