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Review: The Hunger Games (Bumbray's take)

Mar. 23, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

Read JimmyO's review here

PLOT: In a society where a past revolt is punished by having each of twelve districts offer up their young as tribute, in a fight to the death where only one will live to be crowned victor, teen Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in order to save her young sister from being forced to take part. Katniss, along with a boy from her district, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are taken to the capitol, where they are trained by a past Hunger Games victor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) - whos now a bitter alcoholic. There, they are prepared for their inevitable fight to the death, along with the 22 other tributes- although in the end, only one can be left standing.

REVIEW: I knew absolutely nothing about THE HUNGER GAMES going in, other than the fact that they were based on a wildly popular series of young adult novels. Then again, so was TWILIGHT, so that didnt tell me much. However, TWILLIGHT is not a very good comparison to THE HUNGER GAMES. HARRY POTTER is probably closer, as my first exposure to the iconic world of Katniss Everdeen was a very positive one.


I really enjoyed THE HUNGER GAMES. The concept is fantastic, even if it does owe more than a little to BATTLE ROYALE (how strange that in a decade, BATTLE ROYALE went from being essentially banned in North America, to now inspiring a PG-13 series of mega-blockbusters). Katniss is a superb heroine for a series of films, with her being the exact opposite of the whiny Bella Swan from TWILIGHT. Heres a resilient, noble heroine who's a strong role model for all younger viewers, both female and male, and its obvious that thanks to this, Jennifer Lawrence is about to turn into a megastar.

Shes absolutely terrific here, with this being a natural, big-budget progression from her surprisingly similar role in the terrific WINTERS BONE (hopefully, the hype around HUNGER GAMES will bring that film to a wider audience). Shes damn terrific, and she carries herself throughout with the confidence of a legit movie star. You simply cant take your eyes off her.

The actors supporting Lawrence are also quite good, with Hutcherson making a likable second lead- but this is Lawrences show through and through. Some early reviews have noted that Katniss and Peetas eventually romance rang false- but really, theres a point to that, and Im sure it will pay off in future installments. Her other love interest, played by Liam Hemsworth (brother of Chris) barely registers, but again- will likely play a major role in the inevitable sequels.

Like HARRY POTTER, the adult supporting cast of THE HUNGER GAMES is great. Lots of great character actors pop up as the freakish, moneyed residents of the Capitol- who dress like Marie-Antoinette and the French Aristocracy would have if they lived in the eighties and made music videos on MTV. Some of the outfits here might have even given Duran-Duran or WHAM! pause. Stanley Tucci has a ball hamming it up as the Hunger Games host- a la Richard Dawson in THE RUNNING MAN- with him sporting a blue wig thats only slightly less ridiculous than poor Toby Jones do, which makes it look like a poodles scalp was stitched to his head. The gorgeous Elizabeth Banks also gets a chance to chew some scenery as the gal who goes from district to district picking tributes.

Of the heavy hitters, Woody Harrelson has the best part as the alcoholic former tribute Haymitch (with his phony blond locks looking pretty tame compared to his other co-stars). Its a gem of a part that I hope grows in further installments. He does a terrific job in his relatively brief screen time of giving the impression of a guy deeply haunted by his past in the games, but whos still willing to risk his freedom in order to help his tribute trainees, using his skills behind the scenes to get them much-needed supplies, and showing them how to play to the cameras.


Good as it is though, I still had a few problems with THE HUNGER GAMES. I was a bit taken aback by the way all the tributes seem to form alliances considering that by the time its over there can only be one winner. In BATTLE ROYALE they did something similar, but the payoff was better. And, despite mostly loving Gary Rosss direction (this being his first film since SEABISCUIT), the editing bugged me, particularly in the action scenes- which are almost indecipherable. A hunch tells me this was probably an effort to secure a PG-13, but the cutting was a distraction. Also- there are some dodgy CGI characters that really bugged me towards the end, but they werent bad enough to really affect my enjoyment.

Overall, this is far, far superior to what I was expecting. Maybe THE HUNGER GAMES is going to be the one young adult franchise that really lives up to the hype. Thankfully, its no TWILIGHT- meaning that future installments will actually be something to look forward to. Fancy that!

Source: JoBlo.com

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2:30AM on 03/23/2012

Wow

A garbage movie for a worthless generation. I have a degree in history, psychology, and political theory, and this movie makes no sense. Neither do the books. If a regime wished to sway future generations, they would do so through the school system, propaganda, and the media. What do they achieve by alienating genearations via Battle Royale? The Nazis and Communists didn't do it, America today would never do it, and no culture on Earth would do it. Making a generation suffer to prove supremacy
A garbage movie for a worthless generation. I have a degree in history, psychology, and political theory, and this movie makes no sense. Neither do the books. If a regime wished to sway future generations, they would do so through the school system, propaganda, and the media. What do they achieve by alienating genearations via Battle Royale? The Nazis and Communists didn't do it, America today would never do it, and no culture on Earth would do it. Making a generation suffer to prove supremacy is not only stupid, it is retarded. I don't care how well written the books are, I refuse to read them, the premise makes no sense based on actual human history and political theory. Are we back to Clash of the Titans with the Kraken?

If there were an authoritarian regime trying to rule a people, they wouldn't be sacrificing the youth, they'd be indoctrinating them.

If you think the books make sense, if this movie is awesome to you, wake up. It's garbage media. But then again, America loves shit, so sip up. Enjoy the feces seeping down your throats telling you youth is important. Me, I passed that phase and learnt experience matters more. But then again, I left these borders
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9:26AM on 03/27/2012
hahahahahaha, poli-sci, phil and law, and i think it is extremely relevant, you forgot about abstract thinking. Works of fiction that were relevant; 1984, Chrysalids, ZPG, Logan's Run, Soylent Green and many more. Some Titles which were plain stupid but stile relevant in some manner; Sunshine, The Core, Armageddon, The Island. Current trends, World Cup, NFL, Champions League etc. Growing trends MMA.
Man, i don't know what courses you took in poli, or history, but in real University you learn
hahahahahaha, poli-sci, phil and law, and i think it is extremely relevant, you forgot about abstract thinking. Works of fiction that were relevant; 1984, Chrysalids, ZPG, Logan's Run, Soylent Green and many more. Some Titles which were plain stupid but stile relevant in some manner; Sunshine, The Core, Armageddon, The Island. Current trends, World Cup, NFL, Champions League etc. Growing trends MMA.
Man, i don't know what courses you took in poli, or history, but in real University you learn to compare and contrast.
1:28PM on 03/26/2012
Someone forgot that this was a work of fiction. Mythbusters proved that The Bride from Kill Bill could not literally punch her way out of a buried coffin...but shit I guess that movie is total crap too. What do I know, I am American and I apparently love shit.
Someone forgot that this was a work of fiction. Mythbusters proved that The Bride from Kill Bill could not literally punch her way out of a buried coffin...but shit I guess that movie is total crap too. What do I know, I am American and I apparently love shit.
1:00AM on 03/24/2012
Have fun with your student loan debt tool.....obviously too engrossed in a textbook to enjoy a great work of fiction....
Have fun with your student loan debt tool.....obviously too engrossed in a textbook to enjoy a great work of fiction....
10:52PM on 03/23/2012
ha ha 99 thumbs down, thats gotta be a joblo record or something. This has got to be one of the most condescending posts i have ever read & last time I checked these books were fiction. Next you will tell us about how preposterous the Planet of the Apes movies were.
ha ha 99 thumbs down, thats gotta be a joblo record or something. This has got to be one of the most condescending posts i have ever read & last time I checked these books were fiction. Next you will tell us about how preposterous the Planet of the Apes movies were.
5:23PM on 03/23/2012
Wow yourself! You got 87 thumbs down and counting! Is this the most hated comment on this site? You sure deserve this crown Professor.
Wow yourself! You got 87 thumbs down and counting! Is this the most hated comment on this site? You sure deserve this crown Professor.
2:17PM on 03/23/2012
the University of Phoenix has assured everyone in America a degree, if not an education. I love when people give you their CV before stating an argument. Who cares? Well done? I didn't know they still let people major in being poor for life.
the University of Phoenix has assured everyone in America a degree, if not an education. I love when people give you their CV before stating an argument. Who cares? Well done? I didn't know they still let people major in being poor for life.
12:29PM on 03/23/2012
Degrees in psych, history and political theory and you are writing multi-paragraph responses to movie reviews for a movie you hated? You sir, are a dildo.
Degrees in psych, history and political theory and you are writing multi-paragraph responses to movie reviews for a movie you hated? You sir, are a dildo.
10:04AM on 03/23/2012
Shorter post: "I'm Inferus, I'm Smart and I'm Awesome!'
Shorter post: "I'm Inferus, I'm Smart and I'm Awesome!'
9:08AM on 03/23/2012
I think someone forgot that this is a work of fiction.
I think someone forgot that this is a work of fiction.
8:43AM on 03/23/2012
I don't know how you ever passed your exams because you sure as hell weren't paying attention in class. Other posters have mentioned the historical allegories The Hunger Games refers to, but the most laughable part is how you dismiss the books without having even read them. Kind of like the fundamentalist idiots who banned Harry Potter because they thought it promoted the occult.
I don't know how you ever passed your exams because you sure as hell weren't paying attention in class. Other posters have mentioned the historical allegories The Hunger Games refers to, but the most laughable part is how you dismiss the books without having even read them. Kind of like the fundamentalist idiots who banned Harry Potter because they thought it promoted the occult.
7:37AM on 03/23/2012
Looks like somebody forgot to tell us about their minor in Trolling...
Looks like somebody forgot to tell us about their minor in Trolling...
5:45AM on 03/23/2012
Last I checked, this wasn't a documentary.
Last I checked, this wasn't a documentary.
5:16AM on 03/23/2012
A bit jaded are we? You're argument does have validity in two out of the three of the fields that you just had to mention. A note: there is quite a bit of indoctrination hinted at in the books, but all else aside, this book is just a critique on modern society and the effect that media has on it. Of course, the two main focuses are its use as a weapon for both the regime and the heroine, and the degree to which it can desensitize. Everything else is just a backdrop. So kindly pull your
A bit jaded are we? You're argument does have validity in two out of the three of the fields that you just had to mention. A note: there is quite a bit of indoctrination hinted at in the books, but all else aside, this book is just a critique on modern society and the effect that media has on it. Of course, the two main focuses are its use as a weapon for both the regime and the heroine, and the degree to which it can desensitize. Everything else is just a backdrop. So kindly pull your head out of your ass and try to appreciate someone's work for what it is and not what you want it to be.
4:52AM on 03/23/2012
Before we consider your argument, why don't you first step down from your pedestal and stop being such a complete ass.
Before we consider your argument, why don't you first step down from your pedestal and stop being such a complete ass.
4:40AM on 03/23/2012
For someone who claims to have three degrees, I am surprised that you've obviously never heard of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, which the Hunger Games is pretty much based on, along with Battle Royalle of course. In other words, you claim that you have never heard of this sort of thing happening, when it was the basis for one of the most famous stories ever told.

When it comes to this making sense, the people in the Hunger Games have been sort of and subjugated, they lost a war.
For someone who claims to have three degrees, I am surprised that you've obviously never heard of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, which the Hunger Games is pretty much based on, along with Battle Royalle of course. In other words, you claim that you have never heard of this sort of thing happening, when it was the basis for one of the most famous stories ever told.

When it comes to this making sense, the people in the Hunger Games have been sort of and subjugated, they lost a war. Victors occupying other countries tend to mass murder people publicly all the time, to remind them who's boss. You speak of the Nazis, well let me tell you that while my country, Greece, was occupied by Nazis, public executions were a VERY common occurence. For example, they pretty much massacred the population of a village in retaliation for a partisan attack that in all probability the villagers had nothing to do with [link]. When it comes to violenence and opression, common sense does tend to take a back seat to the proceedings. Vae Victis and all that...

Also, you seem to have a pretty strong opinion for someone who claims to have not read the books or have any intention to do so... Is that what they tought you while getting your three degrees? How to have strong opinions on something you know NOTHING about and then call the people who like or enjoy the subject sheep and idiots? Wow, that's some pretty badass academic method and way of thinking, buddy!
6:05AM on 03/23/2012

Meh...

It was decent. I think if you have read the books and knew all the backround, this would be a pretty decent movie. But as someone who never read the books, I was never really into it, and to me, there was no character development. It all just sort of.. happened, I liked the very beginning of the games when like 6 people died, but other than that, there was no gravitas to anything, even when RUE died, I was like "meh, she stole that guys knife, and told katniss about the mockingjays" but it was
It was decent. I think if you have read the books and knew all the backround, this would be a pretty decent movie. But as someone who never read the books, I was never really into it, and to me, there was no character development. It all just sort of.. happened, I liked the very beginning of the games when like 6 people died, but other than that, there was no gravitas to anything, even when RUE died, I was like "meh, she stole that guys knife, and told katniss about the mockingjays" but it was kind of whatever. I think if I had read the books, it might have been better, but to me, the movie was moving to fast to get into the characters. Idk, it was decent, and I didnt pay for the tickets, so oh well lol
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11:21AM on 03/23/2012

AWESOME!!!!!!!

Could not believe how amazing this movie was...I was impressed with the acting, CGI, Score, everything! Favorite movie of the year so far DAMN GOOD :)
Could not believe how amazing this movie was...I was impressed with the acting, CGI, Score, everything! Favorite movie of the year so far DAMN GOOD :)
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11:22AM on 03/23/2012
I couldnt agree more with you inferus. There are plenty of other movies that did it better. Gladiator and Running Man did this better. This is nothing more than another norbit. Norbit was a failed idea of taking tired material and recycling it with a new polish in hopes to make it look good. The end result is still a rancid pile of @#$%. I would rather have a root canal than watch this movie. Inferus I agree completely with everything you said.
I couldnt agree more with you inferus. There are plenty of other movies that did it better. Gladiator and Running Man did this better. This is nothing more than another norbit. Norbit was a failed idea of taking tired material and recycling it with a new polish in hopes to make it look good. The end result is still a rancid pile of @#$%. I would rather have a root canal than watch this movie. Inferus I agree completely with everything you said.
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7:13PM on 03/23/2012
So Gladiator and Running Man are better movies than a movie you've never seen?

OK, got it...
So Gladiator and Running Man are better movies than a movie you've never seen?

OK, got it...
+11
1:40PM on 03/23/2012
I've got my tickets to see it in IMAX tomorrow and I honestly cannot wait.
I've got my tickets to see it in IMAX tomorrow and I honestly cannot wait.
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5:14PM on 03/23/2012
I had the series on my bookshelf for over year, but whenever I wanted to start reading it, I always had a sneaking suspicion that maybe the hype and the reviews are not as factual as they claim to be...Maybe its more in line with typical Twilight-craze and less actual quality & wonderful storytelling like Harry Potter (for which I'm the biggest fan). But this glowing review and 87%(!) at rottentomatoes happily proved me wrong. So now I guess I should immediately start reading the books...As
I had the series on my bookshelf for over year, but whenever I wanted to start reading it, I always had a sneaking suspicion that maybe the hype and the reviews are not as factual as they claim to be...Maybe its more in line with typical Twilight-craze and less actual quality & wonderful storytelling like Harry Potter (for which I'm the biggest fan). But this glowing review and 87%(!) at rottentomatoes happily proved me wrong. So now I guess I should immediately start reading the books...As I'm from Bangladesh, this film won't be released in theaters here, so maybe a downloaded copy a month later for me, unfortunately :(
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9:30PM on 03/24/2012
I want great movies in theatres again. With that in mind, I want The Hunger Games to flop in the box office. After seeing the film and thinking about it... It wasn't really that good. My initial review was C-. But I'm disliking it more and more as I realize the quality and decisions behind it are on the level of Twilight. This is very bad for Hollywood. We need more John Carter's and Prometheus' to succeed before all we have left are big screen soap operas that steal great ideas from better
I want great movies in theatres again. With that in mind, I want The Hunger Games to flop in the box office. After seeing the film and thinking about it... It wasn't really that good. My initial review was C-. But I'm disliking it more and more as I realize the quality and decisions behind it are on the level of Twilight. This is very bad for Hollywood. We need more John Carter's and Prometheus' to succeed before all we have left are big screen soap operas that steal great ideas from better movies.

As for the rating, it was obvious that this films PG-13 rating dictated the camera movements, not the creative vision. Instead of filming a great feature and scaling back the cut as needed for a desired result, The Hunger Games never even tried to achieve the core elements that lay the fundemential framework of the story. You know, 24 kids murdering each other for sport... As a film goer I was left starving for what could have been an enthralling first installment.
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3:21AM on 03/25/2012
John Carter was awesome everybody just like to jump on band wagons right now the wagon is Hunger Games.
John Carter was awesome everybody just like to jump on band wagons right now the wagon is Hunger Games.
3:19AM on 03/25/2012

Battle Royal

I haven't seen the movie, but to me it sounds like a water down version of the Japanese film Battle Royal. Everybody is falling in love with this movie but bitched about Avatar, which is more original than this movie. If you never have heard of Battle Royal look it up and you'll see Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royal.
I haven't seen the movie, but to me it sounds like a water down version of the Japanese film Battle Royal. Everybody is falling in love with this movie but bitched about Avatar, which is more original than this movie. If you never have heard of Battle Royal look it up and you'll see Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royal.
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6:40AM on 03/25/2012
I got to see Woody on the big screen I am soooo giddy.

Now, I have sceen Battle Royal and although their are similaritys they are two different movies. Anyone that can't see that is just a waist of text in the Discussions Window. I loved BR and I am good with HG. Not the greatest but really good. Anyway if you don't agree with me I really could not care less of your opinion. I don't know you, why would you think I give a damn.

Now I am off to go watch the new episode of Psych, have
I got to see Woody on the big screen I am soooo giddy.

Now, I have sceen Battle Royal and although their are similaritys they are two different movies. Anyone that can't see that is just a waist of text in the Discussions Window. I loved BR and I am good with HG. Not the greatest but really good. Anyway if you don't agree with me I really could not care less of your opinion. I don't know you, why would you think I give a damn.

Now I am off to go watch the new episode of Psych, have not had the chance to watch that mother yet.
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2:05PM on 03/25/2012
I liked this movie, the only issue I have is the shaky camera, and Chris is probably right, they probably used it to get the pg-13 release. I felt sick watching this movie some scenes were really shaky. it was like watching home videos of my mom chasing us around while we looked for easter eggs. Lots of Grass, Feet, close up face shots, and lots of zooming in and out.
I liked this movie, the only issue I have is the shaky camera, and Chris is probably right, they probably used it to get the pg-13 release. I felt sick watching this movie some scenes were really shaky. it was like watching home videos of my mom chasing us around while we looked for easter eggs. Lots of Grass, Feet, close up face shots, and lots of zooming in and out.
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9:27AM on 03/27/2012

really...

the only grating flaw was the cinematography.
the only grating flaw was the cinematography.
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