The Hunger Games: A Review to the Death

by toepic on March 27, 2012

Katniss and Peeta at the opening ceremony

Cinna must have taped Peeta's mouth shut for the opening ceremony.

Overall, fans and critics alike have positive things to say about The Hunger Games. Of course, most people are terrible and I wouldn’t trust their opinion on breathing. I only listen to a handful of people online and in real life that have proved their worth thru Justified and Archer love, or other similar qualifications. Online, it comes down to 3 people, Dustin Rowles, Vince Mancini and Roger Ebert. I don’t agree with any of them all, or even most, of the time. But I’ll listen.

So, what did these three titans among men think of the big screen adaptation of our beloved novel The Hunger Games? Loved it, hated it, pretty good, respectively. Dustin thought the movie wasn’t a slave to the book. The director and cast were brilliant, and the games were shot beautifully. Vince thought it was confusing, blurry and movie referential. Roger thought it was entertaining, but a little shallow. He wanted less of the games and more political intrigue.

I guess in this case, I’m closest to Ebert. I think the film was a very good companion to the book, but it felt a little rushed. I would have been happy with an extra 30 minutes to explore the relationships and politics more. The acting was, for the most part, great. Peeta wasn’t real likeable, but he’s not supposed to be. He’s the one that Katniss is reluctant to love. Speaking of which, my wife was completely unimpressed with Gale. She thought he was too Twilighty. He needed to be more rugged, like he wasn’t afraid of killing a couple dozen squirrels.

Unlike the book, which was told entirely from Katniss’ perspective, the movie was able to zoom out during the games and give us a peek into the Seneca Crane-President Snow relationship. This was great, and I think it will serve to enrich President Snow’s character in the following movies. Jennifer Lawrence was a dead on Katniss. And surprisingly Alexander Ludwig was terrific as Cato. His part could have been expanded (and yes, someone could have put the damn camera on a tripod during his fight scene).

My nitpicking:

  • Needed more Cinna development
  • The mom=catatonic story was clumsily told.
  • It was blurrrrry.

But mostly, I was entertained. I want to reread the 2nd and 3rd books. And I’m hopeful that the next installments will be even better.

For a recap and proper review of the movie, read Dustin’s review at Pajiba, Vince’s review at FilmDrunk and Roger’s review at, uh, the place he does reviews.

Banner pic via Flick and Bits.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

hossman March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

Good work. I really think you, whoever you are, were born for blogging. Not because this or any other single post was excellent. There is no such thing as excellence in any one post. A blog post isn’t a novel, nor is it a movie. You didn’t develop characters or a storyline, and any research you do is necessarily limited to what can be found in a Google search during the course of a work day. But I think you’re finding your voice, and I am enjoying your body of work, sir. I like your ideas, and I’d ask if I can subscribe to your newsletter, but I think I already am, via RSS feed.


toepic March 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

Kind words hossman. Thank you for reading. I detect, like me, you’re endowed with the gift of gab. Perhaps novelist/blogger/screenwriter is in your present or near future.


wifey March 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

For the record, Wifey thought the flick underwhelming. Gimme more drama and don’t skimp on the blood and guts!
I was so pumped for the Cato death scene, then it was like – Cato. Alive. Now Dead.

I thought Pres Snow and Seneca kicked ass, and I hope they get a different director for the next movie(s). Harry Potter style. Amp it up in the later movies.


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