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  1. #1
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    Hunger Games movie comment thread

    I imagine that many of you who are huge fans of the book, like I am, are really excited about this movie. I am seeing it at a screening on Monday and will post something afterwards.

    But, in the meantime, I wanted to share a review that has my expectations sky high!

    Boxoffice.com says --
    After decades of science fiction epics that are either tired father-quests shoved down our throats with a lightsaber in the wake of Star Wars, or weary New Testament-inspired stories of "the Chosen One," it's amazingly refreshing to see a film where the hero's journey is one of ethics and choice—what does it take to be good in a evil world?—a struggle real people can sympathize with, not just gawk at. As action, as allegory, as cinema, The Hunger Games is the best American science-fiction film since The Matrix, and if Ross and his crew stay with the series for the next two books, we may get that rarest of things: a blockbuster franchise that earns our money through craft, emotion and execution, not merely marketing and effects.
    I bolded that last part. WOW, now that is praise!!

    Variety also reviewed it and said it is good, but that it does little to improve upon the book or strike its own territory. To me, that says it is largely a copy of the book... which is fine with me seeing as I loved the book.

    I'll check back in after I see it Monday night.

    -Jason "it is good to be a critic " Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    it does little to improve upon the book or strike its own territory
    But of course, the book didn't exactly strike its own territory either:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    ... I wanted to share a review that has my expectations sky high!

    Boxoffice.com says --

    The Hunger Games is the best American science-fiction film since The Matrix
    I bolded that last part. WOW, now that is praise!! ...

    -Jason "it is good to be a critic " Evans
    If only they found actors as good as Keeanu Reeves!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    If only they found actors as good as Keeanu Reeves!


    Just read a few more reviews... my expectations are now off the charts. Todd Gilchrist, a well-know critic, says -- "The first film in a long time that deserves Hollywood's instant-franchise ambitions because it appeals to genre fans regardless of gender by crafting a story that's both epic and intimate, spectacular and subtle."

    -Jason "currently at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 15 reviews in" Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  5. #5
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    I still can't get over that this BOOK was listed as a book for young people. I'm in my 70's and really liked it. Maybe I'm starting over.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Diablo View Post
    But of course, the book didn't exactly strike its own territory either:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale
    That's what I think of every time as well. I mean, isn't Hunger Games a pretty big ripoff of Battle Royale?

    That said, the movie intrigues me enough to potentially try it and the books out -- although there is an affiliation with Twilight movies, whether deserved or not, that worries me. The Twilight movies have been uniformly awful, imho, and I watched them simply to maintain domestic tranquility. Although, I'll admit that several beers at the alamo drafthouse turned that last one into a comedy of sorts. So it's go that going for it.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
    I still can't get over that this BOOK was listed as a book for young people. I'm in my 70's and really liked it. Maybe I'm starting over.
    My now 13 year old son is an avid reader. But he simply ate up The Hunger Games books. So, being curious about what he found so compelling at 11 & 12 I decided to read them. I really enjoyed them as well, though certainly can't place the quality of the writing along side another dystopian novel I cared deeply about - The Road.

    Quote Originally Posted by A-Tex Devil View Post
    I mean, isn't Hunger Games a pretty big ripoff of Battle Royale?
    As for it beng a ripoff of Battle Royale - sometimes it is simply hard to account for why one story makes it and connects with the audience and another similar one doesn't.

    I've said here before in movie threads, there is a real dearth of movies that my whole family can enjoy. Two 50 something paretns, a 25 year old college graduate, a 17 year old high school senior, and a 13 year old eighth grader are all going to see this together, and are all excited to be going.

    Jason, I'm looking forward to your review.

  8. #8
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    What is old is new

    JS Bach was known to borrow an old melody here and there. Think Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. George Lucas, master of dialogue( NOT!), patterned a lot of the original Star Wars movie (episode IV) after Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress.

    As for the Hunger Games, I thoroughly enjoyed the book that my teenage son insisted I read and I am looking forward to the movie.

    Allen, I also read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" Incredible, but it was so dreary and desolate that I could not bring myself to watch the movie.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotoguy View Post
    JS Bach was known to borrow an old melody here and there. Think Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. George Lucas, master of dialogue( NOT!), patterned a lot of the original Star Wars movie (episode IV) after Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress.

    As for the Hunger Games, I thoroughly enjoyed the book that my teenage son insisted I read and I am looking forward to the movie.

    Allen, I also read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" Incredible, but it was so dreary and desolate that I could not bring myself to watch the movie.
    And don't forget Shakespeare, few if any of whose plots are original--it's not just about the story, in the end, though a good story is a big part of it.

    I just read through all three books in a week, tipped off by my 30-year-old daughter. We both loved them. Young Adult titles are interesting--some of them are really dreadful; others are truly compelling tales with nuanced characters and intelligent prose that provide many of the satisfactions of "serious" adult literature without the literary affectations and the time demands.

    Started getting excited about the movie when I heard Jennifer Lawrence was cast in the lead. I thought she was terrific in Winter's Bone and she seems really right for this part.

  10. #10
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    Hunger Games - No Spoilers

    OK...it's a bit odd to have a no spoilers thread here, since I know a bunch of people have read the book....but I guess we can start this off with no spoilers and then after it opens JE can change the header to read - Spoilers.

    Here are my questions:

    1) JE - any screening of this?

    2) How many people are excited to see this? I know I am. My teenage girl (and her 11 year old sister) literally cannot wait, and my wife (who doesn't go to to many movies) is going to take them.

    3) How many people are going - Never heard of it?

    (for those who answer "Me" for #3.....you're missing out on a really good series. Great premise, well told, appeals to 10 and up and to grown-ups, great heroine)

    4) Is this a movie that will be damn near impossible to screw up? Sort of like Harry Potter (well at least until Harry Potter #4, then #6, then the end of #7)?

  11. #11
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    Will the Hunger Games be bigger than Twilight?

    That's my latest article for the Wall Street Journal's entertainment blog. The short answer is YES!

    “The Biggest problem for people behind this film is how many wheelbarrows they will need to haul away all this cash.”
    --Jason "I'll be posting my review in a moment... in the meantime, click and read my article and feel free to comment and/or like too " Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  12. #12
    I guess I'll go, as long as no one gets turned into Soylent Green crackers that the rest of humanity snacks on, OK?!

  13. #13
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    After reading the brief Hunger Games description on Netflix, and noting that it is rated PG-13, I just don't understand how anyone would enjoy such a movie. And it just boggles my mind that parents are planning to take children under the age of 13 to see this movie.
    Netflix

    In a dystopian future ruled by a totalitarian regime, resourceful Katniss and her partner Peeta represent their district in the lethal Hunger Games, a televised survival competition in which teenage contestants hunt each other to the death.
    What's next? Pre-teens, even teenagers, are still developing a sense of normal in the real world. Some of that development relies on what they see on the screen. God help us.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    After reading the brief Hunger Games description on Netflix, and noting that it is rated PG-13, I just don't understand how anyone would enjoy such a movie. And it just boggles my mind that parents are planning to take children under the age of 13 to see this movie.


    What's next? Pre-teens, even teenagers, are still developing a sense of normal in the real world. Some of that development relies on what they see on the screen. God help us.
    Lol well Netflix does nit exactly give great descriptions apparently. I just read all three books this week and they are insanely amazing. The movie I hope does it justice but I really recommend you read the books or give the movie a chance.

    The story is more about how the government controls everyone and everything and the people have no power until one girl (Katniss Everdeen) unknowingly makes a small stand against them which leads to an eventual uprising where the people try to take their country back from the government.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    What's next? Pre-teens, even teenagers, are still developing a sense of normal in the real world. Some of that development relies on what they see on the screen. God help us.
    This is soooo true but this movie does not do anything negative like that at all. It shows how horrible it is to kill, mistreat, and control other human beings while throwing in a little side love story.

  16. #16
    Ebert.

    “The Hunger Games” is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role. But the film leapfrogs obvious questions in its path, and avoids the opportunities sci-fi provides for social criticism; compare its world with the dystopias in “Gattaca” or “The Truman Show.” Director Gary Ross and his writers (including the series' author, Suzanne Collins) obviously think their audience wants to see lots of hunting-and-survival scenes, and has no interest in people talking about how a cruel class system is using them. Well, maybe they're right. But I found the movie too long and deliberate as it negotiated the outskirts of its moral issues.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Will the Hunger Games be bigger than Twilight?

    That's my latest article for the Wall Street Journal's entertainment blog. The short answer is YES!



    --Jason "I'll be posting my review in a moment... in the meantime, click and read my article and feel free to comment and/or like too " Evans

    So, where's the review, Jason?
    LET'S GO DUKE!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    After reading the brief Hunger Games description on Netflix, and noting that it is rated PG-13, I just don't understand how anyone would enjoy such a movie. And it just boggles my mind that parents are planning to take children under the age of 13 to see this movie.

    What's next? Pre-teens, even teenagers, are still developing a sense of normal in the real world. Some of that development relies on what they see on the screen. God help us.
    Have you read the books? Or are you just relying on the Netflix blurb? You don't seem the type to make judgements based on the latter - I know, I've met you.

    The netflix description does not do the central theme justice at all.

    I've worked in child mental health and public education for over 25 years - almost all of it with early adolescents. What is developmentally crucial is the context in which a story takes place. This story is told in such a way as to cast the violence in a horribly negative light, and the reader identifies with the moral struggle of the protagonist. In this story we identify with a hero who is always struggling to make morally correct choices in difficult situations, and is willing to sacrifice her own life to save others and bring about a just world. I'll be glad to take my 13 year old to see that, and talk to him about the morally compelling message afterward.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    OK...it's a bit odd to have a no spoilers thread here, since I know a bunch of people have read the book....but I guess we can start this off with no spoilers and then after it opens JE can change the header to read - Spoilers.

    Here are my questions:

    1) JE - any screening of this?
    Yes, I saw it on Monday. I am still in the process of writing a longer review in the other Hunger Games thread but it is a very well done movie and quite enjoyable. It was a tad long, but that is forgivable as it is just trying to cram in all the good stuff in the book. I think book fans will like it a great deal... people who have not read the book will like it even more as they won't know how everything turns out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    2) How many people are excited to see this? I know I am. My teenage girl (and her 11 year old sister) literally cannot wait, and my wife (who doesn't go to to many movies) is going to take them.
    It is doing huge advance sales so a lot of people are excited about it. In my article for the WSJ on how Hunger Games is going to be bigger than Twilight, I note that Boxoffice Magazine is predicting it will make $115 mil its opening weekend and will make over $300 mil total. As you know, that is a huge figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    3) How many people are going - Never heard of it?

    (for those who answer "Me" for #3.....you're missing out on a really good series. Great premise, well told, appeals to 10 and up and to grown-ups, great heroine)
    It is almost impossible for a movie to do the kind of boxoffice numbers we are talking about from only people who read the book. My understanding is that about 25 million people have read the book worldwide. At an average ticket price of about $8/ticket, that would come to $200 mil in worldwide boxoffice. It seems like The Hunger Games will be 3x or 4x bigger than that worldwide, so there are going to be a lot of people who come to see it who never read the book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    4) Is this a movie that will be damn near impossible to screw up? Sort of like Harry Potter (well at least until Harry Potter #4, then #6, then the end of #7)?
    No story is impossible to screw up. I have seen brilliant books and ideas turned into wretched movies. That said, the moment I read this book I thought that it would be a good one to translate to the big screen. Some books, like Dragon Tattoo, strike me as poor material to put on screen. This is the exact opposite (although there is a lot going on in the main character's head in the book that does not get put on the screen). Still, they could have messed it up easily...

    ...luckily, they did not.

    -Jason "I read somewhere that something like 1500 Thurs midnight showings have already sold out... it is gonna be huge!" Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  20. #20
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    Jason, can't wait to read your review! I re-read the book last week to refresh my memory. I have my ticket to an early afternoon showing on Friday - before the rugrats get out of school. I did this for the last Harry Potter movie, and it was just me and a bunch of senior citizens. Which was great, actually, b/c there was no constant chatter. And movies that seem to run a little too long but include everything are better than those that are cut short and leave stuff out. I'm psyched about seeing Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. I read one online review that said Donald Sutherland doesn't play his part to the fullest, which I find disappointing as I thought he was perfect for that role. I could totally picture him as Snow, in all his creepiness, especially in the later books.

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