The Hunger Games (2012)


Link: The Hunger Games

Summary: A possible future USA, I mean, a fictional totalitarian government forces young adults to fight to the death on a televised gladiator-style competition for some reason that really doesn’t make much sense.

Thoughts: I didn’t think this was a great adaptation.  Although the book is written very film-ish-ly in its pacing, as if the author knew a film would come of it, the main problem with the adaptation is that the pacing gets messed up because of how exposition is handled.  The story relies on a lot of background knowledge, and you just can’t handle the required exposition in a film in the same way you can in a book.  So the result of trying to stay true to the book results in something that is both bloated in length, yet still feels rushed.  I would’ve changed the storyline much more liberally.

Secondly, the mood and atmosphere made it seem as if the film took itself far too seriously, as if we need sad music when watching how District 12 lives so that we know to feel sorry for them, or overly sentimental music in scenes of love and loss.  It just comes across as rather forced and contrived.  I would’ve been much more subtle about it.  I think the totalitarian government and its media would’ve seemed much more sinister and ominous had they been played much more directly, presented plainly, instead of spoon-feeding the audience that the powerful government is evil and knows it.  (I do not mean without its over-the-top personalities and fashion eccentricities; I mean the tone in which these characters’ relationships with the rest of the world are portrayed.  That is, they should’ve been portrayed as caring about the world and the poorer districts.  It makes it more personal.  It’s the same reason people can feel horribly insulted when someone else tells them that they’ll pray for them.  It’s the sense that it’s a condescending lie, that the apparent good intentions are a cover up for something more sinister.)

Lastly, unneeded shaky cam.  There still seem to be filmmakers who think this gives a film a cool gritty look.  It looks stupid and incompetent.  Stop using shaky cam.