Yesterday Kathy and I went to the movies for our home-brewed double feature: October Baby and The Hunger Games.
Hey, they were both movies we wanted to see. (To read my review of October Baby, click here)
In case you’ve been away from the internet for a few days, in the near future after a quelled rebellion, the reformed United States now entitled Panem has decreed that as penance, each district must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in a fight to the death until one is left standing called The Hunger Games. In District 12 in the Appalachian area, 12 year old Primrose Everdeen is worried about being selected in her first Reaping (the selection process) Her older sister Katniss assures her she’ll be alright, as this is her first year and her name is only entered once. But the entries are cumulative, with not only an addional entry placed in for each year between 12 and 18, but an additional entry is place for each “tessarae” or food and fuel for each person, and those entries are also cumulative. As Katniss has entries for herself each year and for the tessarae she get for her mother, Prim and herself each year, she has many more entries. If you’ve seen the preview, you know what happens next.
Kathy wasn’t sure about seeing it at first, given the premise of the film. I’m sure what came to mind was Battle Royale, a Japanese film based on the book about a post depression Japan addressing their problems by selecting one high school class to fight to death until one remains. That reminds me, there’s this joke making the rounds of the internet:
So anyway, looking over the first book, I determined that reading the first chapter would give one an idea of whether or not one would like it. It isn’t like other things where one might have to sample more. I gave the example over at Hey, Martha! of Babylon 5 being slow going during the first season, but picking up steam in season 2. Not enough to skip over the first season, but I’d hesitate to recommend watching all of season 1 in the fear of scaring someone away. But chapter one of The Hunger Games book was enough, I think, for someone to determine if interested or not. I asked Kathy to read the first chapter, if she liked it great, if not fine.
She ended up reading 2 chapters one day, then the next two the next.
So with only 4 chapters read, she went to see it, and immediately latched onto a digression between how Katniss obtained the Mockingjay pin in the book and the movie. Only 4 chapters, and she’s an expert. Later on, in the middle of the movie, she needed to go to the bathroom, but didn’t want to leave the movie. Not to tell tales out of school, but to let you know I think she liked the movie. Unfortunately, she left at a bad time, as something important happens. But even with a two and a half hour running time, the story is lean enough to not have any slow points. However, there were some important details left out that while it didn’t serve the immediate story in The Hunger Games, it does come into play in the trilogy. Plus, there were a couple of points Kathy wasn’t clear on that were clearer in the book.
For those that hate the shakycam effect, it does come into play at certain points in the film. While it does illustrate Katniss’ confusion and disorientation at certain points in the story, it might make some uneasy or queasy. I might suggest sitting further back from the screen. Worth going to see now. While I love IMAX, we just went to a regular theatre due to current financial constraints. I don’t think it would be worth the extra expense. Then again, we’re planning to see The Avengers in IMAX, and some book fans who aren’t necessarily comic fans might feel the opposite. Just a point.