The Hunger Games

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Post  bookworm on Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:20 pm

I love this READ poster where all three are impossibly the same size.
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Post  Cynara on Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:17 pm

I was like a week late seeing it and can only echo what everyone else has said. I thought it was incredibly well done for a YA book-to-movie adaptation. I have to agree that
Spoiler:
I thought the ending sequence was, comparatively, a total letdown. My favorite part of the book was the fact that they were three inches from death at the end and Peeta is still willing to die for her, and then when he is taken away she flips the fuck out, because even though she's too scared and mostly dead and bitter and confused and sixteen to realize that what she's feeling is actual love, it totally is. Then their reunion on the game show is a huge emotional punch, and that's lacking here. I also think they could have given a little more time in that scene to Haymitch and Cinna being like "You need to pull this off or you will die anyway." JL and JH could have sold the whole thing hardcore and I wish they'd been given the chance.
My theater was chock full, and interestingly there were a lot of middle-aged and older people who obviously were like "Let's see what this Hunger Thing Movie is that nieces/nephews/grandkids keep talking about!" because they had clearly NO IDEA what was going to happen--they gasped a lot and I could hear several near me saying "OH NO" at everything.* But they were just as enthralled as the rest of us. The whole theater was sniffing at the Rue scene.

*Afterwards I heard from behind me "...kids' book." "REALLY?" "Uh huh." "That seems a bit much! Whatever happened to Anne of Green Gables? This was just terrible."

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Post  Gillian on Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:52 pm

Cynara wrote:*Afterwards I heard from behind me "...kids' book." "REALLY?" "Uh huh." "That seems a bit much! Whatever happened to Anne of Green Gables? This was just terrible."
During the Katniss and Rue sequence, I don't remember if it was when
Spoiler:
that kid got his neck snapped, or when Rue died,
a woman behind me let out this hushed, "Oh, this is awful." You could tell she was wondering what she was doing there and why this was all so popular. Hell, even I had a few moments where I was all, "Holy hell, why do I like this?"

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Post  particle_person on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:26 pm

Cynara wrote:*Afterwards I heard from behind me "...kids' book." "REALLY?" "Uh huh." "That seems a bit much! Whatever happened to Anne of Green Gables? This was just terrible."
That made me laugh, because of course it IS terrible. Although calling them kids' books is something I keep hearing and I think it's wrong. (I would never stop anyone of any age from reading anything they wanted to read, but I certainly wouldn't direct anyone under 13 to these.)

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Post  Kiran on Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:25 pm

They were marketed as young adult though.

I do think we tend to forget how scarring kids books can be. I mean Julie of the Wolves is pretty intense. So is Watership Down.
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Post  laddical on Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:33 pm

I see a distinction between "Young Adult" and "Kids", though. Which doesn't negate your point, Kiran, about how scarring even kids entertainment can be (Bambi, Old Yeller, hell, most of the Disney canon to one degree or another). Just that I don't think it's accurate to call The Hunger Games (or the last four Harry Potter novels) "kids books".
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Post  Kiran on Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:41 pm

I get that. I do think though a lot of people forget what kids can handle and what they can't though in general. Which I think you agree with. I almost feel like books like the Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies serve an important purpose in children's and tween and teens development.
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Post  PrincessCleo on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:05 pm

As a pedantic note, what people think of as "kids' books" are either "children's literature" (10 and younger) or "middle grade" (10-12, basically tweens), with "young adult" being marketed from 12/13 to 20. Or such is my understanding. So, technically, the Hunger Games books were marketed to teenagers rather than "kids" (children). I mean, I'm sure tons of younger kids are reading the books, and I'm pretty sure my mother would have let me, but no one was ever advocating it--as opposed to Harry Potter, which started off at a younger reading level and actually kind of let the books grow up with both the characters and the reader. But a ten-year-old who starts reading the HP series now is going to start with a middle-grade book and end up with a book at a young adult reading/content level; THG are pretty much the same teenage/YA level all the way through.
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Post  Kiran on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:08 pm

I agree with you. I think its a bit of a grey area young adult, because like you said it encompasses such a great age range. But I don't think the Hunger Games were marketed to anyone younger then 13.
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Post  particle_person on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:24 pm

Yeah, I was referring to the way people are talking about the books (which I have heard called "kids' books" more than once) rather than how they are marketed, what the author intended, etc.

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Post  PrincessCleo on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:25 pm

Oh, absolutely. I'm just saying, people get the idea that it's "for kids" because most people don't, like, memorize publishing categories.
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Post  particle_person on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:26 pm

(Nod) Yeah.

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Post  Rhilin on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:34 pm

I just saw it today, and I thought it was really well done, with the exception of the shaky cam at the beginning. Seriously, I don't need the camera to jump all over the place while someone is pouring water. It's...fine...but sort of lazy with action scenes. But it was completely unnecessary otherwise and was just dizzy-making.

I don't think they left out anything that would make the film suffer, with the exception of the meaning of the Mockingjay. I felt like they could have done a little more to convey how subversive it was for Katniss to be wearing that pin. The casting was completely spot on, I loved everyone, especially Cinna and Rue.

I've heard rumbling about making the books four movies and...please no. The third book already felt like it was hacked off and expanded from the second book. Unless they completely re-draw where the movies end compared to the books, I have no idea how they'd manage it.

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Post  jcpdiesel21 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:24 pm

Rhilin wrote:I've heard rumbling about making the books four movies and...please no. The third book already felt like it was hacked off and expanded from the second book. Unless they completely re-draw where the movies end compared to the books, I have no idea how they'd manage it.
The latest Entertainment Weekly says that the third book may be divided into two movies. I really hope that this does not happen. I don't see how or why that book merits enough material for two entire films.

Several of the fourth graders that I teach are reading books from this series. The ones that I've seen reading them are mature for their age group and can probably handle the content, but I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of kids so young reading material so deep and disturbing.
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Post  rivki8699 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:23 pm

jcpdiesel21 wrote:
Rhilin wrote:I've heard rumbling about making the books four movies and...please no. The third book already felt like it was hacked off and expanded from the second book. Unless they completely re-draw where the movies end compared to the books, I have no idea how they'd manage it.
The latest Entertainment Weekly says that the third book may be divided into two movies. I really hope that this does not happen. I don't see how or why that book merits enough material for two entire films.

The one way I can see if working is if they fill in all the stuff Katniss was absent for. Which would also handily address many people's complaints about Mockingjay at the same time.
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Post  Gillian on Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:39 pm

jcpdiesel21 wrote:
Rhilin wrote:I've heard rumbling about making the books four movies and...please no. The third book already felt like it was hacked off and expanded from the second book. Unless they completely re-draw where the movies end compared to the books, I have no idea how they'd manage it.
The latest Entertainment Weekly says that the third book may be divided into two movies. I really hope that this does not happen. I don't see how or why that book merits enough material for two entire films.

Several of the fourth graders that I teach are reading books from this series. The ones that I've seen reading them are mature for their age group and can probably handle the content, but I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of kids so young reading material so deep and disturbing.
Yeah, same here. I teach 4th grade, and when a bunch of my kids told me they'd seen the movie, siiiiiigh. I mean, I'm used to them seeing weird shit they're too young for, and at least this is PG-13 (versus the R-rated stuff they always seem to be staying up late to watch with their parents), but it kind of bums me out. They haven't brought up the books at all. I think some of them could handle the violence in the books, but I don't think they'd get the books, you know? I think they'd be much better off waiting until they get to middle school.

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Post  Luthien on Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:29 pm

I'm late to the party, but I just couldn't handle the crowds last week. Things were much more easygoing at the theatre this week: everyone was rushing off to Wrath of the Titans. I was very impressed: a faithful adaptation that was still its own movie. I am completely blown away by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. I feel vindicated: I've been saying to my movie-going buddies for years that that kid from Bridge to Terabithia was going places. (Sadly, this also means that the kid from BtT is grown-up, and I was a grown-up when I went to that movie, so I am now old). Stanley Tucci was awesome, but when is he not? That toady guy next to him in the commentaries was in Ever After and Captain America! I have no idea what his name is, character or actor, but it was a very hey it's that guy moment. Woody Harrelson was a great Haymitch and I can't wait to see him in Catching Fire. I wonder who will play him in the footage of his Hunger Games?

I love Peeta even more now, and he was my favourite character in the entire series (Finnick a close second). I loved how clearly you could see that while Katniss is the survivor, nobody plays the games better than Peeta. It is the Hunger Games, after all. However,
Spoiler:
I was disappointed that they changed things so he didn't lose his leg. To me, that was a significant part of the story: tangible evidence of the price he paid. I was sorry it wasn't there: as mentioned upthread, if How to Train Your Dragon can do it, THG certainly can. I was also disappointed that they didn't use a scene that, to me, was one of the most cinematic in the books: the part immediately after they're airlifted out of the arena, when Katniss pounds on the glass and screams for Peeta over and over before blacking out. I wanted to see more of her emotions for Peeta. If the movie is lacking anything for me, it was in their relationship. I'm not a shippy person and that's not what I wanted, but I think I needed to see more of Katniss's confusion over what she feels for him. It's much clearer in the book due to the first-person present tense narration.

I am so, so glad that this movie was good, and that audiences are responding to it. After all the Twilight insanity, it's a good feeling to sit there knowing that people, especially teens, are into something of quality, that hopefully makes them think deeper about right and wrong, the state of society and the media, justice, and the consequences of choices, rather than just "OMG hot squee!"

To whom or what did Lenny Kravitz sell his soul to look that good at 48?

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Post  oxymoron on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:10 pm

I thought the movie was okay. The actors all did well with what they had.

The pacing was all wrong. But the set up took too long ... by the time we established where Katniss lived and the life she led and then all the other things... by the time the actual games began, I had almost stopped caring. People who clearly had important roles in the books were reduced to ciphers here.

I haven't read the books, and this isn't going to encourage me to do that.

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Post  ActonBell on Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:51 pm

That toady guy next to him in the commentaries was in Ever After and Captain America! I have no idea what his name is, character or actor, but it was a very hey it's that guy moment.

It's Toby Jones, who seems like he's in everything lately. As a huge Doctor Who fan, he'll always be the Dream Lord to me.
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Post  celest on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:53 am

The pacing was all wrong. But the set up took too long ... by the time we established where Katniss lived and the life she led and then all the other things... by the time the actual games began, I had almost stopped caring. People who clearly had important roles in the books were reduced to ciphers here.

That was how the book was set up too. Probably the first two thirds is about Katniss's home life and the time in the Capitol leading up to the Games. I don't think any of the characters, save possibly Haymitch, were given short-shrift. The book is all about Katniss and her inner monologue, and she's got a lot on her mind- which means that she's not very perceptive about the people around her a lot of the time.

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Post  Pop'n'Fresh on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:37 am

I think that's one of the key issues in converting a first person narration book to a film, that you have to take more time to show things. In the book the entire first act is the lead up to the Games and the second and third acts the Games themselves (and aftermath), but Katniss gets taken to the Capitol very quickly and much of the first act is spent preparing for and explaining them. I didn't get the impression of a huge amount of time spent on District 12 or Katniss' home life from the books because it was done so subtly and they got on with the main plot so quickly -- because you can use the character's thoughts to establish the backstory simultaneously. Like you can have Katniss remembering some minor thing from D12 while she's in the middle of the Games and it fleshes out her home life without taking you out of the action. In a film you can't really do that other than with jarring flashbacks. Having Katniss inner-monologuing about Gale while she's with Peeta has a different effect to cutting to Gale watching the Games and clenching his jaw and you can't capture that on film unless you do some tacky voice-over. I thought they did very well converting it, overall.

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Post  swsa on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:15 pm

Other than Jennifer, I didn't care much for this. I agree with others that the pacing felt really off. It was just too long. And there was an overall flatness to most of the Capitol scenes. I really hope they get a huge budget increase for the sequels, because I thought it was very obvious where corners were cut.

I had big time issues with Hutcherson. His Peeta came off as so much more calculating and self-serving than I expected. I just really didn't LIKE the character. And I'm with those who really didn't get a sense of Katniss' feelings for him.
Spoiler:
Her face when she sees Gale at the end had more romantic longing than anything that came before.

I liked the actual games portion of the film. And I thought the
Spoiler:
countdown and the run to the cornucopia were really well done and chilling. Seeing those first kids massacred was really brutal for a PG-13 film.
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Post  oxymoron on Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:07 pm

celest wrote:
The pacing was all wrong. But the set up took too long ... by the time we established where Katniss lived and the life she led and then all the other things... by the time the actual games began, I had almost stopped caring. People who clearly had important roles in the books were reduced to ciphers here.

That was how the book was set up too. Probably the first two thirds is about Katniss's home life and the time in the Capitol leading up to the Games. I don't think any of the characters, save possibly Haymitch, were given short-shrift. The book is all about Katniss and her inner monologue, and she's got a lot on her mind- which means that she's not very perceptive about the people around her a lot of the time.

Well, they either needed to do that more... or switch the narration around. It may work in the book, but I didn't think it worked well in the movie.

About the characters... more time wasn't spent with Rue in the books? She appeared in three? four? scenes in the movie... whatever relationship that was supposed to be between her and Katniss was simply not developed and she just felt like Emotionally Manipultive Cannon Fodder to me.

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Post  Kookla on Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:33 pm

About the characters... more time wasn't spent with Rue in the books? She appeared in three? four? scenes in the movie... whatever relationship that was supposed to be between her and Katniss was simply not developed and she just felt like Emotionally Manipultive Cannon Fodder to me.
I'd have to look at the books to be sure, but I don't think the two of them spent a lot of time together at all. However, Katniss had been narrating about her since pretty much the moment she saw her (because she reminded her of her sister, in age and stature especially), and I assume the instant connection between the two of them on Rue's part was because Rue knew Katniss had volunteered to save her younger sister, so... I think Rue picked up on Katniss being someone to "trust" right away.

I agree that maybe one more scene with Rue could have been good, but I just attributed it to
Spoiler:
driving home that this shit was real, Katniss and Rue may have had more time in another scenario, but not this one where everyone was trying to kill everyone else. I saw it as somewhat less emotionally manipulative that she died so early on, actually. As it is, she serves as Katniss's real first shock as to the reality of the games, but I can imagine if it was down to Rue, Peeta, and Katniss (and Cato perhaps). That would have been manipulative.

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Post  swsa on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:08 pm

Gary Ross is out.
Though recent trade reports have spun the story as being an issue mostly about money, that's pretty much a small part of the motivation. Ross has never been a filmmaker that repeats himself (going from satire in "Pleasantville" to horse racing drama in "Seabiscuit" and action in "The Hunger Games") and we're told the burning desire simply isn't there to spend another couple of years with Katniss in the Capitol (evidently, he also liked the first book best).
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