The inevitable Hunger Games thread

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One thing that's gnawed at me about the Hunger Games world, though: How big are each of the districts? I know District 12 is supposed to be one of the smaller ones, but in both the books and the movie, it feels more like a single town than an entire state/province. Did whatever calamity that befell civilization long ago wipe out most of the continent's population?

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Friday, 23 March 2012 22:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think so?

catbus otm (gbx), Friday, 23 March 2012 22:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

also I did not know that about the word "panem"! thanks based spreadsheet

catbus otm (gbx), Friday, 23 March 2012 22:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

I haven't read the books but i found this to be a real slog. Didn't know the running time going in but i did have a sneaking suspicion that it would be long cos these things generally are. 2 hours and 22 minutes though? Such a shoddily conceived future too.

Number None, Friday, 23 March 2012 23:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

apparently the future is a duran duran video

diamanda ram dass (Edward III), Saturday, 24 March 2012 01:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

what in god's name is this whole phenomenon? it seems i can't get away from it--on the bus, on the train, in a bookstore, in the rain...

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Saturday, 24 March 2012 03:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

teenage nation. vile.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 24 March 2012 03:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

STAY HUNGRY

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 24 March 2012 04:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

i liked this; jennifer lawrence is pretty amazing in it, she definitely elevates the movie.

akm, Saturday, 24 March 2012 04:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

I thought Prue was great, I wish they'd given her more time early in the movie to establish why she was ranked high and attached her self to Jennifer Lawrence, but tbh I did envision her as the albino crazy girl from Harry Potter. Lenny Kravitz was fantastic, dude just has so much charisma.

Movie felt like it took forever, over-explained a bunch at the beginning and kind of botched any of the mental battles Jennifer Lawrence's character goes through in the book.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Saturday, 24 March 2012 06:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Think it kind of fails as a dystopia - the Capitol wackiness is overdone (book and film), and generally I think techno-dystopias need to be fraying at the edges. Like, Blade Runner has amazing future-tech (aside from tiny CRT screens everywhere) but it's dirty and off enough that you know this isn't a future promised land.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Saturday, 24 March 2012 06:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

also, the shakey cam was out of control in this

Number None, Saturday, 24 March 2012 10:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

loved the movie, feel like it "fixed" all the things i disliked about the book. we're not trapped in katniss's first-person present-tense narration so we get all this new material, like the game-maker's headquarters, president snow's strategizing, the riot in rue's district, etc. book-katniss has to kind of guess what's going on or hear about it second-hand in future books, and it always felt flat and less than lifelike to me. seeing it all as it was happening was awesome and gave a much fuller sense of the actual world and stakes.

i'm cool that we lost most of katniss's mental battles in the movie version because i found book-katniss to be pretty unlikable, tbh. maybe it's a cop-out to make her more noble/less flawed here, but i actually gave a shit about her + her family in the movie while i was always annoyed by her in the book. part of that was jennifer lawrence being really compelling in the role, but it helped that they pared down the "katniss acts fakey cheerful/schmoopy with peeta for the cameras" to the bare minimum. when she did "act" she seemed genuinely conflicted and confused about her own true emotions, and it played off nicely imo.

rue's death scene was devastating. i kept waiting for it to be over so i could get a handle on my emotions, but then they cut to the district saluting, and then rioting, and then they cut back to katniss full-on sobbing in the forest...aghhhhhh

techno pink (reddening), Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

but then they cut to the district saluting

this bit made me genuinely tear up. it might be katniss' story but rue is really the heart of the film.

would've liked, perhaps, a bit of focus on the tv audience reactions - it's taken as a given that a "romance" will boost ratings but i'd have liked to actually see that happen - maybe to see the gamemakers talk about how ratings were going up or down, or maybe to see the action as it was broadcast on tv.

also, the shakey cam was out of control in this

it made someone i went with feel seasick - i thought it was a little overdone but also very effective in ratcheting up the tension - when she hallucinates and when her hearing goes you really feel how vulnerable she is.

lex pretend, Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

I presume part of the reason it was in there was to avoid showing too much violence but it was still annoying. The one moment i enjoyed in this was "Peeta" doing his camouflage thing, which looked hilarious. He was such a drip

Number None, Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

feel like these books could conceivably make good movies, sadly

thomp, Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

many xps John, that was a good article! (also "thank you based spreadsheet" made me LOL)

carl agatha, Saturday, 24 March 2012 12:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks!

Yeah, I liked all those backstage scenes -- cool to see the HG command center, and the convos between Snow and Seneca were nicely effective (esp. in terms of foreshadowing future events). I do, however, think that the absence of an interior monologue makes the Katniss-Peeta relationship harder to read. In the book, it seems pretty clear that her affections toward him in the arena are all for show (or at least that's what she tells herself); I wasn't sure the film made that clear.

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Saturday, 24 March 2012 17:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

actually i think that was one of the better aspects, keeping it fairly ambiguous

Number None, Saturday, 24 March 2012 17:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, maybe.

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Saturday, 24 March 2012 17:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

I couldn't remember whether the "deprived future = clothes revert to the Great Depression" was actually that explicit in the book.

I thought the shaky cam was a cheap but effective way of raising tension and uncertainty, I was terrified in places despite the fact that it was a very faithful adapation, no plot surprises really.

Also very good at the Reaping, the sense of "Oh shit this is going to happen and we can't do anything about it, oh shit this is actually happening to me" - the handling of shock really reminded me of something - I actually want to say Saving Private Ryan?

Also very good with the hallucination effects! Though I was amused that the hallucinatory effects may include exposition.

Andrew Farrell, Saturday, 24 March 2012 17:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

also, the shakey cam was out of control in this

otm! it's a difficult balance tho. i wanted some actual wide, steady shots as opposed to the ridiculous all-claustrophobic-closeups-all-the-time shakey cam. but that could either result in a beautifully shot film that presents its world definitively, or it could be corny as fuck. (speaking of which, they should've upped the roy-battiness of cato's monologue at the end by a million)

as someone who's never read the books, i'm sure i'd have more problems with it if i'd read the books. it seemed like they skimmed over a lot of decent character stuff in order to hit all the right points. went by very fast; wasn't confusing but it didn't really get very deep into anything. and there were obviously a lot of actual statements for the film to make, but it didn't really try to be plain about any of them. like most of the HP films, it was just content to transfer the scenes to screen in a manageable way, rather than trying to transport themes in a way that would let them shine cinematically. bleh. also, really surprised that they hardly showed the broadcast itself. how can you avoid showing the audience how the narrative is being edited and presented?

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 19:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

on the plus side, tucci is the best

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 19:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

also, why did they have to make katniss white, GOD

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

the tooch! didn't even know he was in it.

horseshoe, Saturday, 24 March 2012 19:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

he's the future-seacrest. highlight of the film imo.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 19:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

In the book, it seems pretty clear that her affections toward him in the arena are all for show (or at least that's what she tells herself); I wasn't sure the film made that clear.

― Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Saturday, March 24, 2012 10:08 AM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Ha, saw this yesterday morning but never read the books. I had no idea her affection for the blonde dood was fake, taking all my knowledge of the story straight from the film.

musicfanatic, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tooch is badass in this. I was sold on him after his amazing performance in an otherwise terrible "The Lovely Bones". Hope he gets more leading man roles.

Also, jokes on me for rolling my eyes while watching the HG trailer and seeing freaking Lenny Kravitz in it. He was great.

musicfanatic, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

i have only ever seen lenny kravitz in two films and in both cases i only realised it was him days after i'd seen it

lex pretend, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've never read the books, but in their favor, they've got to be better than this unfortunately mostly boilerplate movie. I honesty did like that it erred on the side of boring rather than non-stop action. Liked Lenny Kravitz and Woody in this a lot, because they had flair, but didn't really like too much else, but I can only imagine it's because they didn't develop anyone terribly. This may be the most annoying dystopian future, too.

Book readers: what do the people at home watch? Because I kept wondering what they were actually watching, or why anyone would actually watch it. Like, would a put-upon home viewer appreciate the game-runner people cheating or playing dirty? Or do they not know about that? And why do they make a big deal about attracting sponsorships? Does that deus ex machina stuff play a bigger role in future books? Also, why do they care about ratings, when the president concedes the whole deal is about instilling false hope? Who would benefit from high ratings, exactly?

However, I did have a great time pretending this was some surreal sequel to "Winter's Bone," the "Babe 2: Pig in the City" to "Babe."

(I should not that the movie did make me want to read the book, tbh.)

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

actually i think that was one of the better aspects, keeping it fairly ambiguous

I concur with this. Really, really hoping the love-triangle aspect will continue to be understated as opposed to significantly ramped up in the sequels.

Simon H., Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I also thought Tucci was superb.

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Like, would a put-upon home viewer appreciate the game-runner people cheating or playing dirty? Or do they not know about that? And why do they make a big deal about attracting sponsorships? Does that deus ex machina stuff play a bigger role in future books? Also, why do they care about ratings, when the president concedes the whole deal is about instilling false hope? Who would benefit from high ratings, exactly?

this is stuff i wanted to know too, though re: the third question - it's the sponsors who send packages of eg medicine in those little parachutes (the film doesn't show this, i've just been, uh, spending a lot of time reading up on the hunger games universe today)

(i think the audiences are aware of the gamekeepers' role - also, apparently there was a former contestant who went completely savage and resorted to cannibalism in the arena - this, it's implied, would be frowned on, so he was killed in an avalanche that most people suspect was deliberately engineered by the gamekeepers)

lex pretend, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, saw this today and really liked it.

Was a bit shocked at how young kids are seeing this in the cinema. Maybe I'm a complete wimp, but I found this edge of the seat violently shocking in places.

Bob Six, Saturday, 24 March 2012 20:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

bob six: i read a review bemoaning the lack of gore, and i think that's silly. it's like a new industry requirement that YA adaptations, even if they're PG-13 by necessity, have to majorly appeal to children. i have trouble seeing this as an "adult" film. but i was still surprised, i never thought that the book was actually Children Killing Each Other: The Book, i figured the kids all teamed up to fight the evil adults or w/e.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 21:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

also re: above, felt like the implication was that the govt is highly commercialized/partnered with corporations, but i might be projecting.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Saturday, 24 March 2012 21:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is stuff i wanted to know too, though re: the third question - it's the sponsors who send packages of eg medicine in those little parachutes (the film doesn't show this, i've just been, uh, spending a lot of time reading up on the hunger games universe today)

This is more than sufficiently implied in the film, though some might have been thrown off by the attached notes from Haymitch.

Simon H., Saturday, 24 March 2012 21:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah I was thrown off by the notes. I didn't realize that Woody was lobbying for them. I just thought he was the one sending the stuff.

Also couldn't tell how big the arena was. I wish I had a sense of how Katniss was being seen by others, to see how she was or was not portrayed.

What I preferred about The Running Man was how the game-runners, who had total control of the media/viewers, had no trouble "pausing" the game and interfering. Like, they knew it was rigged, just as this "show" could have rigged any conclusion it wanted. Seemed weird that the Hunger Games wouldn't be similarly rigged. Also, couldn't believe that this barbaric, blatant bit of plebe manipulation could have possibly made it 74 iterations of whatever, considering just this one alone was enough to send that one District batshit rebellion. But I suppose this is neither here nor there.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 24 March 2012 21:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

mick signals, Saturday, 24 March 2012 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

BTW, there was plenty of gore in this. Just because it was depicted subtly doesn't mean anyone would miss the gist of viscous blood spraying across the screen or bloody weapons being bashed about.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 24 March 2012 22:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I really enjoyed this! I read a couple of chapters of the book and really kind of hated how it was written, felt like the movie was a more pleasant way to follow the story.

But I hated, HATED, the smashed-in closeups/shakeycam. In the pulling the names out of the bowl scene it was so annoying, like I don't want to see Elizabeth Bank's goddamn lips! Or part of her hair and the corner of someone else's face. FRAME THE BLOODY SHOT. But more so in the action sequences, it was almost impossible to tell where anyone was in relation to each other when fighting, it was way too Bourne for my liking in that regard.

But the Katniss girl was fantastic. Nice and stoic, vulnerable, all the right notes. And so pretty. My mother-inlaw and Mr Veg both read the books and really enjoyed the movie too, Mr Veg even cried when Rue died <3

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 24 March 2012 22:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

What are the odds that the same actress would play two squirrel-killing, Appalachian dwelling, look out for her sibling' 'cause her mom is no use sorts in two very different movies based on two very different books?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 24 March 2012 23:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

I thought it would be more interesting if Katniss had to, at some point in the story, fight someone who wasn't obviously a "bad guy" (ie those 1st-2nd district peeps). Seemed the relatively good or morally neutral people were killed off by some combination of nature/show manipulation/bad guys.

musicfanatic, Saturday, 24 March 2012 23:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

What are the odds that the same actress would play two squirrel-killing, Appalachian dwelling, look out for her sibling' 'cause her mom is no use sorts in two very different movies based on two very different books?

lol I definitely had the same thought. her whole character introduction seemed to have been deliberately modeled on Winter's Bone.

Simon H., Saturday, 24 March 2012 23:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

What are the odds that the same actress would play two squirrel-killing, Appalachian dwelling, look out for her sibling' 'cause her mom is no use sorts in two very different movies based on two very different books?

― Josh in Chicago, Saturday, March 24, 2012 7:16 PM (26 minutes ago)

lol, was talking to a hunger games fan today and I started describing winter's bone, got halfway thru before realizing they're the same character

diamanda ram dass (Edward III), Saturday, 24 March 2012 23:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

in the book, the District citizens are forced to watch the Hunger Games telecast in order to further grind them down; when they talk about "ratings" i think they're just talking about the Capitol viewers. some people have said (and i agree) that it kind of doesn't make sense that "you sit there and watch your children die" = a cowed populace, because if anything is going to inspire you to rebel, it's your children dying, right? idk.

it's also a little cheap that these Games have been going on for 74 years, but no tribute has ever tried to kill the assholes sitting ten feet away judging their use of weaponry, and apparently there's no contingency plan in place for tributes becoming suicidal. in the book they were like "don't do anything stupid or they'll kill your whole family," but even with that caveat i have to believe SOMEONE has tried it in the past 74 years.

techno pink (reddening), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol I was sitting there thinking, yeah this whole teaching the populace a lesson for rebelling by killing their children every year has got to bite them on the ass eventually.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm two chapters in, and apparently they're kept obedient by the constant threat of having their whole district obliterated, though you'd think that'd be enough already without the hunger games.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

also dear god suzanne collins' writing style is the worst

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

I couldn't hang

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:44 (2 years ago) Permalink


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