AHHHHHHHHHH! THE HUNGER GAAAAAAMESSSSSS! I haven’t actually seen it yet, but apparently everyone else has. It took in more than 155 million dollars, which is SO MANY MILLIONS of dollars, making it the third biggest opening weekend ever, and the biggest opening weekend on a spring weekenzzzzzzzzzzz. That stuff is boring, but the point is that everyone loves The Hunger Games. Sure! Your mom texted you this weekend and was like “DO U THINK GALE WILL EVER FORGIVE CATNESS?” followed by a string of sadface emoji. I’ll see it eventually, although I’m never really that clear on why movie adaptations of wildly successful books make people so excited. You already read the book, right? So you know what’s going to happen. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s costume parade through The Capital, I’m just saying it’s a little odd to go in with a head that is FALLING OFF but also FULL OF SPOILERS. As an adult man, I haven’t have read all three of the books, so I can’t, wait, what? How did that happen? Not important. Don’t worry about it. Adult stuff. Shhh. But so, I can speak to one thing, at least, about the out-of-control success of this movie, which is that just 11 years ago a movie came out called Battle Royale that was pretty similar in a bunch of ways, but that movie was BANNED. It just goes to show you how quickly our communal attitudes towards Forced Child Slaughter can change. And also how much it helps the Box Office Revenue for the people to be doing the killing/dying to be white. How big of a help? Banned vs. 155 million dollars difference.


Comments (96)
  1. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about… I played Hungry Hungry Hippos as a child, too, but I honestly don’t see how that could be interesting for 2 hours.

  2. Maybe people go after they’ve read the book because they want to see if the movie did anything differently. Not all adaptations are faithful! Forrest Gump gets made fun of a lot these days, but it would have been INFINITELY WORSE if they had been faithful to the book and included the parts where he went into space, lived with monkeys, and became a grand chessmaster who won a match by farting.

    • I read somewhere that audiences apparently enjoy things more when they already know what happens in it or something like that.

      But yeah, as a comic book reader I can attest that when a comic book is adapted to film/television, I want to see how they did it and what they included/excluded. With comic books especially, the adaptations are usually sub-par (Ghost Rider, Daredevil, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Fantastic Four, Batman & Robin Forever, Catwoman, Elektra, From Hell, X-Men: Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Superman III, Spider-Man 3, The Spirit, Jonah Hex, Howard the Duck, Green Lantern, Steel, Wanted, Timecop, Barb Wire, Tank Girl, Son of the Mask, Judge Dredd, Priest, The Punisher, etc etc)

  3. Poor John Carter.

  4. Ladies, can we talk about Peeta for a hot second? By hot second I mean all day.

  5. I’m really excited to see all the kids with their silver parachute tattoos in a few months. Or two years from now because reading? Nope.

  6. Didn’t see it because I watched THE RAID!

  7. i watched battle royale again this weekend! and it’s still pretty similar and good! and i read this whole thing about how the director for the film worked in a munitions factory when he was a teenager during WWII in japan, and one of his jobs was to take a wheelbarrow around after bombings and pick up body parts for disposal. which. whoa.

  8. I have a feeling we’ll have this same exact discussion once “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” comes out. Was it a faithful adaptation of the book? Did reading the book spoil the movie? Was there enough forced child slaughter?

  9. It’s funny you asked what my mom thought, because I went to see it with her! She didn’t like it all that much because she is a book purist. I thought it was a very good adaptation, and I liked that they added some “behind the scenes with the gamemakers” stuff that wasn’t in the books to give it a little more context. Also, HELLO Wes Bentley! I forgot he existed. My mom asked who he was and I said “He’s the guy who loved the plastic bag.”

    My biggest complaint is that the kid they cast as Gale looked like a happy-go-lucky doofus for most of the movie, except of course when he had to watch Katniss and Peeta making out in the cave and he had to go sit in the meadow and cry or whatever.

  10. It was okay. I’m a huge fan of awful dystopian future settings in films, and there were parts were I felt a little angered by how awful those Capitol people were, but the actual game was pretty boring. Too high school cliquey for me, and I know that these books are aimed at young adults (haha, that’s a word). But computer dogs, super bees, and magic band-aid cream? No thank you. My “last child standing” suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

    • i am reading this book right now called cities under siege, which is this kinda dense but totally accessible book about the urban future and the war on terror. and the section i am on right now is all about nano technology and the rise of robotic battlefields, and right now we have the technology, and i quote, “researchers are growing insects with electronics inside them. They’re creating cyborg moths and flying beetles that can be remotely controlled… as well as carrying microsurveillance systems able to permeate and permanently inhabit any adversary city, it is envisaged that ruch swarming systems might eventually deploy kinds of micro-scale weaponry [including] bio-weapons”.


      • I love everything nano. I was totally cool at the time when the bees we introduced, but then when I saw that lady make a dog on her iPad3, that’s when i was like, “SEE YA!”

        “Oh, this old thing? The killer dog from “Hulk”? Yeah, it was in my sketch book and never really got around to bio-engineering it.”

        • i mean, i haven’t seen the movie yet (planning on going once i turn in my first draft of my stupid thesis as a reward), so i don’t know how they handled it in the film. my one critique in general of the book and film is that the technology that the capitol developed was never fully reflected in how they actually dealt with their occupation of the districts. like, their occupation tactics were lazy as fuck. if you have the ability to genetically engineer dogs, you basically have the technology to genetically engineer and control populations, so suzanne collins really needed to align her depictions of the districts.

        • Ugh…. that was terrible. It’s like they couldn’t figure out how to bring the characters together at the end to have a climax. Although they could have just had them, like, bump into eachother in the woods. That would have worked. But I guess badly rendered CG pit bulls was the better way to go.

    • Instead of “young adults” I think we should all just start saying “old teenagers”.

  11. I liked the movie a lot.

  12. Didn’t know anything going in. I was the oldest non-parent in the theater and had an overwhelming urge to start selling bad pot, but other than that, it was great.

  13. Can we talk about how terrible the CGI was? Like, when the tracker jacker nest explodes, I thought I was watching a 1989 WonderWorks for PBS production.

  14. I have my last university exam EVER (!!!!!!)(unless I go to law school) on April 12 so I can’t do anything fun until that’s over. A bunch of others who haven’t read the book yet and I are all going to start reading it April 12 and go see the movie a week later (I understand it’s a quick read?). I hadn’t even heard of it before all the “OMG adapting the Hunger Games” nonsense started, but it looks really good! And Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz! Those two beauties together on screen would be enough to make me go see pretty much anything.

  15. I saw it and I loved it. However, I was reminded why I normally only go to movies after they’ve been out for a while and on a random weekday when most people are at work or school. Case in point: the morbidly obese couple in front of me who could barely fit in their seats and were feeding each other popcorn and candy. Not just shoveling it in their own mouths, but reaching over and placing it in the others. Sooooooooo groooooooooooooossssssssssssss. And then I wondered if I was the bad person because I was bothered more by that than the fact that kids were killing each other on screen. BUT, that was fake and this other shit was real and in my face and disgusting. Please, whether you’re fat, skinny, ugly, attractive – don’t feed each other in public. The more you know.

  16. There are some spoilers here, if that matters to you.

    I thought it was good! I cried a couple of times (The Reaping, Rue), I laughed a couple times (Stanley Tucci), and I was overall pleased with it. I was surprised at how much harder I found it to watch the violence on the screen than it was to read it in the book. The trackerjacker part was rough. Also, I audibly gasped when Cato snapped that kids’ neck after Katniss blew up their supplies.

    Overall, I think that was pretty much what I had hoped it would be. There were a few things I wished had been developed a little more (mostly her relationship with Gale), but I thought it was a fine way to spend an evening and $10.

    • Pretty much word for word how I felt about this movie.

    • I actually felt disconnected from the violence in some way. When I was reading it, there were moments when I was chilled to the bone at the brutality. But I never really felt that in the movie much. Maybe it had something to do with the very fast editing? Or maybe I just need to see it again.

    • Yeah, the neck snap was the most shocking moment that I could see coming a mile way. Like, I was sure the kid was a goner after that, but see a kid do that to a much smaller, younger one was so brutal.

  17. Like I said last week, Alfonso Cuaron should’ve directed it. Take all of the tension and dread from Children of Men, add in the teen angst of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and you’ve got the perfect tone for the series. It was an alright movie, but didn’t leave a knot in my stomach the way the books did. Also, holy crap some of the CGI was shoddy. The chariot scene? Pretty awful.

  18. I saw this in a theater in Williamsburg that was full of Adults and drank a Boozy Root Beer Float. Perhaps this is the alcohol talking (and the child free theater) but I enjoyed it immensely. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the costuming and makeup. I could have dealt withsome casting changes like a less constipated looking Peeta and a rougher looking Gale but all in all a fun movie going experience.

  19. The best part was the 15 second trailer for the next TWILIGHT, when a lone fay voice at the back of the theatre blurted, “OMG WHEEEEEE!”

  20. I didn’t like this movie, guys. Disclaimer I haven’t read the books and saw it on a whim because it clearly is going to be culturally relevant.

    I like the premise. I think the fact that it is LITERALLY filled with Deus Ex Machina’s hurt it a lot though. Like, I want to see the moral ramifications of these kids having to kill each other or die. Instead, the people running the game throw in fire and CG wolves to ‘spice up’ the games.

    Katniss was the only character I gave a shit about, and she was (mostly) given an out when it comes to having to kill anyone, which is where the premise would have been the most interesting.

    Overall there were so many cheesy lines and moments. The Katniss/Peeta (which I thought his name was Peter the whole movie and people were just saying it weird) relationship was confusing. Like, did she actually like him or was she trying to get sponsors by playing it up? When knife girl (TM) tried to stab her face multiple times why did she stop and monologue when she had the knife to her throat and could easily murder her? Why was this dystopian future filled with green/blue/pink hair? What the fuck does having these Hunger Games have to do with stopping another rebellion from happening? (The whole back story for why the games happen was really stupid)

    In conclusion a very interesting premise done poorly.

    • Ah I was typing my comment forever but the Katniss/Peeta thing is addressed in the book. Actually a lot of your points are addressed in the series, I think, so if you have a week(end?) to spare you could knock them out pretty quickly. And you might still have criticisms after reading, but those points at least are answered.

      • Yeah I read stuff about the book after seeing the film to try and understand it better, and it just made me angry that some of the more interesting aspects of the story (Katniss playing up her relationship with Peeta to get sponsors, her relationship with Rue, etc) were lessened in the film. I know there’s a whole discussion about adapting novels that could happen here, but all I know is the film was weak. Perhaps fans of the book still enjoyed it, but as a film it’s not very good.

        • i just upvoted you to try to even things out, because you make some awesome points. Apparently there is a diehard fan downvoting all the (sort of) negative comments on here.

          • I expected that to happen, and I don’t really mind, I care more about the discussion than the arbitrary internet points.

            That said, I’d love to hear some rebuttals from those that disagree rather than just hiding behind the ol’ downvote button!

        • In our group of grown childless adults, the people who hadn’t read the book were far and away the most traumatized by the movie. Which, maybe means they “enjoyed” the child murder the least but liked the movie more?

          Like you, the readers in the group, were mostly perplexed at the plot restructuring (esp. shortchanging her scenes with Rue and minimizing the development of her fake love for Peeta) and relative movement of so much of the blood and brutality off screen.

        • I agree that they seemed to leave out some really important parts of the books. I thought the acting was really great (the face Peeta/Josh makes when he gets “reaped”… oh man, he sold that (I thought)) and overall I thought the movie was pretty well done, but I also think that they could have showed more of Katniss manipulating the audience to get what she needed- those parts showed how clever she was at playing the game her way. I also really wished they had done more to show (a) Katniss starting to have feelings of closeness for Peeta, whether it’s romantic or not- she obviously cared about him in the books which I didn’t think really came across in the movie and (b) how emotionally screwed up they were when they came out of the arena (for those who have read the books, I think they could have shown Peeta being much more hurt by the muttations and then Katniss freaking out when she gets separated from him after they get pulled out of the arena).

    • This sort of hits on the problems I had with the movie.

      My main problem: it seemed like the director was assuming everyone in the audience had read the books. The primary example would be the (spoiler?) death of Rue. If you had not read the book, should the 5 minutes (movie time) that Katniss and Rue spent together really give you the sense that Rue’s death would have that kind of impact on Katniss? It was a nice scene and all, but it seemed like undeserved payoff.

      Oh yeah, and that fire…the worst. Whatever the special effects budget for this movie was, it was apparently not enough. That, or they spent it all on the ‘Minority Report’ control room.

      • the effects totally felt circa 1999, it was pretty bad. I wanna know what they spent the budget on instead. The overall design of the movie was not very good, except for district 12. that felt pretty dead on.

      • The Rue thing was understandable because they had already built up Katniss’ relationship with her little sister. So the brief time with Rue made it clear that she was being treated as a surrogate little sister. Maybe it’s just me, but I liked that the movie seemed to be content with being subtle, actually showing stuff instead of just telling you. It’s not going to have the same time as a book does. Hell, they cut stuff out of Game of Thrones, and they had an entire season of 1 hour episodes for a single book. So stuff will get cut. But, they were able to, at least for one person who read nothing of the books, get across most of those things in a short period of time through quiet moments and meaningful looks, etc.

    • From someone who hasn’t read the series either, just saw the movie once.

      A – It’s a reality TV satire. The relationship thing mirrors the kind of contrived relationships that happen in reality TV. Putting people in an unnatural situation, and ‘encouraging’ them to act a certain way to please the audience, especially mixing in teenage hormones, and one actually has feelings for the other, etc … something is bound to happen.

      B – The monologuing is something that basically all villains do, it’s not really limited to this film. That and, again, it’s reality TV. So even the “villains” need to play things up for the camera in their quest for sponsors/ratings.

      C – It’s not so dystopian for the multicolored hair people. The “rich” have over the top fashion in the vein of Brazil. The “rich/1%” have embraced excess and artificiality, while the real people are out there doing the mining and the farming in relative poverty.

      D – The “concept” of the anti-rebellion is that, it’s a punishment for the old rebellion. The ability of the state to take 2 kids from each district is an implicit reminder they could just go in and kill ALL of them if they really wanted to. And, if they did have a full blown civil war, many more kids would die. It’s meant to act, in part, as an outlet. Just like people get their violent urges fufilled by watching movies, or sports, but also reminding people “if you go to war, it’s going to be like this but worse”. Since it’s been going on for 74 years at the time of the movie, it’s obvious that at this point, the society is doing it more out of tradition and because they’ve built an infrastructure around it instead of it being something that is actual useful.

      It’s sort of a future Rome concept, with a decadent capital fed by poor/slave terratories, and violent ‘entertainment’ meant to pacify the masses and avoid rebellion.

      • A- But they didn’t make it clear that (according to the source material) Katniss was using Peeta. I thought she was genuinely falling for him.

        B- All villains do it but it’s such a worn out trope that it’s silly to see ever since it was explicitly satired in The Incredibles. She would have killed Katniss multiple times already if she hadn’t dodged/blocked the attack, and then she gets in a position where she could easily slit her throat and she stops to mock her. I just didn’t buy it, especially after the admittedly brilliant scene when the games started and tons of kids got killed quickly and easily.

        C- I mean, I kind of got that but it just seemed artificial, like it wasn’t done with a clear intention in mind but more of a ‘this world is so much more different than ours! Look at the crazy colors!’ But that’s less of a legitimate complaint and more a confusion/nitpick on my part.

        D- I get the rebellion backstory, I just don’t buy it would happen. In fact the scene of District 11 rioting was something I would have liked to see more of, and the effect the Games have on the poorer districts. It was hinted at but never really fully realized.

        Again I found the concept really intriguing and the execution really poor.

  21. Everyone in my theater (besides me and my friend) cheered when Clove died, which I thought was ironic. And Rue’s death reminded me of Dobby’s–you could hear people crying all over the room.

    I thought it was great. Like catweazle said, it was cool to see the gamemakers at work. I wish we could have seen Katniss’s hesitation, I guess, her confusion about her feelings for Peeta, but I don’t know how that could have translated to film. But I’ll probably see it in the theater again.

    • I agree with you about seeing Katniss’ hesitation. But I can’t come up with a way to have done that without it feeling forced, and they can’t talk about it outloud because they’re being filmed the whole time. In the book you know about it because it is written in first person, and Katniss sits in trees and thinks a lot. Having someone sit in a tree and think would not have worked in this movie.

  22. I was sitting next to a child who provided running commentary through the whole movie. My favorites were when Prim’s cat hissed at Katniss (“That’s not what I thought Buttercup would look like!”) and when he called Peeta a stalker.

    • I saw Monsters vs Aliens in 3D in a theatre with another adult, and they had to stop the film halfway through because there was a problem so while we were waiting for them to restart it the 5-6 yr old kid in front of me is freaking out about how awesome it is “OH MAN AND THEN THE BALL CAME FLYING AT MY FACE AND I TOTALLY THOUGHT THE BALL WAS ACTUALLY FLYING AT MY FACE AND IT WAS LIKE BAM! POW!” and making explosion noises or whatever, and then he suddenly got really thoughtful and said “I also thought the colour palette was excellent.” Sometimes kids in movie theatres are the absolute best.

  23. I thought we agreed not to feed the hype machines. I will not see the Hungry Game movie. I will not see it on a boat and I will not eat it with a goat.

  24. The movie, on the whole was pretty ok. I liked Stanley Tucci best.

    Nothing in the world has ever been more unintentionally hilarious than Rock Face though.
    [img src="http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1cpdmtZpU1qf22sgo1_500.jpg "]


  25. I thought the movie was a pretty good adaptation. Jennifer Lawrence was perfect casting for Katniss and she is really the only character that matters for getting it right on screen. I think the only failing of the movie is that since the books are written from Katniss’ perspective, they are a lot more emotionally focused and though Lawrence acted her face off displaying Katniss’ strength, confusion, and vulnerability, it’s harder to convey her motivations clearly without the actual narration. Her entire relationship was Peeta in the film was very hard to follow without her inner monologue. I don’t really fault the movie for that because it’s a huge challenge for the film regardless of who directed it, but it’s too bad as that was one of the most compelling things for me about the story.

    I thought the direction for the Capitol in the movie was really interesting. I was picturing kind of Future Versailles as I read the book, and the movie went with Art Deco future meets 1980s excesses. That’s a pretty good choice considering the 1980s was quite a time in America for the excesses of the rich.

    ANYWAY those decrying the hype are boring me and will not detract from my enjoyment! Teen entertainment moniker be damned, this movie was awesome.

  26. i was surprised that nobody killed themselves in protest. like, isn’t that the obvious choice if you’re a subjugated peoples forced to engage in kiddie bloodsport?

    • Maybe not if your whole district is counting on you to win them the stuff they need to survive the winter? See also: the end of this movie with the berries.

    • There seems to be something about how not participating in the big show means that your starving family/district is further tortured?

    • If you win, your district gets gifts throughout the year. Not that that’s much incentive, but I think the bigger incentive is living and also supporting your family. I also think that if you killed yourself, the family would get punished somehow…

  27. I really liked it! I enjoyed reading the trilogy (I actually liked the final book the least), and I thought this adaptation was well-done. Lots of comparison to The Lottery and Battle Royale, of course, but I thought this was a respectable effort and I can see myself watching it again. The relationship between Katniss and Cinna was especially sweet, I thought. I also liked the visuals of the Gamemakers and their involvement in the minute-to-minute “rigging” of the event. I’m not sure I understand why Katniss got the pin from the black market in District 12 instead of from the mayor’s daughter like in the book? But it didn’t detract from the story in a major way I don’t guess. And Jennifer Lawrence acted her ass off. Overall, A for Effort!

    • I didn’t read the books but I will guess they didn’t have the mayor’s daughter give her the pin because that would take 2-3 minutes longer to set up and deliver: introduce the mayor, introduce his daughter, have the daughter slip her the pin — and then you have to worry that you are confusing the audience, as in “Wait, I thought the government was bad, but if the mayor’s family is helping, then maybe it’s not all bad.” In the flea market the “government vs poor” theme stays pristine and the whole thing is done in 30 seconds — which really makes a difference, because the editors basically sit in a room with stopwatches as they cut scenes together, terrified of every minute the movie runs past 120.

      • Yeah, I get that, it was surely just to clean things up, but later on the mayor and his daughter do come into play in the plot a bit more (no spoilers) and so I’m just curious as to how/when that will happen on screen.

        As I said though, I didn’t think it was a major detractor! I can’t wait to get my Effie Trinket Halloween costume! :)

      • That is literally why. I read a bunch of interviews bc no duh I enjoy the Hunger Games. I thought they did a remarkable job of balancing the impending revolutions with just seeds of disdain through characters.

        Also Stanley Tucci was the fucking best. Holy wow. That guy is very good at acting.

  28. The movie was OK, although I definitely kept saying “Well, that’s now how it played out in the book!” or “they totally left out this part!” but I did enjoy it. The romantic interludes killed the momentum though, but I already knew that going in. I’m much more excited for Catching Fire, as the second book was much more fast-paced and I imagine the arena set will be done really well.

  29. I really REALLY liked it. Also, the boy that I went on a date with was like “What should we do?” and I said “Want to get drunk and watch teens kill each other?” and he said, “YES.” And then I said, “It’s in a movie.” And then then said, “Oh, okay.”

    He might be a keeper.

  30. The Gozar CGI dogs were awful. That is probably the only not nice thing I have to say about the movie. But there’s no way they could have translated that scene and had it make sense. Plus I sort of imagined fucked up Golden Retrievers and dogs that kind of looked like their human counterparts as the muttations.

    But holy fuck that acting was amazing. Even the last kid who was super pissed at being a career district guy was great.

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  32. So disappointed that they didn’t keep in all the, “OMG KATNISS, you and PEETA are like tots BFF’s when you’re in public”, and KATNISS is all, “WHA?” and Haymitch is like, “Don’t forget, KATNISS – YOU ARE BFF’S WITH PEETA!! GOT IT?” And she is all, “Why am I bff’s with Peeta? I’ll have to kill him dead.” And then they hang out for a long time in a cave and eat lamb stew.

    Also, they could have figured out a way to give us a, “Lenny Kravitz is shirtless” moment. Maybe an Avox spills soup on him or something and it’s really hot so he whips off his tight black shirt and we’re all, .

  33. I worked in a munitions factory during world war II, but my experience was much more like the Hunger Games.

    • *Krasdale’s note: This was supposed to be in reply to a thread between Southernbitch and Mr. Plainview, but something went HORRIBLY wrong.

  34. I just got home from seeing it. I can’t believe that was all in the first book. The movie seems to rush through the actual Hunger Games part… All but 4 or 5 of the tributes are killed off screen, I think. It felt like the director really copped out! No one had any meaningful dialogue except for Katniss and Woody Harrellson and Katniss’ boyfriend in the first 5 minutes.

    In short, I felt the movie should have been longer or split into two full movies. Both halves wfeltre under-examined by this rendition.

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