The Hunger Games

13

Comments

  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    The worst example was the last fight scene between Peeta and Cato. It really did take me about 10 seconds to realize there was a fight between Peeta and Cato. During that scene, they had one wide shot, which seemed like a mistake because finally I could see 2 full bodies LoL.
    To me it just seemed cheap. I wasn't impressed with the blood they showed; I could've done without it for more visibility.
    To me, any scene with confrontation kinda took away from the movie. This movie kinda reminds me of Batman Begins: Everything else (story, acting, effects) is good, but as soon as someone throws a punch it all goes down the toilet.
    Again, I still liked the movie and I'm looking forward to the sequel, but I wish I knew going in my action-thirst wasn't going to be quenched.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    Yeah, I do see what you mean... some of the fighting, especially with Katniss/Peeta vs. Cato, was hard to decipher. But... like I said, I think the camerawork fits the story perfectly. That's honestly how the scene felt in the book. I'm sure it's because I read the book... but I knew going in that I wasn't going to be seeing an "action" movie. It's definitely not a story where you'd want to see the action, you know what I mean? The people fighting and being killed are all innocent kids... we're supposed to feel bad for them... rather than marvel at their fighting skills, haha.
    I agree that the hand-to-hand fight scenes in Batman Begins were a bit of a let-down. That is a film where you'd expect to see well-shot and choreographed combat, but in the end, it just isn't that impressive. That's not to say it isn't a great film... because it is. Same with The Hunger Games. The lack of "action" or more coherent fight scenes doesn't make the film any less great, at least for me. You're literally not missing any of the story in the film... every fight/death happens exactly how it is described in the book... only with less gore in places.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff
    I've not seen Hunger Games yet, but I found the shaky cam in the Bourne sequels to do the exact opposite of what the director intended. Every time any action started, not only was it impossible to follow what the characters were doing, but I spent the entire time wondering what on earth was wrong with the cameraman, and why they were shaking the camera so severely, with the result being that I was completely pulled from the movie and forced to consider the process of the filmmakers, rather than being able to stay connected to the scene.
    I find that this is the case more often than not with shaky cam, and I'm firmly convinced that lots of filmmakers use the 'it puts the viewer into the scene' excuse to justify shoddy camerawork and the convenience of shooting handheld. I admit I'm disappointed to hear they went that route with The Hunger Games. I still look forward to seeing it, but that pretty much guarantees that its not quite as good as it could have been.
  • RodyPolis
    RodyPolis Posts: 612 Just Starting Out*
    True Story: After watching the Bourne Ultimatum for the first time I thought to myself "Wait, I thought this movie was supposed to be shaky?"
    LoL go see The Hunger Games now I wanna see your thoughts on the camera work Axel!
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Rody - Yeah, I thought the same thing after watching "Ultimatum". I barely even noticed the shaky cam. Maybe because I've been desensitized to it after seeing so many other films employ the same tactic recently?
    However, I totally did notice the shaky-cam in "The Hunger Games"... and I imagine it will annoy a lot of people... especially those who haven't read the book and don't know what to expect going in. It's probably the most "noticeable" use of shaky-cam I've seen... but like I said, I think it's used perfectly within the context of the story. It makes complete sense that they would film scenes from Katniss' POV, seeing as she narrated the book. As I was reading, I honestly pictured the film version being shot handheld style in order most accurately translate the scenes to the screen. Again, it's possibly because I read the book... but I almost feel as though a "steady" camera during scenes like "The Reaping" and "The Bloodbath" and "The Finale" wouldn't feel right. I think they really needed to be filmed the way they did.
    Axel - So yeah, the shaky-cam is extremely blatant... but I do think it's one of the best uses of it that I've seen. It's used only to show what Katniss describes seeing in the book.
  • Ben
    Ben Posts: 51
    I saw The Hunger Games after hearing a comment about the 'shakycam'. There are times when cinematographers and second-unit camera operators take liberties to 'go with the flow' in handheld-while-at-high-zoom scenarios, but I would not consider this movie one of those.
    For starters, it's a movie about voyeurism. That's a key theme, the fact that these kids aren't just killing one another; rather they are being publicly demonstrated as 'tributes' to in effect conjure hope for the existence of a given District. That's the key, I think, that whenever the cinematographer zooms or pans a bit off, it's akin to a sports photographer or camera operator narrowly missing action coverage. That's just how voyeur camera happens.
    And, for the more austere bits, I loved the use of handheld in naturalistic settings. It really contributed to the out-of-place, implacable feeling of the entire dystopia: that America today actually seemed a lot closer to the slums, which felt organic, than the city, which felt like fantasy. Likewise, the move from shakiness to austerity in the camerawork mirrored that well.
    Ultimately, I found it a very stylishly directed film with appropriate cinematography (I would certainly never call it extreme-- SAFE HOUSE is extreme! (although it worked for that film)) and a well-adapted script that, as mentioned, takes what I assume was mediocre-to-pretty-good young adult fiction and manages to make it feel meaningful and accessible without being trite.
    I wanted to hate it, but the trailer, the smart costume and production design, and the great direction (bit roles from Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz are notable amongst a strong cast; each actor sizeably well-cast) The Hunger Games was actually a very exceptional film.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited April 2012
    First off it should be said that I've never read the books, and found the concept of the movie and fans franchise rumblings the past 2-3 years incredibly annoying. But....
    Of course, you do get occasional exceptions when either the filmmakers are directly involved or the marketing team are particularly talented and in tune with the film itself - Prometheus seems to be a good example of this.
    Wanted to point out that the director of The Hunger Games collaborated on the trailer (the first full theatrical one, at least) for the film- and that it is not only a pretty great, well-edited and freshly-scored trailer- but that it does nearly the impossible without showing practically any of the actual hunger games- which make up a solid 60-70% of the film. I found this rather impressive of a feat- considering the trailer, in my mind, is so engaging and intriguing.
    Also, the music in it is made by T-Bone Burnett- a country music artist, which I thought was just kinda cool and original. Can't knock the marketing here. Twilight is the definition of shameless and uninspired- contentless and laughable- marketing-wise. It's unfair to compare The Hunger Games, trailer-wise, to it.


    Wanted to hate this so so so bad. So bad. But then came to excellent trailer and marketing campaign, and rave reviews, and box office records. And, well: Loved it entirely. Genuine, raw, well-staged, expertly-cast, magnificently-acted, and incredibly, incredibly well-directed:
    The Hunger Games takes a concept and book that is purely overtread material masked in the allure of 14-year-old girl young female empowerment trope, and makes it intriguing, insightful, and engaging.
    I'm actually really, really impressed, honestly. This is a story and setup of characters that is so clearly heavily loaded on with cheesiness and juvenile juxtaposition/emotions in the source material (which I haven't read)- that it's cool to see the director (Gary Ross, who also wrote two of my favorite movies- Big and Dave) jump through these hoops and come out with a movie unscathed and never trapping itself too badly into the melodrama. A lot of this, I think, also goes to a great performance by lead Jennifer Lawrence. To see her and the rest of the writers, director, technical side, and cast take something so baseline and transform it into the movie it is- it's transcendental.
    I've seen every major movie in theaters this year- and while it is not an easy title to give- this film is probably the strongest, most-memorable and resonant so far. With something that could've very easily fallen into the Twilight trap- with poor material poorly-adapted and cheaply-imitating Harry Potter packaging in a lesser-movie month- The Hunger Games takes its modest budget and shows what auteur filmmaking- and not just dollars-and-cents cost-cutting- can do to flex and pinch where it can. It's a movie that uses the woods and it's earnest sets early on heavily to it's advantage, and made at $30 million, it's a wonder to see it all come together. It deserves every massive penny it gets- and not because of its fanbase.
    Rather, The Hunger Games is a roaring success- and proving it deservingly at the box office- because its material is accessible, its marketing was sublime, and, at the end of the day, it's just a really, really solidly good movie.
    Go see this. It's shot on film. It isn't glossy. And it doesn't try to be a big adaptation-blockbuster. And yet, bizarrely- it is. And a good one, at that.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    [quote name="Andrew"]
    The Hunger Games takes a concept and book that is purely overtread material masked in the allure of 14-year-old girl young female empowerment trope, and makes it intriguing, insightful, and engaging.
    I'm actually really, really impressed, honestly. This is a story and setup of characters that is so clearly heavily loaded on with cheesiness and juvenile juxtaposition/emotions in the source material (which I haven't read)- that it's cool to see the director (Gary Ross, who also wrote two of my favorite movies- Big and Dave) jump through these hoops and come out with a movie unscathed and never trapping itself too badly into the melodrama. [/quote]
    How can you say this if you haven't read said source material?
    [quote name="Andrew"]A lot of this, I think, also goes to a great performance by lead Jennifer Lawrence. To see her and the rest of the writers, director, technical side, and cast take something so baseline and transform it into the movie it is- it's transcendental.[/quote]
    Again, I've read the book, and I don't see anything "baseline" about it. The film is a shockingly faithful adaptation of the book, with the only difference being that it expands the scope to include scenes that Katniss does not witness in the book. Sure, it's a phenomenal movie, that I would argue is transcendental to the sci-fi film genre. However, it certainly does not "transcend" the source material. It's merely an accurate adaptation of an excellent novel. Really, everything you get from the movie is also conveyed in the book.
    Just saying, I'm glad you loved the movie... but don't assume that it succeeds because of the power of the acting/directing/technical skills that "transcend" the source material. Honestly, the film would not have been nearly as good if not for Suzanne Collins' fantastic source material (and by extension, her and Ross' script adaptation). This isn't a case of turning a poorly-written Stephanie Meyers' Twilight book into a surprisingly good movie. With The Hunger Games, the film just perfectly captures everything that made the books so great in the first place. Just don't knock a book that you haven't read. :)
    EDIT: As far as films that do transcend their book counterparts? Look no further than The Lord of the Rings. I really was not impressed with the books at all... yet Peter Jackson took the material and created what are some of my favorite movies of all time. As I was reading, I was frequently thinking "this scene will not translate well into a movie at all". Yet Jackson pulled it off. His story, casting, and technical decisions transformed what I thought were kind of silly, awkward, halfway decent novels into the greatest epic adventure/fantasy films of all-time.
    Whereas when I read The Hunger Games, I thought literally every page oozed of "cinematic potential". Gary Ross captured that potential magnificently.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff
    edited April 2012
    Um, LOTR has been among the pinacles of fiction for decades, a long, long time before Peter Jackson was on the scene. I love the films, and they are very faithful and excellent adaptations of the novels, but the novels are superb literature, and inform every aspect of the films.
    If you didn't enjoy the LOTR books that much, that's cool, just don't make the mistake of thinking that that in some way means they aren't excellent literary works.
    Still looking forward to Hunger Games, both the book and the film.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Heh, yeah, I knew that would be an extreme example, haha. Let me sort of re-phrase:
    I understand that they're beloved and are literary classics... and I did enjoy the books... I just think that Peter Jackson improved upon them immensely. For example, he inter-cut the Frodo/Sam storyline with the Aragorn story, whereas they played out separately in the books. He also cut out the non-cinematic stuff, like the "Tom Bombadil" chapter, and Sauruman's takeover of the Shire. Basically, my point is that Peter Jackson took several directorial opportunities to improve upon the source material and generally make the films less "cheesy" and more "cinematic".
    Meanwhile, The Hunger Games does nothing of the sort. Gary Ross has made an incredibly accurate adaptation of the novel... allowing most everything to play out exactly how it does in the book. He did make some significant changes by expanding the scope to include scenes that are not shown from Katniss' point-of-view. We get to see actual TV coverage of the Games, we get to see President Snow and Seneca Crane discussing and orchestrating the Games from the Control Room, and during my favorite sequence of the film, we even get to briefly see some emotionally powerful shots of an uprising in District 11. These scenes do not necessarily "improve" upon the novel... rather they merely serve to compliment it.
    Overall, my point to Andrew is that Ross has made an outstanding film that does not try to out-do the book in any way. He doesn't do anything that the source material doesn't. Everything he's woven into the film is very much present in the book.
  • Sauruman's takeover of the Shire was defiantly my favorite part of the book and should have been left in. It shows that even if you destroy the ring evil can still rise. But I do understand that its also already a very long movie series as it is and adding that would have taken at least 15 to 25 minutes more of screen time.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff
    Peter Jackson (and Fran Walsh) did an excellent job of making changes to the books where necessary, yes, because books and films are entirely different artforms, and storytelling should be handled very differently in each. I can't see any of these changes as improvements on the source, though; they were good choices for the films, certainly, but they weren't fixing flaws in the books, they were just adapting the story to a different form. I think PJ did as good a job as anyone possibly could have at translating the story to the screen. But its not an improvement, its a near-perfect adaptation, or translation from one artform to another.
    Despite your use of phrases such as 'does nothing of the sort' and 'merely serve to complement', it sounds from your description like Gary Ross did the exact same thing with Hunger Games; sticking closely to the fundamental story, and making minor adjustments here or there that would improve the way it translated to the screen. I'm feeling a bit one-sided in this debate though, so I should really go watch The Hunger Games, and read The Hunger Games, so I can discuss comparisons of the two more objectively. Also, because i want to watch/read it.
  • yah I don't think you can ever say that a film adaptation is better than its source. You can say you like it better, but I don't think in any case you can say that it is better. You can only say, it was different.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Yeah, I kind of went off on a bit of a tangent there... by injecting my personal opinion of the LOTR books/movies. Personally, I would argue that the LOTR movies do transcend the source material by making it more cinematic... whereas The Hunger Games book was already cinematic enough to begin with. As in, Ross didn't have to do nearly the work that Peter Jackson did to make translate the more "difficult" moments. Does that make sense? But that's a whole other story... that I just don't like the LOTR books as much as everyone else. :P
    My main point though, is that Andrew seems to be arguing that Ross and the rest of the cast/crew have made a film that transcends it's "cheesy" and "juvenile" source material... when he hasn't actually read the source material. If you were to read the book... you'd discover there is really nothing cheesy or juvenile about it. You'd find pretty much exactly what is on the screen in the film. If anything... the book is a touch less juvenile... because Ross has made a clear effort to tone down the violence to maintain the PG-13 rating.
    Speaking of the PG-13 rating... those of you seeing the film in the U.K. will be seeing an "altered" version. The filmmakers were forced to cut out some of the gorier shots and/or digitally remove the blood from others... so that they could achieve the 12A or whatever rating system they use over there. I'm not sure how I would feel about seeing that version... because the violence is a very important part of the story. It really hammers home how sick and twisted The Capitol is. Having a toned down version of an already slightly toned-down adaptation would just lesson the impact and make the film seem much more "light-weight" than the proper American version is.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff
    edited April 2012
    I do find it interesting that you seem to gauge books by how cinematic they are, as if they should be trying to be films. Certainly making the source material more cinematic is important when translating it to film (one of the points I was trying to make), but I think to assume that a book should be cinematic, or is a better book if its more cinematic, suggests a misunderstanding of the fundamental differences between books and cinema. Or is your point simply that you enjoy reading books more if they are in that style?
    I do understand the point you were making about the assumptions some people might make about the book simply due to its being classified by some as juvenile fiction. Judging a book by its cover, I believe the term is.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    How can a book be cinematic, anyway?
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,259 Staff
    Easy, you just add more contrast, and make it widescreen.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Here's how I look at it. Being the filmmaking geek that I am, I'm really fascinated with the process of adapting a book to the screen. When I'm reading a book, I can't help but picture its cinematic potential. What would this page look like on the big screen? I believe I do this for a couple of reasons:
    First of all... pretty much all of the books I read as a child have been turned into films. I'd read a book, and then find out it's being made into a movie. A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragon, Harry Potter, LOTR, etc. So naturally when I'd see the film, I would really like to analyze how it failed or succeeded in bringing the story to life. After seeing the dreadful adaptation of Eragon... I reread the book and imagined how I would have adapted it. I got all these amazingly cinematic images in my head, right down to specific visual effects, and even the actors I think could pull off the role. I honestly think I could have done it better than Stefan Fangmeir did it.
    Secondly... because I've been so busy lately... I really haven't had a lot of time to sit down and just read a book. I've pretty much been watching movies or TV exclusively these days. When I do pick up a book, it will usually be because it's being turned into a movie. That's what happened with The Hunger Games. I'd heard about the books through people at school... and I thought "That sounds really cool"... but I didn't actually start reading it until I heard that Lionsgate was moving forward with the movie version. That inspired me to sit down and read it... and of course... imagine it as a movie. :)
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast

    yah I don't think you can ever say that a film adaptation is better than its source. You can say you like it better, but I don't think in any case you can say that it is better. You can only say, it was different.
    Certainly you can. The Hunger Games is atypically a female-written book with a young female heroin central to the story and two other, less-dominant male supporting characters built and formatted for a very specific audience- the '14-year-old-girl' audience.
    The writing is meant to be easily-read/juvenile in some sense, sensationalist in another, and manipulative with the readers emotions. Twilight, while clearly a more manipulative book, does the same thing. I haven't read the whole book, but my younger brother read it well before the media craze over it, and I peeked into it then and simply shrugged. It's girl-level sci-fi. That's what it is, that's what it attempts to be. Not being sexist- it just hits on that misunderstood, hormonal female presence.
    The film, on the otherhand- almost out of necessity- tweaks the material to broaden and appease its audience. It's engaging in a way the book was not to me- likable and entertaining in a manner to males the predominantly female audience of the book got. It works for kids, it works for adults. It's a tricky line of violence and self-awareness, restraint and accessibility- but the film teeters on it ever-so-carefully.
    The book, also out of necessity, simply can't do that. Books are a dead/dying artform- and an author, especially of something sell-able, has to lock into an audience and niche in order to entrance them and sells books. While movies have to do the same- there's a large difference between source material crafted to fit the early teenage girl audience that buys books of that sort- and the much-larger filmgoing consumers.
    In this regard, the movie is better- because it adapts without restriction to a certain audience. And it's clear in the film and fact that many, well, say it either 'lived up' to the book- or is even better than it- despite initial outcry during preproduction from its base literary audience.
    The movie is better because it better utilizes its plot and character material than the book does to a broader audience. This is no insult to the book- the script, after all, was adapted, altered, and co-written by author Suzanne Collins herself.
    But yeah- this is a movie that a director and some good writers took and said 'we're going to make this better than it should be'. And in my opinion- that's exactly what it is. This movie looked and sounded awful- and ended up great. It was better than it should've been.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    [quote name="Andrew"]Certainly you can. The Hunger Games is atypically a female-written book with a young female heroin central to the story and two other, less-dominant male supporting characters built and formatted for a very specific audience- the '14-year-old-girl' audience.[/quote]
    See... that's where you're wrong.
    You may have "peeked" at the book and gotten a "written for young girls" vibe... but as someone who has read the entire book, that really isn't the case. I don't see any indication in the book that it was specifically written for young girls. Yes... it is a "Young Adult" novel that's narrated by a sixteen-year-old girl... but the core story remains the one that you see in the movie. There is no "melodrama" or cliched love triangle "romance" that you'd find on every page of Twilight. Katniss is certainly not your typical teenage-girl narrator. Not for one page does she say anything remotely romantic, unless she's "acting" (or thinking about how she should act) for the sake of surviving. It definitely is not written to draw in "just the girls". I'm not sure how you got that impression at all. In fact, I personally know more guys than girls who have read it. All my Star Trek/Stargate/Asimov sci-fi guy friends read it and loved it. And to go even further... I read that the majority of the audience that saw The Hunger Games opening weekend was male. I think it was something like 58-62% or something like that.
    I would argue that it isn't the film that "transcends" the book... but rather it's the book that transcends its genre (or its public perception, if you will). It's really unfortunate that it received the "It's the next Twilight" spin from the media, because there is really no comparison. The argument makes sense if you're talking about Twilight... but it certainly doesn't hold up for The Hunger Games. Especially if you haven't read it. :P
    That's the bottom line... there's just no way you can claim the film is better than the book when you haven't read it. Taking a quick glance just isn't enough to jump to that conclusion. As much as I love love love the movie... I think I still enjoy the book more... chiefly because of Katniss' narration. Like I've mentioned before in this thread... there is quite a bit of subtext or extra context in the book that is either omitted, or only hinted at in the film version... specifically because we aren't allowed inside Katniss' head.
  • Pooky
    Pooky Posts: 46
    Films that are better than the book: A Clockwork Orange, Fight Club, The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Children of Men, Jaws, The Prestige, There Will Be Blood, Silence of the Lambs, No Country For Old Men... and Twilight.

  • Films that are better than the book: A Clockwork Orange, Fight Club, The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Children of Men, Jaws, The Prestige, There Will Be Blood, Silence of the Lambs, No Country For Old Men... and Twilight.
    Pooky, what makes you think these are better. I have not read or seen most of those titles you named but its your opinion that those film adaptations are better than the books, film and book are both very influential forms of commutating a story. The main difference between them is that the book is only as good as your imagination, and the movie is the way that someone else's imagination thinks it should look. Therefore a movie can not be better than a book, not that I'm saying I don't think some movies are better than the books their based after, but that's my opinion that their better, not a fact.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited April 2012
    Trust me-
    Fight Club, The Shawshank Redemption, and No Country for Old Men are undoubtedly better than their source material. Though I've read and seen many more on Pooky's list, I can easily easily easily attest to those 3. And they all come from pretty solid source material, too.
    Also, jawajohnny- I liked the movie dude. Don't get so defensive about the books. Would you consider Twilight a young female book series? Probably. But you wouldn't be so hot on calling it that if you yourself really enjoyed them. But hey, that's the target demographic, that's who they're written for. Most movies in-general are written, directed, and produced squarely for men- but that doesn't mean women get bent out of shape when someone notes that fact. ;)
    And yes, I know The Hunger Games is not Twilight- and the two are very, very different levels, kinds, and qualities of films. However, the books at least resonate- purposefully- with the same audience. Hunger Games, the book, came out in 2010 trying to mount the audience Twilight was coming off of the same way Hunger Games, the movie, is doing the same with the now-vacant Harry Potter audience.
    That's the entertainment business, man.

    Easy, you just add more contrast, and make it widescreen.
    Glad people are starting to understand. ;)
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Andrew - I'll leave it at this: All the girls I know who've read Twilight would readily admit that it was written for young girls. However, these same girls would also say that The Hunger Games was written for a much broader audience.
    In other news, it appears that Gary Ross won't return to direct Catching Fire. While some sites initially reported that money was the issue, if we're to believe this article, Ross just wants to move on to a project of his own. It does sound a bit fishy though, considering in interviews he sounded pretty excited to do the sequels.
    While I think he did an excellent job with The Hunger Games, I also think the writing and acting are far more important to the film. I envision it playing out much like Harry Potter did... with different directors coming in and offering a slightly different style and vision, while still making equally satisfying films. While some did it better than others (with Mike Newell being the weakest link), each and every film is still rather excellent... thanks in large part to the consistently great acting, and the consistently great scripts pulled from consistently great source material. :)Catching Fire will be written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours), in collaboration with Suzanne Collins, so assuming that all the supporting actors return, I'm fairly confident that whoever directs won't disappoint us.
    That said, my initial suggestion would be Steven Soderbergh, who directed second-unit on The Hunger Games. That would be really cool, although I'm sure he doesn't have the time, and that Lionsgate wouldn't pay him.
    EDIT: It looks like Catching Fire will shoot this fall, for a November 2013 release date. This also means that the X-Men: First Class shoot will be pushed to January 2013, in order to accommodate Jennifer Lawrence. I'm sure Fox has agreed to wait, so that they can have Jennifer be in the film as much as possible... now that she's a superstar.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    edited April 2012
    The directing and vision of the director was easily that strongest aspect of The Hunger Games. It'll be a shame to see Gary Ross go, he really seemed like an unexpectedly perfect fit for the film. Have to say, this makes me question the series- changing directors willynilly is never a good thing.
    Potter it worked because you were moving over an expanse of a decade and 8 films, and even then only two directors worked on 5 of the 8 films. A trilogy with different directors, in this day and age of stylistic/visionary inconsistency in franchises, is pretty worrying. But that's just me.
    In other news- my unexpected pleasantness with The Hunger Games, combined with being back at home in Dallas for the weekend last week, and my little brother's desire to shoot something- resulted in this:

    No judging, I shot and edited this inbetween four other projects this week. It's been a busy time. :)
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    It's official. Gary Ross will not direct Catching Fire.
    [quote name="Gary Ross"]As a writer and a director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.[/quote]
    Because Lionsgate fully intends to meet the release date of November 13th, 2013, they need to begin shooting Catching Fire in August of this year... and need to wrap up by January, so that Jennifer Lawrence can then go and shoot the X-Men: First Class sequel. Apparently, Ross doesn't think he can make a quality film on that tight of a schedule, so he has chosen to step aside.
    If Ross says he can't do it... then is there someone who can make a great film on such a tight schedule? My gut feeling is that it is possible, provided you have the right team in place. Look how X-Men: First Class turned out: Matthew Vaughn made what some (including myself) believe to be the strongest film in the franchise. The producers and cast of The Hunger Games will presumably remain the same for Catching Fire so there is obviously no worry there. The screenplay is currently being written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) in collaboration with Suzanne Collins (the author of the book), so again, I'm extremely confident as far as the script is concerned. The only wildcard is obviously, the director. Will the studio go cheap and hire a studio "yes-man"? Or will they take the care to select a talented director with a clear vision? I sure hope it's the latter.
    Here are a few ideas I came up with:
    1. Steven Soderbergh: He directed second-unit on The Hunger Games, so he has a bit of prior experience with the material. In fact, he directed the brief "revolt" shown in District 11... which is actually a quite effective "teaser" for the second film. An obvious choice there.
    2. Danny Boyle: Again, someone with a bit of a "connection" to the franchise. Simon Beaufoy is scripting the film, and he of course scripted Danny Boyle's last two efforts in Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Both films were nominated for Oscars in both writing and directing, with Slumdog taking home the gold for both those categories, plus Best Picture. Putting them together for Catching Fire would surely yield similar results
    3. Alfonso Cuaron: While most people are pointing to Cuaron because he stepped into the Harry Potter franchise and made what many argue is the best film in the series (Prisoner of Azkaban)... I'm thinking of him for a different reason. The gritty realism and shaky-cam on display in Children of Men would obvioiusly be a natural fit for Catching Fire. He'd be the perfect person to move in and emulate (and even improve upon) the style Gary Ross established in the first film. He's probably too busy in post-production on Gravity, though.
    4. Kathryn Bigelow: While I'm not as big a fan of The Hurt Locker as most people, I won't deny that she brought an amazing level of "intensity" to the film. With that in mind, she's another natural fit for Catching Fire. Is she probably too busy with Zero Dark Thirty (the film about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden)? Yes... but I still think she'd be a good choice, if available.
    5. Debra Granik: She directed Jennifer Lawrence to fame in Winter's Bone, so it would only be fitting that she direct Catching Fire. She probably doesn't have the experience to handle such a "blockbuster" film, though.
    Wild Card: Jennifer Lawrence: While this would probably never happen, since she'd have to appear in pretty much every scene... Lawrence has expressed interest in directing indie films before. It would certainly be interesting to see her helm and star in Catching Fire... although I'm sure it won't happen. She's already way too busy as it is right now.
    Of course, my pipe-dream candidates would include Steven Spielberg, Chirstopher Nolan, and Peter Jackson. They'd never do it... but I can dream, can't I? :)
    Overall, Lionsgate has an extremely delicate situation on their hands right now. They're notoriously cheap when hiring directors, but they know they have the hottest franchise on their hands. I'm hoping they realize they need someone who will do the book justice.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Yeah, the problem here isn't finding a director who can make a good film in that time period....it's whether Lionsgate even care about that. They might simply be looking for a director who can make the film in that time, regardless of quality.
    See: X-Men 3.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    It's definitely alarming.
    The difference between switching directors every movie for a trilogy because of a cramped schedule and switching between like 3-4 directors over 8 movies is the difference between quality in the Twilight and Harry Potter series.
    Gary Ross is the strongest piece of this film, and it'll be a dastardly shame to see him go. Even worse, he's known for being efficient and fast- and if he can't assure quality in good conscience in the extremely small amount of time they've given him, having established relationships with all the actors and knowing the production design/world/technical side well, I have high worries for anyone else.
    X-Men 3, indeed. Brett Ratner is a talented director, and I was happy to see him take the reigns on X3- but even with somehow and performing the impossible and pooping out a movie in the massively short timeframe he had- there were (obviously) still massive problems with it. And that's from probably the best choice of 'solidly fast directors'.
    This'll be interesting to see what happens. Lionsgate doesn't have the money or influence to force Fox out of their January shoot for X-Men First Class 2 (which I think I'd like to see more than Catching Fire, actually- loved First Class)- so they'll either have to come to an agreement on the usage of Jennifer Lawrence or negotiate a push-back on XFC2 in exchange for something.
    No way they go through with this schedule. August to late November is a retardedly-close and retardedly-short schedule to create the only franchise tentpole Lionsgate has. Won't happen.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Yeah, Ratner managed to create lots of memorable sequences in X3 despite not having any decent development time. Pretty much all of my problems with that film are in the script - I actually think he did a really good job with the material he was given. Prof X's end in particular is an amazing scene.
    But X3 is also a good example of a studio not really giving a damn about the movie's quality.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    Catching Fire will have one major advantage over X3, though, no matter who directs. The problem with X3 was that they literally had no idea what story they wanted to tell. I believe Bryan Singer had one idea, but that script fell through, and from there the script went through several different drafts before they settled on the mishmash of ideas that became the final movie.
    The thing about Catching Fire though, is that the source material for the story already exists... and it's damn good source material. It's not like the producers are going to try to figure out "where to go with the sequel". There is already a critically acclaimed story that's currently being adapted by an Oscar-winning screenwriter, in collaboration with the author. I will be very, very surprised if the script doesn't turn out great.
    The question is whether or not there is a director who can take the script and shoot it quickly, and do it well? Since I'm sure there is, the question then becomes... is there even anyone available to immediately jump on board on such short notice?