The Hunger Games

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Comments

  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    Make no mistake- the problem is always time. Without it, there isn't space for refinement or precision, no matter who you are- and I think we'll be hearing and seeing the effects of this over the coming months with this franchise.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    But I don't understand what changed for Ross, as far as the time-frame goes? The November 2013 release date was announced months ago, so Ross accordingly took the step to bring Simon Beaufoy onto the project in January. He had full knowledge of what the timetable would be, and he seemed to be fine with it. Just one week before The Hunger Games was released, he expressed how excited he was about returning to work on Catching Fire. What changed all of a sudden? All I can think of, is that The Hunger Games became a huge hit, and Ross demanded a raise to reflect that. I can't help but think that money is the real reason behind his exit.

    I don't see how the timetable is different than that of any other recent "franchise". It's roughly the same scenario as the Harry Potter films... with each movie being shot, completed, and released every 1.5 years. Those movies all turned out just fine. Same thing with X-Men: First Class. Didn't Matthew Vaughn rewrite, shoot, and post-produce the film all in under one year?
    With Catching Fire, the scripting began in January, and is either complete, or nearly complete (depending on the source). That would give Ross four months for any other pre-production before having to start shooting in August. Then the shoot itself could go on for five months, before Jennifer Lawrence has to go and shoot the X-Men: First Class sequel in January.
    I just find it hard to believe this can't be done, especially when compared to other recent franchises like Harry Potter. Again, Warner Bros. was able to churn out a quality Potter film every 1.5 years... and each of those films obviously required longer shoots, and much more post-work than The Hunger Games.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    Having, absolutely and unequivocally, to finish principal production with your primary star by January, and leading into it with awards season that will likely occupy time as well, just instills a lack of creative planning and timing for Ross- and it's completely understandable.
    It's not the starting so early- it's the wrapping so early- it leaves a lack of time for prep.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    [quote name="Andrew"]
    It's not the starting so early- it's the wrapping so early- it leaves a lack of time for prep. [/quote]
    But that's what I'm saying. Gary Ross knew what the timetable would be as early as January... and was well into pre-production before The Hunger Games even premiered. Then he all of a sudden decided he wouldn't have enough time to make the sequel? Nothing changed... except for the fact that the film premiered and was a huge hit. It makes me think he really just walked for financial reasons.
    Anyways... Lionsgate's shortlist of potential directors for Catching Fire may have emerged. Names include Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg, Alejandro Gonzalez Innarittu, Bennett Miller, and Francis Lawrence.
    My personal choice would obviously be Cuaron... but I wonder if post-production on Gravity would interfere? He's definitely the right one for the job though, judging not only from his fantastic work on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but also from Children of Men. The handheld camerawork on that film in particular, would fit right in with the style that Gary Ross established in The Hunger Games.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    Deadline is now reporting that Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence are the two finalists. Of the two, I think Miller is definitely the stronger candidate, coming off the really excellent Moneyball. He is apparently very interested, but would have to clear his schedule and postpone shooting his own film, Foxcatcher.
    Lawrence isn't necessarily a bad choice either, though. I really enjoyed the first two acts of I am Legend, and Water for Elephants boasted some stunning visuals, despite its poor script and casting decisions. I'm confident that Simon Beaufoy will provide him with a stronger script to run off of than those two films, though, so I'd be interested to see what he could do with it.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    As little interest as I have in this series, the idea of a possible Cronenberg Hunger Games was very exciting.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    And... the job goes to Francis Lawrence.
    Like I said, he's not a bad choice... in fact I think he's a very good catch, considering the amount of time they had to lock in a director. Although... I can't help but think he was the least interesting choice from a list that reportedly included Alfonso Cuaron, Duncan Jones, and Joe Cornish. Getting past that though, I think he's a fine choice. On the surface, Lawrence might seem like a "safe" "studio" pick, but he does have a knack for making visually exciting films, so I'm sure he'll be able to just jump right in and continue the style established by Ross and crew. Plus, he'll have a major advantage over his past films, in that he'll be inheriting such a strong foundation right off the bat. Simon Beaufoy's script should be completed in a matter of weeks, at the latest, and there will be no need for extensive rewrites like what happened with I am Legend (which was constantly being rewritten, even during filming). Plus, Beaufoy is an Oscar-winning screenwriter who's working with the author of the book... so I'm sure the script will be a much better adaptation than Water for Elephants turned out to be. With that film, Lawrence brought the visuals, but there was just nothing there emotionally for him, or any of his actors to work with.
    Despite him not being the best choice from the shortlist, I fully believe Lawrence is more than up for the job. I think the first two acts of I am Legend are masterful... and save for the seemingly rushed ending and shoddy last minute CG zombies, it's a really solid film, with plenty of emotional power. And despite Water for Elephants being a rather mediocre affair, it certainly has awesome visuals.
    So yeah... with both an outstanding cast and a nearly completed screenplay, I just don't see how such a talented director as Lawrence could screw up Catching Fire. Not a bad choice, considering the tight schedule.
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    I can assure you, jawajohnny, Francis Lawrence did not employ 'shoody last minute CG' in I Am Legend.
    Aside from being, on the whole, a pretty fantastic film with a studio-driven-ly flat ending, I Am Legend- directorially- is incredibly, incredibly strong. From being there during production, and seeing the mass of people that were constantly crowded around, I can tell you that considerable and well-apportioned money and time was spent on the CG in the film. The decision was just to put it into 'clearing out New York' and making it look empty, and less towards creating zombies.
    In my mind, this has always been the strongest suit and most well-chosen decision of a big recent franchise. The emptiness is such a paramount, key element of making I Am Legend work.
    Not that I'm Francis Lawrence's biggest fan, either- and I don't believe any director can adeptly pull up a fantastic film in such short time without already-knowledgeable-of-the-production Gary Ross- but I wouldn't consider him a lesser-auteur than the others. He's a good, solid director who was one of the strongest components of a mostly-strong tentpole film. I trust him to hold Catching Fire together- if it's even possible.
  • SimonKJones
    SimonKJones Posts: 4,448 Enthusiast
    Interesting. I've not seen I Am Legend, as I suspect the ending will enrage me, but from the trailers they certainly seemed to nail the 'feel' of the novel.
    As for Ross leaving - I imagine it was less to do with the schedule (as Jawa says, he knew that for a while) and more to do with contracts and money. As I understand it, Ross was on a 1 film contract, so required renegotiation for the sequels. I imagine those negotiations didn't go as well as he'd hoped, either in terms of money or control, and that was that.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506
    I saw the Hunger games and it was horrible. Like I said before I saw it I could predict it and I got this movie with 100% right with this one. It is a kids to teenagers movie. Of course the last 2 dont want to fight. The story is weak. It is too much like condemended, running man, dear hunter, and many more. The only thing the hunger games that I liked was the city when the kids were on the train. I knew I was going to hate this movie and I cant believe that they want to make part 2 to this movie. My opinion of what I watched!
  • Andrew
    Andrew Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    Soaring critical, commercial, and franchise success from a relatively low-base blockbuster budget in a surprising opening day slot. I can believe that they want to make part 2 to this movie.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    @guitar74 --- I really don't get where you're coming from when it comes to "originality" and "predictability". What is wrong with movies that draw from similar works? There really aren't any truly original ideas in Hollywood anymore. Can you name a recent movie that is completely original? Probably not.
    Spoilers follow:

    And yes, of course "The Hunger Games" is predictable. It's uh... kind of established that "only one comes out alive", but it's also obvious from the start that two innocent "friends" are not going to kill each other if they're the last two standing. In the end, it's not about whether or not they'd kill each other... but rather "how will they get out of this?". Ultimately, it's like the original Star Wars, or any other classic good hero vs. evil movie. You know the hero will win in the end (i.e. of course they won't get blown up by the Death Star)... so the film ends up being about how and why they win. Is the ending of Star Wars any less exciting because you know the good guys will win? I don't think so.
    I also fail to see how this qualifies as a "kids" movie. Yes... teenagers are a target audience, but anyone younger than that really shouldn't be seeing it. The subject matter is dark and disturbing, an highly metaphorical. It's not "watered down" for kids in any way.
    It sounds like you went into this movie as biased as possible, and your viewing experience suffered as a result.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Posts: 506

    @guitar74 --- I really don't get where you're coming from when it comes to "originality" and "predictability". What is wrong with movies that draw from similar works? There really aren't any truly original ideas in Hollywood anymore. Can you name a recent movie that is completely original? Probably not.
    Spoilers follow:

    And yes, of course "The Hunger Games" is predictable. It's uh... kind of established that "only one comes out alive", but it's also obvious from the start that two innocent "friends" are not going to kill each other if they're the last two standing. In the end, it's not about whether or not they'd kill each other... but rather "how will they get out of this?". Ultimately, it's like the original Star Wars, or any other classic good hero vs. evil movie. You know the hero will win in the end (i.e. of course they won't get blown up by the Death Star)... so the film ends up being about how and why they win. Is the ending of Star Wars any less exciting because you know the good guys will win? I don't think so.
    I also fail to see how this qualifies as a "kids" movie. Yes... teenagers are a target audience, but anyone younger than that really shouldn't be seeing it. The subject matter is dark and disturbing, an highly metaphorical. It's not "watered down" for kids in any way.
    It sounds like you went into this movie as biased as possible, and your viewing experience suffered as a result.
    Well,
    I dont know what the years I have to pick a movie from to be original, but for the last few years, a movie called Next, Star Trek first Contact, The Raven (Not sure if that is a remake since I dont keep up with older films), I wont mention star wars cause that was a long time ago, Cabin in the woods ( a horror moive, but had no idea it would turn out that way) Terminator3 ( T4 was a horrible movie), Cloverfield, The Matrix Iron man(bases off of a comic book, but that is not copying another idea, that is bringing a comic book to life). There are more I can name but I'm just tired, But there are original ideas. I have a lot of original ideas I could make into a story, but dont got the money. hollywood is more concern about making a quick buck anymore than actually thinking about a story! I'm just tired of these people ripping off older good movies and making a quick buck off of teens. What is wrong with drawing ideas from other works, it is stealing in a way. If you can't come up with a story and not using other ideas from other works, then dont do it. I dont mean you can't write about robots, end of the world movies, or etc. Just dont steal other ideas from people's works!
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited April 2012
    The Raven --- Not original by any means. I'm sure you know that it's based on Edgar Allen Poe's actual poems... but that's not my point here. My point is that the movie is pretty much a carbon copy of the Pilot episode of Castle from four years ago. A serial killer is using the methods described in author Richard Castle's crime novels, so the NYPD bring him on as a consultant to help catch the killer.
    Star Trek: First Contact --- I'm not sure what exactly makes this "original". Yes... it's a great movie (and certainly the best "Next Generation" film... but every element of the plot has been done before. Saving the world from an alien threat by time traveling to the past was already done in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (and countless other movies, I'm sure). Making "first contact" with an alien race isn't exclusive to Star Trek either.
    Terminator 3: Not sure this dignifies a response. What was original about it? It was the "unnecessary" third film in a franchise, and the plot pretty much consists of "good terminator protects good guy from bad terminator". How original.
    Cloverfield: Cloverfield wasn't the first "found-footage" movie, and definitely not the first "monster attacks big city" film.
    Star Wars: You do realize that Star Wars is a mashup of countless other works of sci-fi, right? George Lucas was very much inspired by the likes of Flash Gordon, Forbidden Planet, John Carter, etc. He took a classic story that had been done so many other times before, and packaged it into something new and exciting. Not "original"... per say... but it certainly was "revolutionary".
    This is what sci-fi is all about. Sci-fi films are always about the same stories/ideas/characters... but they are constantly being repackaged to reflect modern-day themes. This is what The Hunger Games does. It's a startling and disturbing metaphor for what our current society could slowing start to become --- starting with the unhealthy obsession with reality TV. Yes... it may be similar to other sci-fi films --- but in the end the story, characters, and ultimate messages are completely different.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited May 2012
    Iron man(bases off of a comic book, but that is not copying another idea, that is bringing a comic book to life)
    You know The Hunger Games was based on a novel, right? How is that any different from making a comic book into a movie?
    You hated this movie before it was even out, so stop blaming the movie. You decided not to enjoy it, and you didn't enjoy it.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    edited May 2012
    Finally got around to reading the book and seeing the movie a while back, and enjoyed both for the most part. I personally think writing the book in first-person present tense was a bad idea, and it was hugely distracting and occasionally annoying throughout the reading process. I hope shoe avoids that for the sequels, which I will probably get around to reading eventually. Aside from that, though, it was well-written, and pretty engrossing. It builds suspense nicely, and keeps you turning pages.
    The movie was enjoyable, but in general I found it fairly unremarkable. The script was a decent adaptation, the performances were good. The Capital make-up and costume design were less than impressive. I realize they were accurately portrayed from the books, but it did not translate to screen at all well, and I felt that rather than just reflecting poorly on the Capital society, the way they were handled reflected poorly on the entire film.
    Surprisingly, I didn't find the handheld camerawork distracting for the most part; it wasn't excessively shaky during the action. The first scene with Katniss and her sister in their house, when you have a quiet, somewhat emotional moment between two people, and the camera is shaking allover, that was a bit much, and the shake got pretty heavy in the final fight atop the Cornucopia, but for the most part it fit the context, without being unreasonably shaky like the Bourne sequels.
    The biggest complaint I have is that they removed the most powerful and poignant scene in the book. After Rue's death, and Katniss' act of defiance/respect in covering her with flowers, the people of District 11, in the book, send her a loaf of bread. It is unprecedented for an entire district to send a gift to a contestent from another District. It is a hugely powerful scene, in the way that it demonstrates their gratitude, it demonstrates their defiance against the Capital and the games (these are, after all, the Hunger Games, and they are feeding an opponent), and in the way it demonstrates the unspoken unity between the different districts. Instead, in the film, District 11's response is to break stuff. Lame.

    All in all, I'd give the book 8 out of 10, and the film probably 6 out of 10. It was well done, but no aspect of it really stood out in any way. I think without the success of the books to ride on, it wouldn't have done nearly as well as it did.
  • iso
    iso Posts: 44
    one thing I did not like about Hunger Games was the shaky camera action. I'm sorry but I wanna see some blood even if it is a PG13 movie. but other than that I thought it was a great film and that it followed the book pretty close
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited May 2012
    I personally think writing the book in first-person present tense was a bad idea, and it was hugely distracting and occasionally annoying throughout the reading process. I hope shoe avoids that for the sequels, which I will probably get around to reading eventually.
    What annoyed you about the first-person narration? It's a technique used in tons of novels... so I'm wondering if there was something specific that turned you off in this case? Personally, I really enjoyed reading the story from Katniss' perspective. I think it was a nice idea to have such a limited knowledge of what was going on in the Arena --- and to overall, understand just how thoroughly the oppressive Capitol impacted just one girl's life.

    The biggest complaint I have is that they removed the most powerful and poignant scene in the book. After Rue's death, and Katniss' act of defiance/respect in covering her with flowers, the people of District 11, in the book, send her a loaf of bread. It is unprecedented for an entire district to send a gift to a contestent from another District. It is a hugely powerful scene, in the way that it demonstrates their gratitude, it demonstrates their defiance against the Capital and the games (these are, after all, the Hunger Games, and they are feeding an opponent), and in the way it demonstrates the unspoken unity between the different districts. Instead, in the film, District 11's response is to break stuff. Lame.
    Heh. That was actually one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Like Axel, I'll spoiler tag my explanation seeing as this is such a crucial scene we're talking about. :)
    I'll admit I was a bit disappointed they didn't send her the bread... but I do think that actually taking us to District 11 more than made up for it. In the book, Katniss gives the cameras the three-finger-salute... so I was really moved when the movie transitioned to the District 11 onlookers, who all raised their hands in tribute back to her. The salute, and the brief "rebellion" immediately following it, pack a really powerful emotional punch... more so than just the bread delivery would have. Having District 11 send her bread would convey that they were giving a "thank you" tribute of sorts to Katniss... but actually showing the rebellion added another layer... in that it really made us hate the Capitol for forcing an innocent little girl like Rue into the Arena in the first place. I think this is sort of implied in the book from Katniss' narration... but I feel like the film needed to go that extra step to show us. Furthermore, I think it serves as a great "teaser" for the second film. I haven't read the book, but from what I hear, it focuses a lot on District 11 and the beginnings of a revolution against the Capitol.
    Overall, I thought this scene was extremely well-down in both the book and the movie. The movie complimented the book perfectly... expanding the scale by letting us see not only Katniss' reaction... but also the simultaneous one of District 11... while also not losing a bit of the emotional power from the book. At least for me. The whole scene was superbly acted and directed (the District 11 shots were actually shot by Steven Soderbergh), and accompanied by a magnificent score from James Newton Howard, which brought me close to tears.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    Yeah, first person is pretty common, and although many writing teachers and literate types look down on it as a cheat, because it makes writing a novel so much easier, I personally don't have a problem with it. It was the first person present tense that was annoying. As if I was standing next to her, or on the phone with her, and she is describing everything she does, as she does it. It was gimmicky, distracting, and unnecessary.
    The salute was powerful, I agree. And maybe the scenes of people breaking stuff tie into one of the sequels; we aren't really told in the book what happens in District 11, other than the fact that they send the bread, which certainly makes them out to be more decent people, and causes us to care about them more. The way it was handled in the film just left me cold. It didn't elicit any emotional response from me at all, other than disappointment.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited August 2012
    I watched this tonight, and was pleasantly surprised by it for the most part. There were a few things, like the commentators spelling out what's happening in certain situations, that I thought it could have done without, but overall I really enjoyed it. Definitely will look forward to the sequel, because it sure felt like a cliffhanger ending to me. I just wanted more.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    Yeah, I really liked that last "cliffhanger" shot of President Snow, which obviously wasn't in the book. It reminded me a bit of "Star Wars"... in that "the good guys won, but the Empire is going to be pissed in the next one". And of course that there's a love-triangle brewing.
    I gave it a re-watch a few days ago, and I still think it's one of the best movies of the year so far. It really doesn't pander to the tween/teenage girl audience by exaggerating the love-story... in fact they actually toned it down from the book. My chief complaint is the criminally small amount of screentime they gave Lenny Kravitz. Cinna and Katniss are very close in the book... and to not have him embrace Katniss (or even make an appearance) like he should have after Katniss won was kind of disappointing.
    Despite Gary Ross not returning, I'm still very excited for Catching Fire... or rather, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as they're going to call it. Especially because of the cast they're putting together. In addition to all the returning players, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Melissa Leo, Tony Shalhoub, Jena Malone, and Sam Claflin have all joined as new characters, apparently. I don't know about Claflin, but the rest are pretty inspired choices.
    EDIT: Okay, apparently the role Melissa Leo was considered for actually went to Lynn Cohen.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    edited August 2012
    Just as long as they keep Jennifer Lawrence, I don't care about any other changes. *swoon*
    Are the other two books still focused on Katniss, or is it like, "Here's a whole new troupe of youngsters!"? The ending definitely didn't give me a sense of conclusion for her whatsoever.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    No, she's the main character throughout the series.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited August 2012
    Yeah, it's most definitely Katniss' trilogy. While I haven't yet read the other two books, I'm pretty sure Catching Fire picks up right where the first one left off.
    Minor spoilers ahead:
    From what I understand, Catching Fire starts with Katniss and Peeta going on a "victory tour" of all the Districts of Panem, where they get the sense that a rebellion is brewing. But meanwhile, President Snow (pissed that Katniss and Peeta beat him at his own game) decides to make the upcoming 75th edition of the Games an "all-star" edition... forcing past winners (Katniss and Peeta included) back into the Arena.
  • Aculag
    Aculag Posts: 708 Just Starting Out
    This is what Big Brother is going to be like in 100 years.
  • iso
    iso Posts: 44
    ok for the people who say they don't like The Hunger Games movie. READ THE BOOKS!! The movie is a lot better when u read the books and fully understand what is going on. Because there are a couple main parts that the movie leaves out that are in the books. The first time i watched the movie i thought it was ok. But now since i read the books i think it's an amazing movie! So if you haven't read the books yet, READ EM! But if you havn't you are entitled to your own opinion.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,252 Staff
    I read the book immediately prior to watching the film, and didn't find the film very impressive. It wasn't bad, but not outstanding. The book was better, I'll give you that.
  • jawajohnny
    jawajohnny Posts: 143
    edited August 2012
    @Iso --- A successful book-to-film adaptation is one that stands on its own, and doesn't require that you read the book in order to understand completely. While I've read The Hunger Games, I think the film version completely stands on its own. Same goes for The Lord of the Rings and for the most part, the Harry Potter series. Why didn't you fully understand what was going on in The Hunger Games?
    On the other hand, the terrible, god-awful movie adaptation of Eragon doesn't stand on its on its own, at all. The film cuts out major characters and plotlines that end up being vital to the story later on. It's dumbed down to a "family movie about believing in yourself" and comes off as cheap plagiarism of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Whenever anyone complains about that movie, I immediately point them towards the book. It's like reading a completely different story. The same can't be said for The Hunger Games... which is a very faithful adaptation. Not a flawless one, but one that you can enjoy without having read the book it's based on.
  • fredclips
    fredclips Posts: 228

    On the other hand, the terrible, god-awful movie adaptation of Eragon
    and comes off as cheap plagiarism of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Whenever anyone complains about that movie, I immediately point them towards the book
    My biggest problem with Eragon (besides the fact it was just crap) was the connections to "Dragonriders of Pern". Star Wars and Lord of the rings are often compared just because a movie contains 'fantasy' or a 'hero's journey". But the setup of the Dragon in Eragon just felt like Pern from start to finish.
    Out of the Hunger Games books the first really was the best. The other two had their moments, but I did have to push myself to finish them. (Although I did quite like the ending.)