Hoping to create the same fanatic following as the ‘Twilight’ films, ‘The Hunger Games’ comes to cinematic life
It was Jennifer Lawrence’s fierceness and devotion to family as the memorable Ozark teen Ree in Winter’s Bone that likely showed she had the grit to play the fierce survivalist Katniss Everdeen in the hoped for next big movie franchise, kicking off with The Hunger Games, based on the insanely popular novel by Suzanne Collins.
Lawrence was an excellent choice, although I’m not sure the initial film starring the heroine Katniss quite lives up to the expectations of the novel. This is pure speculation on my part, since I have not read the book. All I can go by is the film and the overall impression that we are just scratching the surface of the Katniss legend, and that in order to set up better adventures to come, the initial film was burdened with having to set the mood.
Mood setting and background building can be a bit tedious, but by the time of the actual games of the title, when children are send to slaughter other children in the name of TV entertainment, the power of the premise is better expressed.
For those rare moviegoers who don’t already know the story of The Hunger Games, here it is. In this landscape, the rich live in the obscene decadence of having everything they need within easy reach while the outlying districts are overwhelmed by poverty and the struggle to survive each day.
If that were not enough, some seventy plus years earlier, an uprising by the poor led to a crushed rebellion and a yearly punishment. Each of 12 districts has a lottery each year known as a reaping in which a boy and girl ranging in age from 12 to 18 is selected to compete in the Hunger Games, with one survivor crowned each year. It is a premise that reaches back to the gladiators of Rome and forward to the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film The Running Man.
When Katniss Everdeen, the tenacious 16-year-old with impressive hunting skills, sees her terrified 12-year-old sister selected in the lottery, she volunteers to take her place. Joined by her male district 12 selection, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson,) they are taken to the capital city and prepared to participate in the games
I hope the Bridesmaids connection makes more people take notice of this touching and funny film about a new take on parenthood in the modern world. It’s funny and touching and there is one prominent “poop” joke, but that’s where the similarity to Bridesmaids ends.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I’ve put together a list of my favorite movies with an Irish theme or locale. This list includes dramas, comedies, a drama with music, a movie with Sean Connery singing and, of course, the most popular Irish-themed movie in American film history.
While Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax was designed to entertain kids, the plot would make the Occupy Wall Street crowd jump for joy, along with environmentalists.
Nicholas Sparks novels have been turned into movies that give teenage girls a chance to enjoy dreamy teen heartthrobs who prove their mettle as believers in true love. The best one was The Notebook, which gave Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams their first major film roles. The rest haven’t been so bad (A Walk to Remember, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Last Song) but they haven’t been so great either. The Lucky One falls right into the same slot, enjoyable in spots, but with a few too many contrivances. Zac Efron, who took his Disney TV stardom...