Saturday, April 21, 2012

May the odds ever pull you away from this movie

I was Haymitch minus drink in my hand while I watched The Hunger Games.  I was slouched in my seat, occasionally popping up because my arm would fall asleep or I was half hoping that Jennifer Lawrence would go Mystique on all the Games’ contestants and then join Magneto in some alternate reality.  Unfortunately just like the book, that never happened.
I only read Hunger Games about three weeks ago, and that means I took my Spring Break and read all three books.  The first book was good, the second book had good parts, the third book was ‘meh’, and the last five chapters were bordering on “Arnold Schwarzenegger in Running Man was better.”  It was bad.  I was happy to hear that the movie seemed much better so my wife and I had an 2 1/2 hour date to the movie theater on Thursday to check it out.
It’s fairly boring.  It’s too long.  It’s The Running Man meets The Truman Show meets Mortal Kombat Junior Edition.  Like my colleague said, “It’s teenagers killing each other.”  Only the book is edgier and scenes in the movie that show the arena production are simple and average.  I mean the whole movie is just….fine.  Jennifer Lawrence is fine.  Woody Harrelson is good.  Elizabeth Banks is good but underused.  Stanley Tucci was fine.  The young male leads all needed to be less pretty, or they needed to die in the first few minutes of the movie, because they were unrealistic and thirteen year old prep school nerdy.  Every time I saw those boys in the forest I started getting antsy for Jesse Ventura to show up and announce that he didn’t have time to bleed.  That’s a man that Jennifer Lawrence could go for.
Oh, and a note for Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane). 
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That’s Richard Dawson (Running Man) and Ed Harris (Truman Show).  Both had tremendous spark as show directors of malevolent games.  Neither was the star of the movie, yet you always looked forward to them on the screen because they had presence and weren’t always saying “Push the button and do something.”  Bentley’s role as Crane just wandered here and there in his Sharpie beard with little real point except to shudder when the President came into the room. 
So watch Hunger Games in the theater, or don’t.  You really won’t be missing a whole lot except for the real cool Prometheus trailer.  But you can save the $8 ticket and watch that online.
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