First off let me preface this by saying if a film is remotely Cyberpunk or Post Apocalyptic, I feel compelled to watch it. It's a weakness that has led to me enduring some goddawful movies. I have watched R.OT.O.R. and Slipstream back to back and survived. I have watched sci-fi originals so horrible that I have burned their titles from my memory... Hunger Games was worse than all of them.
First off let me say, this is not me trying to compare Hunger Games to
the incomparable Battle Royale or even the low budget Series 7: The
Contenders... No I am going to judge this steaming pile of shit on its
own steaming merits...
It's quite obvious that this story was written by a women, and panders
to teen girls with every bullshit cliche you can imagine.... to the
point I am genuinely surprised the whole thing wasn't covered in glitter
and unicorns. Now normally I wouldn't care about this, as there is
more than enough crap out there that panders to teen boys and men in
general. And I believe that some movies should cater to women, and that
girls should have strong role models. But this was simply so overblown
in its obvious grab for attention from the teen girl market it makes
Expendables look subtle... (Note that's not a dig on Expendables, I
love me some expendables, but it caters to a pretty specific crowd
too... just one that I happen to be a part of.)
From the very opening scene, with young Catniss (I don''t really know or
care if I am spelling that right), the fact that this is a young girls
fantasy movie is apparent. As Catniss runs through town, literally
every single person in the town is absolutely filthy, dressed in clothes
the amish would think were frumpy... I guess its supposed to be a
mining town, because it seems the only reference the filmmaker used for
this town was Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter.... hideous "Little
House on the Prairee" dresses for the girls and filthy overall's for
the men. And everyone is just smeared in grime as though bathing was
somehow a lost technology... Yet here comes our our heroine, clean as a
whistle, unblemished, and wearing brand new black jeans, a black tight
shirt, a brand new leather jacket and boots... In a town where people
are trading squirrels for.... well everything it seems, she steps right
out of Teen Beat...
However, soon the lottery or whatever to select the "tribute" is chosen,
and she "uglies up" by putting on a dress just like all the other
hideous dresses, only hers doesn't make her look like she is more afraid
of getting knocked up by her father than everyone else somehow. It
only gets worse from there. Her sister is chosen, so she volunteers to
go in her sisters place, yadda yadda yadda....
This is where it starts to really get awful...
2 things immediately become apparent... everyone in this movie is either
hideous, or ridiculous looking.... except the people we are supposed to
be sympathetic towards, or afraid of, and the level of ridiculousness
of their appearance directly corresponds to how "important" they are to
Every male from Catniss's (fuck that's a stupid name) looks so inbred
that you might think they were extras from Deliverance, except for the
two guys who form the "all too obvious from the beginning" love
triangle... The first guy, who you get the feeling is supposed to be her
true love, is Thor's little brother, who could probably actually pull
off a decent Clark Kent if they rebooted Smallville. The second guy
starts out looking like a wimp, but you know that due to his looks he is
gonna be the third leg of this triumvirate of teen angst...
Then you get to the city, where everyone looks like they were vomited
out of a pride parade float. The outfits and hairstyles are so bloody
ridiculous that if you lived in this society you would poke out your
eyes with a rusty melon scoop just so you wouldn't have to be witness to
the clown parade constantly going on before you eyes. Of course the
actors and celebrities who actually have talent and clout managed to
avoid the worst of this... Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald
Southerland seemed to take one look at this and unanimously screamed..."
I will accept heaping piles of money to be in this bubbling cauldron of
awful, but I will not let you make me look like Christopher Lowell
tried to decorate my face..."
But all of that only illustrates how pandering it all felt... none of
that has anything to do with how horrible the story is.... and it is....
dear god it is.....
So... I am sure the whole idea behind making these kids hunt each other
down makes sense to someone.... I caught something about how 75 years or
some shit prior there was a rebellion, and once it was put down they
decided that every year, each of the districts the rebellion took place
in would pick 2 teenagers, between 12 and 18 (the fuck? how is that even
remotely sensible) to fight to the death in an annual televised death
match. Because somehow making children murder each other keeps people
in line! But you know what, I can deal with that, I have seen a lot
thinner plots in some otherwise pretty great movies...
So the kids get trained, we actually get a pretty neat scene where
Catniss is in her last interview and shoots an apple out of roasted pigs
mouth... then the games start. I am not sure how far into the movie
this actually is, it seems like at least an hour... and I had heard that
this movie got pretty brutal... I was lied too. And when I remember
who told me this lie, I will perpetrate real violence upon them so they
are not mistaken in the future, but I digress. Anyway, the "games"
finally start, and it is quite possibly the least interesting
"slaughter" I have ever seen.... Nothing is really shown, its just quick
edits where you see people kind of limply swinging at each other. It's
not filmed in a poignant enough manner to be disturbing, it's not
bloody or gory enough to be controversial, and its not exciting enough
to be entertaining. The whole scene is just kind of..... meh.
Supposedly in this scene 13 kids die... but it has zero impact on the
audience, unless they have only ever watched Disney teen shows... which
is the intended audience I guess....
From there Catniss sleeps in trees a lot... until finally she is
cornered by a group of kids who have banded together, including tertiary
love table leg guy. She climbs a tree and waits em out, while they
just sit at the bottom waiting for her to get tired and come down and
have the worlds most awkward camping trip... instead of using their axes
and swords to maybe chop the tree down, or using the fire they build to
set it aflame. So in the morning, while the kids below are still
asleep, she sees TBGSLS (Token Black girl surrogate little sister) who
points out above her head is a gigantic wasps nest, full of super deadly
post-apocalypse acid wasps... of course she has been in the tree all
night, ten feet below, but I guess these wasps don't fly very far. So
she climbs up, and slowly cuts the limb holding their nest down, which
falls and the thousands of wasps swarm the kids below. Now we are just
told how utterly deadly these wasps are, and literally thousands of
them, pissed as hell, swarm over the kids... one girl, the girl who just
happened to be carrying the bow, gets engulfed and is killed. We see
the other 4-5 kids (I lose count, they all looked the same to me)
getting stung as well. But they manage to run off. Less than 30
seconds later, Catpiss comes down from the tree, all tripping out and
shit from the 4 or five stings she took. She can barely walk, but all
the thousands of wasps that were just there swarming like crazy not one
minute prior have utterly and inexplicably vanished. She gets the bow
and just kind of wanders away to pass out in the woods where she sleeps
for 2 days while being taken care of TBGSLS. Now here is the thing...
she was stung around 4 or 5 times max and slept for two days. The other
kids, including obligatory boyfriend material guy, were covered in the
wasps as they went running... but only the one girl with the bow
died... I dunno, maybe she was allergic or something, but damn...
Oh and of course when she wakes up, thanks to TBGSLS and her application of leaves, there is not a blemish on Catniss.
Really, the movie just gets dumber from here. There never really is any
action or violence worth speaking about. And somehow, even though
everyone is starving, they can just create hologram dogs that are real
enough to bleed and kill you. If they can do this, why don't they just
create holographic cows and feed everyone? ugh... this movie just
Now beyond all that, the performances weren't bad... The girl playing
Catniss is cute, and can act well enough, she proved that in X-Men first
Class. Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and my boy Lenny do the
best with what they are given... but nothing in this movie makes any
sense. And there are only so many times you can wonder.... "why the
fuck is she just standing around crying? Why is she having a funeral
while people are hunting her down? Why the fuck is she crying again?
Why the fuck am I watching this?" before you just stop caring....
Sadly, no actor could have pulled this crap from the mire of this trite little story and its inept director.
I watched this festering pile of celluloid excrement so you don;t have to.... be thankful.