"The Hunger Games"
|Far right: Hutcherson, Lawrence, Hemsworth|
I reckon many fans of the book, like me, will mostly be concerned about whether the films are going to get the three young leads right, whom we have followed and loved (maybe not all of them, but you will have your favourite two) throughout the three books. Luckily for us, the entire cast was nigh on perfect, with the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is an incredibly endearing, in-no-way-annoying protagonist, who has a lot of character in the book, unlike the protagonist of the book THG is most often compared to, "Twilight", who is completely 2D and incredibly annoying and for who I had not one ounce of sympathy while reading the book. Katniss is a skilled hunter and a beautiful girl, but you don't feel jealous or annoyed by these facts, because she's modest and brave and genuinely merits the admiration she generates and Lawrence was perfect casting for this. She's not just pretty, she has charisma, she is a strong actress, but still shows great modesty and likability. You need all these things for Katniss, as well as a capable actress, considering the range of emotions and horrors the character goes through.
The two male leads were also well chosen. Josh Hutcherson shows all the characteristics we expect from Peeta, though in a far less demanding role than Katniss'. He's sweet, sensitive and strongly moral, but also brave and charming. Hutcherson isn't quite as large or handsome as I imagined Peeta, the powerful blonde baker's son, but he acts Peeta and so he comes to look like Peeta. As you all know, I have much love for Chris Hemsworth, the wonderful Thor, and his younger brother Liam, who plays Katniss' other male lead Gale, is quickly making his way onto my man list. He's like a slightly smaller, dark version of Chris, almost as handsome, and I believe has the potential to prove almost as charismatic. His part in THG is pretty small, but don't worry Hemsworth fans, it is bigger in book 2 and he becomes incredibly significant by book 3. What he mainly does in this first installment is stand there and look handsome and broody, which he does very well, but Peeta is definitely the male lead at this point. Who knows how things will develop later on though... ;)
As always, Elizabeth Banks is PERFECTly cast as Effie Trinket. The representative of the games in district 12, a native of the capital and as such, ridiculously dressed and incredibly oblivious to the horrific reality of the games. It's all a fun show as far as she's concerned, though there's definitely a deeper, slightly more intuitive side of Effie that comes out as the books continue. I love love love Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, one of my favourites in the book, and ditto for Woody Harrelson, ever the amazing performer, as Haymitch Abernathy, the lovable drunk. And I did enjoy an appearance from Wes Bentley as Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane, I haven't seen him since "American Beauty"! My only quarrel with casting was Donald Sutherland as President Snow. There's no problem with his performance, but Snow, as president of the capital, is supposed to have had extensive plastic surgery to reduce aging in his face, probably a lot of botox, resulting in fake, puffy, slimy lips and a repulsive facade which Katniss finds hard to approach. Even with an evil sneer, Sutherland has a pretty comforting face!
|Team Gale? or Team Peeta?|
If you like, or even better love, the books, go see this adaptation! It is incredibly true to the books, to the extent that there were only one or two moments where I thought "That's been slightly altered, but not really," and there are no key excerpts from the book which I noticed missed out. It is very true and a VERY exciting, fun watch!! If you haven't read the book, well, either get reading or get watching! I only condone watching the film without having read the book if you genuinely have no trace of desire to read it. And people, it's time to chose whether you're Team Peeta (which I am in the book) or Team Gale (which I am in the film so far). Is it mega lame to get the t-shirt...?
To see my analysis of "The Hunger Games" books and for a slightly more detailed overview of the plot check out my post "The Hunger Games: A Briefing".
The Hunger Games was awesome, it really put me in a good mood. As I have said a million times, I love it when a book I am particularly fond of is transformed into a great film which really does it justice and I believe this is such a case. What was especially nice about this weekend trip to the cinema is that I left the Odeon to find the sun shining brightly and a warm breeze all around, allowing me to tear off my jumper and enjoy the sun on my arms for the first time in a while. Jim (with whom I watch and share all these movie experiences) and I then went down to Bristol docks, which is just lovely this time of year for an ice cream. But that's not all! No, the weekend delights reached an even greater high on Sunday when we returned to town to watch another film, "21 Jump Street", which turned out to be equally as exhilarating and noteworthy as "The Hunger Games"...
"21 Jump Street"
|Jenko and Schmidt were high school enemies, now they're |
BFFs, hunting down some bad guys!
This is one of the funniest films I have discovered in years. The advert really made me laugh, but as is so often the case with comedies, I was expecting the film to not quite live up to it, to have given away its best bits in the trailer. Not so! Not so at all! This film was even more amusing than its brilliant trailer. The laughs are large and consistent and the film is very fast paced. The two leads both shine in their roles, neither one letting the other down or outshining the other, they balance each other perfectly. There are enough action sequences to keep cop-movie-fans satisfied I believe, and an incredibly cool looking party is held at the boys' home (actually it is Schmidt's home, with whose parents the boys are staying to keep up the facade of being teenage brothers). You also have a bit of a love story between Hill's character and Molly, the coolest girl in school, as well as a hilarious (though not a dominant story) romance between Tatum's clearly not teenage hunk and his chemistry teacher, who can't decide whether her morals outweigh her libido. It ticks all the boxes! I would recommend this to everyone, though I'm sure in reality there are those who will never enjoy this type of film.
A new film on my "Oh my God, I must see that!" list is "The Cabin in the Woods". Why am I adding a horror film to this list? Especially one whose concept resembles "Cabin Fever" which was crap AND scary? Two reasons: 1) It is being directed by Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy", "Angel", "Firefly", "Dollhouse" and the soon to be released "Avengers Assemble", and 2) It stars Chris Hemsowrth, now getting a second mention in this week's blog, and currently heading my man-list. Plus, really, this is no ordinary horror film in which five horny teens or tweens (not exactly sure how old they're supposed to be) end up being attacked by slack-jawed yokels or killing each other instead of sleeping with each other, this film has a much more interesting, unique take on the genre. Check out the trailer to see what I mean (unless you want to go in knowing almost nothing, allowing for more surprises, which can also be fun):