The Girl On Fire. Who Played With Fire. Fire Fire.

Image from themoviebanter.com.
If theres anything I love more than midnight showings, it's midnight showing with a big fan base. It happened with Harry Potter, it happened with Lord of the Rings, and it happened with The Hunger Games. When it's not so much a movie as it is an event--people waiting in line for hours wearing shirts with lines like "I'd go gay for Gale" or Capitol citizen costumes. Others curled up against the wall, noses in the books. As someone who's read all the Hunger Games trilogy, (what the crap, literacy?), I was stoked. And whether it was midnight movie fever or something in the water, the movie gave me everything I wanted. And then some. But there was one, small thing nagging me. Pulling at the back of my brain. One tiny little detail, not about the movie itself, but about the hype around the movie that gets under my skin. Therefore, in order to rectify the atrocities committed to this movie regarding the controversy surrounding it, let's settle this once and for all, shall we? Fifteen paces, draw your weapon, aim, and--


1. Panem > Sparkly Vampires
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Out of everything I was looking forward to, it was definitely the world of Panem itself that had me on the edge of my seat. There is little I love more than futuristic dystopian societies and the world laid out in The Hunger Games is really something else. It's well thought out, epic, and the movie doesn't miss a detail. I'd say more about it, but you really have to see it to understand.

2. Elizabeth Banks > Kristen Stewart
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The acting. Was phenomenal. And I'm super fucking picky when it comes to book-to-movie character adaptations. If an actor doesn't have the right face (which, let's face it, he never will, because no one can ever live up to fictional expectations), I get cranky and bitch and hold grudges (why, Tom Hanks, why did you ever think you could pull off Robert Langdon?). So I was fully expecting to have an actor or two to gripe about by time the movie finished. But the credits began to roll and I, to my surprise, had no complaints. Literally. None. The actors were all spot on, perfectly cast, and acted exactly how I imagined the characters to be. They each stayed true to the spirit of the book--and, hell, even surpassed it sometimes. Seneca Crane? I did not pay attention to that bastard in the novel. Couldn't even remember his name. In the movie, however, he was a stark raving badass. And I wholeheartedly approve. Another mention has to go to Elizabeth Banks, who killed the role. In a good way. I mean, slaughtered it and skullfucked it. She owned Effie Trinket and stole every shot she was in. Even Peeta, who's an annoying little bitch of a character, completely came to life under Josh Hutcherson's practiced smile.

And I have to give a moment for Katniss. Simply because something very, very weird happened. I have a lot of faith in Jennifer Lawrence's acting skills, so I knew she could pull off the reluctant rebel. However, what I didn't expect was that I actually liked Katniss more in the movie than I did in the book. Mainly because I didn't have to get inside her head and listen to every petty teenage girl thought that came out of her head. Katniss simply was--a young woman who will do anything to survive so she can go home and take care of her sister. A character a little rough around the edges, but someone we can connect to on a very human level. In short, Jennifer Lawrence, you win.

3. Haymitch > Everything
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Woody Harrelson has never failed to impress me in the past, and he certainly shines on as Katniss and Peeta's bitter and alcoholic mentor who is given the task to train them for the battlefield. Because, really, when you're about to enter an arena with 23 other bloodthirsty kids fighting for their lives, who doesn't want a drunken Woody Harrelson to guide the way? So maybe he's not Katniss' choice power animal, but he's definitely a scene stealer. I saw the midnight opening-night showing of Hunger Games, so the audience was especially lively, but it didn't take an expert to realize that every time Woody Harrelson showed his face, it lit a match under everyone's funny bone. Even with the fugly blonde hair.

4. Slaughtering Children > Teen Pregnancy
Really. What do you want to watch, an teen battle with the drama of getting pregnant by her vampire boyfriend or children with fucking bows and arrows and swords and throwing knives slaughtering one another mercilessly? You want the barely legal bloodbath, am I right? Right? No? Just me? Er, moving right along...

5. Feeling Things > Feeling Nothing
Image from thesnipenews.com.
One thing I did not expect from Hunger Games was the tone of the movie. When you have a big budget film based on a high grossing novel, you tend to expect it to be sleek and smooth and polished off with that shiny, fake Hollywood polish. Especially when it's rated PG-13. But they didn't back away from the grittier side to Hunger Games. Instead, the movie is intense, even brutal at times, and always visceral. We're with Katniss, in her head, without the bad side-effects of an angst teenager's inner monologue. When she's on stage, we get the overwhelming sensation of being in front of a large audience, their cheers overpowering. When she's hazy and feverish, we get the stilted feeling of being jerked in and out of a linear reality. It's one of those things you'll either love or hate, but I personally really enjoyed. It made it impossible to simply watch the movie without feeling completely involved, eyes and body.

There is a downside to visceral-type movies, though. They're usually not great at action scenes. Why? Well, because when you're getting the shit kicked out of you, everything is a fuzzy, jolting blur. Which is bad enough to experience, but incomprehensible to watch. There were a couple fight scenes that had me scratching my head to figure out who exactly was punching what now? Still, I stand by that this technique works...most of the time. They just need to learn how to keep the camera still for action sequences and we'll be good.

6. Katniss > Bella Swan
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I know, I know. I ogle any hot woman with a lethal weapon in hand. Guilty as charged. That aside, Katniss is the shit. She holds her own, she's epic with a bow and arrow, and she's extraordinarily self-sufficient. Bitch doesn't need no man carrying her purse. She's a strong and able woman who can (more or less) stand on her own two feet. Sure, she's a teenage girl and occasionally needs a kick in the right direction. But what we like about Katniss is that she's completely self-reliant.

And, yes. There's romance. There's a love triangle. It's going to turn into this long, drawn out thing for the rest of the series. But while Bella Swan was torn between a stalker and a furry, Katniss is torn between two men who have faith in her strength and support her. C'mon. Not to mention, the main love of Katniss' life isn't some guy. It's her little sister. Their relationship is palpable in the movie. You feel how much she loves her little sister and then directs that love onto Rue. And look--two women! In a movie! In a competitive sport! Getting along! The horror, the horror! Rue and Katniss have a lovely little sistamance, and it warms my cold and shrinking heart. 

7. Resistance > Domestic Abuse
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Forget every reason that's come before this, because this is the real kicker. And where I show my true, blue colors. The thing that really kills me about both The Hunger Games and Twilight is that they're Young Adult novels. Meant for...young adults. Kids. The movies always slide under the R rating so they can get a young audience to see them. However, when I have a kid and I name her Badass Jr., the last thing I want is for her to come to me and say, "Hey, guess what I learned about today! Sex is evil and men verbally threaten women to show affection and babies eat their way out of their mother's stomach!" No. Not cool. Kids need knowledge. Especially in this day and age, the age of movements like the Egyptian Revolution and Occupy Wall Street, they need stories about government and rebellion. Star Wars does it--the tyrannical government, the rebellion that fights for all the right causes.

The Hunger Games gives us a girl who doesn't care much for politics--she just wants to feed her family. But she gets swept up in the wave of it and comes face to face with government corruption as well as the various walls you hit when fighting a resistance: who is the enemy? Where do you draw the line between "what they are capable of" and "what we are capable of"? How do you defeat the enemy without playing the enemy's game? Now, maybe there's some grand message about the role of vampires in society in Twilight that I'm missing out on because, frankly, my dear, I just don't give a shit, but what it comes down to is The Hunger Games is a smart, relevant movie and good for Rebel Alliance children of all ages.

So let this be the last time The Hunger Games is ever mentioned alongside Twilight just because they're both successful YA novels. The Hunger Games is not Twilight, President Obama is not a muslim, and marrying your cousin is still a bad idea. Now that we've got some basic facts in our brainpan, let's compare Hunger Games to movies that it can actually relate to, like Battle Royale, even if Suzanne Collins is still pretending she's never seen it. Or even Hanna (2010), which the movie itself gave a nod to by including Marissa's Flashback from the Hanna soundtrack (and I wet myself with excitement just a little bit). Really, this movie is fucking epic. If bloodthirsty teenagers, Woody Harrelson, and epic sistamances are your thing, see it. 


  1. Epic fucking review for an epic fucking movie. I so cannot wait to see this. I loved the book and yes, Battle Royale all the way, but hey, if the Wachowski brothers can get away with it, so can Suzanne. ;)

    I love your breakdown in all the reasons why Hunger Games obliterates the very name of Twilight.

    1. Thanks! The movie really is fucking epic, I can't wait to hear your reactions! And you know what they say, good artists copy, great artists steal.

      I'm glad you approve! Anything to dig the knife a little deeper.

  2. Great review/comparison/whatever. I have not read the books yet, but I really enjoyed the film. I loved Katniss, I effin loved Effie and I loved the look of the film. And Woody Harrelson, duh.

    1. Thanks! It's good to know the movie holds up for someone who hasn't read the book. I thought it might, but I couldn't be sure. Effin love Effie! Word. And Katniss and Haymitch. Really, I could've had a movie about Effie and Haymitch being snarky to each other while Katniss glowered for 2 hours and be happy.

  3. The Hunger Games has as much to say about oppressive politics and the bloodthirsty, heartless media as it does about the internal struggle among the combatants. Still though, everybody here is great, especially Lawrence in a star-making role, and definitely has me pumped up for the sequel. Good review M.

    1. Exactly what I was trying to say, but you worded it better. In short: I love that it not only gives you the inspiration to be a good revolutionary, but the inside scoop on how to go about it. Not that revolutionaries these days generally blow up things...I think that went somewhere south of the Weathermen. Politics aside, still an epic movie. Lawrence is fantastic, andI can't wait to seen her pull off the role again. Glad you liked it!

  4. I didn't read the entire review because I've not seen the film yet. (For me, the less I know about HG the better.) I booked tickets for Wednesday, so after I see it, I'll come back and read it top to bottom. :)

    1. Smart move--I'm a bit proponent of the whole "the less I know going in, the better" mindset. Unless everyone's trying to tell me the movie is shit and I got in to see it anyway. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing your reaction!

  5. Damn M., you loved this mofo. Where I might want to hang out with it again, I think you're in it for the long haul. Love is in the air.

    My main issue here is more focused on the book adaptation angle. If it's not like the book, we cry, what the fuck? But if it's exactly like the book, there are no surprises...and to an extent - it's boring. This is kinda how I felt after TGWTDT.

    Regardless of my idiocy, I really liked your comparison piece. Well written and passionate! That shit ain't boring.

    1. AHAHA! You said it, my friend. I definitely had a bit of a love affair with this one, not going to lie.

      However, I can see your point. Still, I think there were enough changes that kept me entertained, especially seeing how the Games worked behind the scenes, all that jazz.

      And thanks! I'm glad you approve. I aim to be not boring!

  6. I'm guilty of thinking THG was going to be another Twilight. I mean, the last time there was such hype about a film was when Twilight was to be released, and with both films being based on YA books... to cut to the chase, I wasn't planning on touching this, not even with a stick.

    But this was a kick-ass review, and after reading, I must admit that I just might have been mistaken about my initial assumptions. I won't flock to the cinema, but I'll definitely check it out on DVD.

    1. I mean, I feared that it would be another Twilight. Like everyone else. Luckily, it slaughtered my fear. But YA books are definitely getting a bad rap. And bad casting. And bad Taylor Lautner.

      Still, I'm glad I got you intrigued! DVD would be the safe way to go. If nothing else, it's muy fun.


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