Aug. 20th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
Being an obstinate sort who waits for the movie then waits for it to stream through Apple Movies, I just saw the film over the weekend.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good and that was largely due to some strong casting. Gee, Lenny Kravitz can act! Having Woody Harrelson play himself? Great idea! You knew Rue was doomed the second you saw her, but the kid who played her did a great job. Overall though, Jennifer Lawrence sold the movie. Fans of the book initially complained she wasn't emaciated and sickly enough but Lawrence made you believe the character and empathize with her. Katniss is strong without being invincible (and none of that silly girl power stuff where a skinny actress takes out 6'2" 200 lb mountain of muscle with kung fu), tough without being cruel, and is-rarities of rarities--a kind, decent person in spite of her crummy circumstances. I also have to give props to the costume and makeup people because a glammed-up Katniss still doesn't look like glammed-up Jennifer Lawrence in real life.

The games themselves are profoundly disturbing. Not so much because it involves minors battling to the death. I spent five and a half years on juvenile crime after all. They're disturbing because supposedly sophisticated and advanced people seem to think it's great entertainment and it doesn't seem (from the movie, don't know about the book) that anyone has a problem with it. Even if it appears the game broadcast is willing to manipulate the players, which usually generates some kind of empathy or sympathy. It doesn't appear from the film that any one of the Lady Gaga lookalikes have any kind of second thoughts about the whole thing. What a bunch of sick freaks.

At various times you can tell the source material is a YA book. The dystopian set-up is rather basic and leaves a lot unexplained. Why put 12-18 year-olds in the games, and not say, males 18-35? It's because the book was written for 12-18 year-olds and this makes the main characters peers of the reader. Events at times are manipulated to miraculously help the characters, for example, changing the rules so that the dreaded Katniss vs. Peeta showdown never happens. Peeta consciously plays to the cameras, knowing it's crucial to survival but Katniss just has to be herself and voila, she's the girl to watch. I also can't believe people would put up with this nonsense for 75 years. No one tries to run away? Nobody quits the games? People would be crippling their sons and marrying off their daughters at 11 to save them from this sort of thing.

Still, it is a rather pointed metaphor for what happens to the fresh meat that comes to Hollywood. The games contestants are treated at first like American Idol competitors, dolled up in couture and chatting on live t.v. with Pandem's version of Ryan Seacrest. Then the brutality follows, leaving a trail of casualties, living fast and dying young.

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