So I was originally just writing this in the forums, intending it to be a paragraph or two, but… then I got pissed and figured I’d share my unchecked (meaning un-proofread) rage on the main page. Strap-In.
Top 5 Worst Things About The Hunger Games.
5. The Setting
OK, so far as I can gather this film took place on a world in which there are twelve working class districts filled with poor Amish-like peasants that surround, or are on the outskirts of, a giant futuristic metropolis inhabited by psychotic clown-people. And I mean LITERAL clowns…
They have talk-shows and parades and giant circus tents full of these freaks applauding and cheering for the mass murder of poor people’s children. And, so far as I could tell, all the clown people are gay. And by that I mean homosexual. Though they’re also queerer than a John Waters film-festival on psilocybin mushrooms. And their ranks include Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley and Stanley Tucci. And while none of these are bad things (in fact I think if handled right they could make for a great horror film), when all combined and stuck in an action-thriller, it’s so bizarre, scary and ill-explained that I had a complete disconnect and began struggling to care about anything mere minutes into the film.
4. The Characters
So the story begins in one of the aforementioned districts and follows a girl named Catlips, a teenage hunter who forages for squirrels with a bow and arrow to support her catatonic mother and constantly crying little sister. OK?
Next, Catlips volunteers to kill other kids in the tournament from Battle Royale, taking her sister’s place when the time comes to “pay tribute” to the clown people who live in Future-City. Why? Because 75 years ago someone pissed off Donald Sutherland and his clown people by demanding equal rights or something.
And there’s your plot.
By the way, THIS IS ALL YOU EVER GET TO KNOW ABOUT THE MAIN CHARACTER. Outside of the fact that the tacked on love-interest boy (Peta, I think his name was?), once threw her a loaf of moldy bread out of pity–THAT’S IT. And yes, that bread shit is the entire reason for their relationship. And there is seriously nothing more to it… At some point, in the past, he saw her sitting out in the rain and chucked a loaf of bread in the mud near her… Now they must fight for each-others survival… WTF? How do they expect me to give a shit?
On top of that, Catlips and the rest of the children could not have been dumber without somehow accidentally becoming smarter. You know those times when you’re watching an action or horror movie and you find yourself screaming at the screen, “NO, STUPID! DON’T DO THAT!”, or “JESUS CHRIST! THE ANSWER IS RIGHT THERE! RIGHT, FUCKING, THERE!”. Yeah, this film is nothing but those and it’s downright exhausting. Every possible smart choice is ignored and passed by. I could quote specifics, but it’s unnecessary as it happened at least once every couple of minutes of screen-time. Unbelievable.
ANYways, the entire rest of the cast are either as ill-explained as Cat and the boyfriend, or not even bothered to be given a name at all. Including every other contestant in the game. I recall hearing a name or two of the 24 playing, but not a single backstory is given to any, which made for some super thrilling UN-filmed death scenes, let me tell you!… Man when Boy From District 4 was killed off-screen–it sure pulled on my heartstrings, I tell you what. Which brings me to number 3…
3. The Violence
Q. How does one make a movie about 24 children killing one another and have practically no violence at all?
A. Rhetorical, I’ll answer it in #2. But for here, I’ll just say that after a literal hour and forty minutes of boring set-up featuring montage upon montage of elite killer training, I don’t think I could have been let down more by the actual “Games” of the title.
2. The Cinematography
This film has, without a doubt, THE worst use of shaky-cam and quick-cuts I’ve yet seen. No contest. Every–EVERY! shot with even the smallest amount of action (Even Walking!) is vibrating back and forth as though it were filmed at sea during a fucking typhoon. And the sequences of actual battle? Unwatchable. You. Can’t. See. Shit. It’s a fucking blur of nonsense. And the fact that this was directed by the man who made Pleasentville (one of the most beautifully shot films of all-time), is a God damned disgrace.
As if the fact that the film is nearly unwatchable from a visual perspective wasn’t enough, they had to go and make the story a nightmarish barrage of WTFs?
First, there’s like no fucking rules for the game. Seriously–they don’t even have a time limit. None. So there’s no sense of urgency, at all. Even the one understood rule (Last One Alive Wins) doesn’t even hold up.
Another one: Sponsors. The first 90 or so minutes is almost entirely devoted to hammering home the fact to the contestants and us the audience that the most important aspect of the game is pleasing the clown-people so you’ll be sponsored by them and be delivered weapons, food and survival tools during the game. Yet, when the game begins–this is never a factor. The only time something close to someone “sponsoring” anyone is when Catlips’ coach sends her some neosporin and a bowl of pisswater. But! It’s sent by her coach–NOT A SPONSOR. I didn’t see one Clown-Pepsi, Clown-Car Motor Oil or Clown Make-Up patch on anyone. There are no fucking sponsors! No one sends no one jack shit. Everything in the game is either there from the beginning, sent by Woody Harrelson, or sent by the head clown to make things more interesting to the in-movie viewers. What a fucking waste of time!
But the worst has to be the introduction of what I can only call Magic, during the third act. SPOILERS, I Guess… First, Catlips and Peta get their hands on a salve that cures both their giant blade wounds (which they accrued off-camera) in a matter of minutes. POOF! We’re healed! And second–Oh, man was this the worst–Out of nowhere, The Wes Bentley Clown decides the game is boring and one of his programers brings up a hologram of a half-dog, half-molerat, which he shrieks at with glee. And–this is so fucking stupid–the programer then taps on her board and the CG Mole-Dog-Rats spawn from out of the nether-verse and kill off the remaining nameless children. They just pop out of ground. And I don’t mean, like they were there before, just hanging out in underground holes–NO! The programer created them on her desktop and magically transports them into reality. They shoot up from nothing like fuckin’ video-game sprites! Whoop-whoop-whoop! You can’t just introduce game-changing mechanics into a movie at the zero hour like that! I. Call. Bullshit. END SPOILERS
You know, I knew my fingers weren’t quite on the pulse of pop-culture these last couple of years, but if crap like this and Twilight and those awful Harry Potter adaptations are what constitutes Must-See Blockbuster Entertainment–my fingers are better buried up my own ass. You kids enjoy–I’m fuckin’ done and over it.