03/24/12

The Hunger Games: An Amateur Review

So, while there aren’t a lack of The Hunger Games movie reviews out there, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts after watching the movie last night.

What I liked

Overall Essence of Book Achieved:
As I watched the movie, I remembered what made the books so captivating. For me, I was caught up in the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. I was never really sure where she actually stood with him, what was real or what was for the cameras. The movie nailed this aspect of the movie. This tension made it just as uncomfortable to watch the movie as it was to read the book. It takes a lot for a movie to match this kind of emotional intensity created by a book.

Events Happening Outside of Katniss’ POV
The book is written from Katniss’ point of view, so it was a pleasant surprise to see what was happening in District 11, District 12, and the Capital during the games. An even better surprise, to see that Suzanne Collins worked on the screenplay! As I have read the second book in the series, it was nice to see these glimpses into activity outside the arena that may indicate some events in the future.

What Surprised Me

Katniss Dominating The Screen
I never doubted that Katniss was beautiful, as well as strong, smart, and agile in the book. In the movie, Katniss stole every scene. The lighting, the make-up and the wardrobe made her a force to be reckoned with.

Chemistry between Katniss and Cinna
What the what? Great fodder fan-fiction and that’s all I have to say about that.

What I Didn’t Love

Shaky Camera Work
During several of the action packed scenes, the use of the not-so-steady cam made it hard to keep perspective on what was happening. I don’t know if it was a device used to blur the violence of some scenes or not, but it was distracting all the same.

Lukewarm Girl on Fire
While reading the book, one of the most moving scenes was when Katniss and Peeta arrived in the Tribute Parade. I was expecting a lot from this scene in the movie, and I was left underwhelmed by the on-screen version of events. I could sense Katniss’ apprehension and reluctance, but the powerful impact of their appearance was missing. For months, I have imagined what music would accompany this scene in the movie. Now, I can’t even recall any specific music during the scene. So, the next time I watch it, I will imagine this song instead (“When I arrive, I bring the fire…”)

In summary, I think this was a good movie and true to the essence of the book. It was also great being in a theater for a movie again and hashing over the movie with friends after. What opens next week?

05/24/05

The Value of Millions

During the last couple of weeks, I listened to the audiobook version of the book Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. The story of two preteen brothers (saint-loving Damian and future investment banker Anthony) is both heartwarming and funny as we follow their quest to spend over 200,000 British pounds before England converts to the Euro. Damian thinks the money was sent to them from God so they could perform good deeds, a fact which is supported by the various saintly visions he has. Anthony knows better and thinks the money should be used to expand their investment portfolio by buying a house. As the days until conversion near, Anthony learns that the money came from a robbery attempt and Damian realizes that the money is creating more problems than it solves.Tonight I saw the movie based on the book and I highly recommended it. The screenplay was written by the author, so the story’s voice and integrity remained intact. The book is told in first person, so I was impressed with how well the movie revealed the character of Damian. Both boys were adorable and Damian’s effort to do the right thing and deal with this mother’s death were very touching. The father was shown as strong, hardworking, loving, and vulnerable, which I found honest and compelling. His burgeoning relationship with another women adds another twist to this already dynamic slice of real family life. The cinematic effects and diverse soundtrack complete this well-done adaptation of an excellent book.Don’t trust me? Check out Roger Ebert’s review. He says, “This is one of the best films of the year.”

05/19/05

Bandwagon Hopper

While I may not be a diehard Star Wars fan, I have to appreciate the parodies flying around my cyber-galaxy. Here’s one for organic food fans starring Cuke Skywalker, Chewbroccoli, Tofu D2, Lord Tader, Ham Solo and others: Store Wars (first seen on the Shifted Librarian blog). Stacy sent me this link to the Star Asciimation Wars. While I can applaud someone listening to their own Star Wars whispers, I have to wonder who has this kind of time? Really? (This is coming from the same person who will most likely spend the rest of the night NOT doing homework, housework, or estate legal work!)

05/12/05

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: If the Pants Fit…

Okay, so I was finally convinced to try out this Traveling Pants phenomenon and would you believe that I actually liked the series (by Ann Brashares)? I want a pair of these pants, but I have a feeling that Eddie Bauer doesn’t carry them. Really though, I enjoyed this series and I am looking forward to watching the upcoming movie based on the first book. The four girls that comprise the sisterhood are unique, but I found something about each of them that I could identify with. The topics covered are both adolescent and mature, but I appreciated the way certain situations were handled (no spoilers here!). Try this series on for size; I’m certain it will be a good fit!Plus, if you want to find out which member of the sisterhood is your “soulmate”, try this website: http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/sisterhoodcentral/quiz.html.