Any predictions on how good it will be and whether it will be a must see?
Personally, I found the first book to be a good read. But I thought it was "twighlight-ed" by making it about teenagers and squeezing in a love triangle. I kept thinking the story would be more interesting with adults in the games who could have a back story and better skills.
As a parent, I didn't find the idea of kids fighting to the death to be appealing. That's not stopping from going to see the Imax version this weekend.
See, I thought the love triangle was nicely underplayed - it could have been much more of a story driver, which I think would have been disastrous - and its presence in the story undoubtedly helped the book gain traction with an audience it might otherwise have missed.
I'm a big fan of the books (especially Mockingjay, which took some serious risks), and I'm hearing good things about the movie as far as not backing down from the idea that this is not a "cool" battle: These ARE kids, being forced to fight to the death for no greater purpose at all. (As opposed to the Ender's Game scenario, where kids get all screwed up in battle school, but, you know, it's to save Earth and all.)
My wife & daughter & I are all very excited about the movie, though we have to wait until our daughter returns from a school trip, so we plan to see it in its second week.
The movie will be a blockbuster -- I am a fan of the books and will probably see the movie with our boys this weekend.
Remember the Scholastic demographic -- this is not really intended to be a book series for adults, but for YA, so young love is a factor, as is love of family and love of friends. Remember the book is first person POV of a teenaged girl and I think the author did a pretty good job of not making her too much of an adult.
The second and third books contain more info on the adults - you should read them. As with any movie that is based on a book, there is a hope that it will encourage more kids to pick up a book and read and possibly write one, or at least a review.
By the way -- we send our kids off to fight to the death every year - ever heard of any of the wars this country has fought in since it began? We have been at war almost constantly, if you look at it. We are also in a kind of opression too, if you think about that for a while. So, present-day America is not too far removed from Panem.
I saw it this past weekend and I was thoroughly impressed. I will admit it took a fair amount of goading from my wife to read the books (she tried it with Twilight and still gets taunted almost daily with sparkly vampires) but when I did I couldn't put them down. I am not going to spoil anything for anyone going to see the movie but I have to say that it was probably one of the best book to screenplay adaptations I have seen in a long while. Obviously things are going to be omitted but what was didn't really bother me.
As a dad some of the imagery got to me, while the violence isn't over the top these are kids killing kids for entertainment and some of the brutality of that statement defintely played over to the big screen.
My biggest complaint about the movie was the overuse of handheld cameras. I understand the shakiness during the battle scenes, but many shots would have benefited from using a mount.
I think they were purposely trying for the 'reality' thing -- the books are from Katniss' point of view, after all.
I agree that they were overdone, but I think it was done to add enough chaos to the scenes in order to downplay the violence.
I saw this movie and, although I tend to like cartoonish violence, Terminator, Aliens, Matrix, anime(some), etc. etc., I found it profoundly disturbing. I hate spoilers, so I didn't read the book (my wife has it) and I didn't do more than watch the trailer, so I was expecting some type of alien overlords or something (honestly) what with the beaming up and all. Youngish kids chopping each other up with swords and spears in pointless combat for the whole movie was NOT what I was expecting. Since I have a kid who in (3-4?) years would be in there getting chopped, the whole concept was way too disturbing for me to get any fun out of watching. My wife, of course, liked it and gently ribbed me about my reaction, but as a parent, it somehow triggered some kind of protect-impulse in me. In thinking about it too much, I even experienced a bit of a meta-moment, where I said "why am I watching this? Movies are for entertainment, this entertainment is about watching kids kill each other, therefore, I'm really no different in watching this movie than those in the movie watching the Hunger Games themselves, if my goal is to be entertained by this stuff."
Anyway, for what its worth, I liked the acting and thought it was technically pretty good. But I'm not watching it again.
I was surprised that the book was so gory, considering that it is a Scholastic title. It should be disturbing to view the film by someone who has not read the books. I agree, it is insane to send our children off to kill each other. We have become desensitized and that is one of the problems with our society. The technology the Capitol has (vs. what the Districts have) is so advanced as to be like magic, so in a way the people of the Capitol ARE alien overlords (or like the Roman Empire). Bread and Circuses.
Oddly enough, Oliver, you've touched on the very reasons why I liked it so much and found it so compelling that I went back and saw it again just two days after the first time.
Not all movies (or books, or TV shows, etc.) are for straight-up entertainment. (Schindler's List is a moving and harrowing and amazingly powerful masterpiece, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again, and I certainly wouldn't say it was a movie made for entertainment.) There is storytelling that aims for something deeper, and I think The Hunger Games fits in that category. I don't think this is supposed to be a "fun" movie. And I think the telling aspect is that no portion of the games is scripted or played for a "satisfy the moviegoers' bloodlust" moment - it's not meant to echo John McClane making the audience applaud with a quickdraw takedown of Hans Gruber.
Your last comment in the first paragraph is also interesting, in that it evokes the very reason that the filmmakers said none of these movies will be in 3-D: They said it would be adding inappropriate spectacle to a serious story, and actually said it in almost the same way as you did, along the lines of "If we make these in 3-D, we become the Capitol."
Just my two cents, and I understand and respect your opinion. More than anything, your post helped me figure out a little bit of why the movie got its hooks in me, so thanks for triggering.
I would like to share this link to the NY Times that helps to explain things from the author's perspective.