Tag Archives: Josh Hutcherson

Watch The Second Trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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A brand new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 has released. In the trailer, President Snow is back again in another PSA style trailer promising that Panem has never been more unified. Peeta is at his side once more.

The message from Panem reads:

#OnePanem CITIZENS: Never have we been more unified as a nation… The Capitol and the districts are bound together in solidarity, striving to forge a stronger future.
Join esteemed victors Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason in their support of President Snow’s Panem Address, “Unity,” brought to you by Capitol TV in stunning 4K.

However, is it really unity when surrounded by soldiers? Not to mention the appearance of District 13 who pirates the transmission and interrupts the broadcast? “This is a pirate transmission from District 13. The message: The Mockingjay lives.”

Part one sees Katniss in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

The film stars Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksJulianne MooreJeffrey WrightDonald Sutherland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 hits theaters on November 21. (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 will release on November 20, 2015). 

Lionsgate Releases Amazing Catching Fire IMAX Poster

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has revealed a pretty amazing new IMAX one sheet poster that has intense detail while remaining eye-catching and gorgeous. You can see the poster above. The poster was inspired by the work of artist Kris Kuksi.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is almost here. The sequel film based on Suzanne Collins’ novel, Catching Fire, was produced and distributed by Lionsgate. Francis Lawrence is set to direct a screenplay from Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones and Willow Shields also reprising their roles.

The supporting cast for Catching Fire includes Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen,Meta Golding, Amanda Plummer and Jeffrey Wright.

After winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss returns home to District 12 along with fellow winner Peeta Shortly after returning home, they must embark on a “Victory Tour” of the districts, leaving behind their close friends and family again. On the day of the Victory Tour, President Snow (Sutherland) threatens Katniss’ best friend and pretend cousin, Gale Hawthorne, outraged after she and Peeta broke the rules of the 74th Hunger Games that allowed them both to win. During the tour, Katniss senses that a rebellion is brewing in the districts, but the Capitol is still firmly in control as Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games, known as a Quarter Quell, an event taken place every 25 years – a competition that could change Panem forever.

In this Hunger Games, the tributes will be reaped from the existing pool of victors, making all the other Games look like child’s play. As Peeta and Katniss end up in the arena again (as the only victors of District 12 with the exception of Haymitch), this time surrounded by experienced and vicious killers, President Snow is determined to eliminate them and destroy the rays of hope and the sparks of rebellions brewing up in the Districts. Now Katniss and Peeta must do whatever it takes to defeat their foes and come out on top once again and ignite the flames of rebellion in Panem.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is scheduled to be released in IMAX on November 22, 2013.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire Debuts Final Trailer

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Lionsgate has debuted the final trailer for the upcoming film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The film will see the return of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones and Willow Shields also reprising their roles.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy. The film picks up where The Hunger Games left off as Katniss and Peeta have returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour’ of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

The new trailer debuted during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Fox. It contains very little dialogue but does feature President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, in voice-over, saying: “Miss Everdeen, you fought very hard in the arena. But they were games. Would you like to be in a real war?” The clip then cuts to him watching Katniss, played by JenniferLawrence, on a TV screen as she wields her bow and arrow in the Hunger Games arena.

The trailer also includes a glimpse at Katniss’ and Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) fiery costumes as well as some intense action inside the arena.

Francis Lawrence is set to direct a screenplay from Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters Nov. 22. Watch the final trailer below:

Francis Lawrence Signs On To Direct Mockingjay Part 1 and 2

When Gary Ross left the The Hunger Games franchise after the first film, it was up in the air whether or not new director Francis Lawrence would stick around. Thankfully, he recently announced that he would be also helming the two part adaptation of the final novel, Mockingjay. 

Lawrence came in to take over directing the second adaptation of Catching Fire which is currently filming in Atlanta.

Franchise star, Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, commented on the new director saying,

“He’s fantastic. He’s such a smart guy. He has some great ideas for the movie. I just really like where his head is at. I really like him a lot.”

Catching Fire also sees the addition of several new cast members as fans are given a whole new set of tributes for the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell. Main cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks also return.

New cast members include Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, Lynn Cohen as Mags, Meta Golding as Enobaria, Bruno Gunn as Brutus, Alan Ritchson as Gloss, E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff, Maria Howell as Seeder, Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere.

Catching Fire will hit theaters on November 22, 2013.

Josh Hutcherson Talks Catching Fire

The Hunger Games official DVD was released this week and recently the star of the film and subsequent films, Josh Hutcherson sat down and answered questions about the world phenomenon series.

Hutcherson plays Peeta Mellark, the fellows District 12 tribute alongside Katniss Everdeen. But just because he has been in the media for a while already doesn’t mean he isn’t still nervous.

“I was really nervous about it to be honest,” Hutcherson said about embarking on the film franchise, based on a trilogy of best-selling books by Suzanne Collins. “It’s crazy because living up to ‘The Hunger Games‘ coming out, everybody was talking about how it’s going to change everything, your whole life — it’s going to be so different,” he explained. “I like my life! I didn’t want that to happen and it didn’t… I’m still me and I’m still doing my normal things that I have always done.”

Hutcherson also spoke about the fans of the series and their passion.

“‘Hunger Games fans’ are ravenous and extremely passionate.  They’re the absolute best,” he said.

And when he says passionate, he isn’t lying.  Hutcherson remembered a time when fans showed up at his home in Kentucky.

“I had a couple of fans who showed at my doorstep in Kentucky,” he said, adding that they arrived the day after Christmas last year. “They just wanted to meet me and say ‘hi.’ They were freaking out and crying.  They drove eight hours on the chance that I might be home…  That was intense.  I was like, ‘Whoa!  This is my home in Kentucky.  Why are you here?’  It was crazy.  There are some crazy fans out there.”

Now that the DVD has been released, Hutcherson is looking toward the future and the filming of Catching Fire, the second film in the series.

I’m so excited it’s finally here, the time to start making it is finally here. I can’t wait to get shooting.” Given that a script didn’t exist just a few short months ago, it’s hard to believe everything is, in fact, prepped. But it is, according to Hutcherson: “I do have a script in hand and it’s awesome.  I love it so much,” Hutcherson confirmed, revealing that he met with newly-installed director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend,” 2007, “Water for Elephants,” 2011) to discuss the film’s vision. “We talked about how important it was to really make the movie version of the book and that was Francis’s goal from day one — and the script definitely portrays that.  It’s a very true-to-the-book rendition of the movie.”

Hutcherson also confirmed that fans will see a bigger and buffer Peeta this time around.

 “I’ve been working out a lot, getting back in the right shape for the role — because this last year, I sort of split my time and enjoyed myself — so I’ve been paying for that for the last month-and-a-half or so, getting back into the gym and eating healthy,” Hutcherson said.

One of the most enticing subplots of the series is the love triangle between the lead characters, Peeta, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

“It’s such a tough position that I know Peeta is put in where he is in absolute love with this girl and she acts like she’s in love with him, but he knows that she isn’t — and that is heartbreaking. As an actor, it’s something that I’m really excited play because it’s such a a conflicting emotion… It’s a very conflicting, confusing kind of thing and I can’t wait to play it out.  It’s really, really intense and exciting, I think.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set to be released in theaters November 22, 2013. Filming will begin soon and will see all the lead characters returning.

Francis Lawrence Offered Catching Fire Directing Gig

The Internet has been swirling with rumors over the past week of which director was going to land the coveted gig of directing the sequel to The Hunger Games, called Catching Fire. It was revealed to be between two directors, Francis Lawrence and Bennett Miller. The scramble to find a new director began after director Gary Ross opted out of returning to direct its sequel.

Now, EW has confirmed that Francis Lawrence has been offered the job.

Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer Lawrence, star of the franchise) previously helmed I Am Legend. They have reported that Lawrence won the job after a Miller’s commitment to shoot the biopic Foxcatcher ultimately proved he would not be able to do the film.

It was no secret that Lionsgate needed a new director fast after Ross bowed out. The film was scheduled to begin production this fall in order to stay on course for their already planned release date of November 22, 2013. In order to stay on track, the film must finish shooting by December for production to begin and for Jennifer Lawrence to begin production of her other film, the sequel to X-Men: First Class.

Considering that Catching Fire is on a considerably larger scale with several locations as well as a tropical-type Arena, Lionsgate is putting their trust in Lawrence’s ability to handle this bigger and more exotic canvas of the setting and story. Lawrence already has extensive experience with incorporating visual effects-drive action scenes and large scale worlds from his first two films, 2005′s supernatural thriller Constantine and 2007′s post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Legend. However, despite his ability, one reservation occurs and that is the romantic angle of Catching Fire. Lawrence previously director the drama Water for Elephants, which fizzled at the box office with many critics giving bad reviews for the romance between between Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. However, the romance between Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson, is a huge part of the sequel. Some worry he will stick with the less romance more action angle that the first film put in place, much to the dismay of diehard fans everywhere.

Lawrence will have to prove himself to fans and critics alike for this highly anticipated sequel.

As the sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire continues the story of Katniss and Peeta. Following the events of the previous novel, a rebellion against the oppressive Capitol has begun, and Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta Mellark are forced to return to the arena in a special edition of the Hunger Games in the 75th Hunger Games Quarter Quell.

The sequel will see the return of stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, and Woody Harrelson.

The Hunger Games Wins Box Office For A Fourth Week

It seems that after four weeks in theaters, The Hunger Games will continue to dominate. Even though it has slipped since opening weekend, it has successfully fended off several films in the box office, and accumulating over $300,000 domestically.

The Hunger Games adaptation based on the novel series by Suzanne Collins was adapted for the big screen by Gary Ross. Despite three new films hitting theaters over the weekend, The Hunger Games earned $21.5 million while in its fourth week. It should be noted that a film remaining at #1 for several weeks back in 2000, wasn’t that surprising. However, with the downturn of the economy, much has changed in the movie industry in the last 12 years. Now it is pretty amazing for a film to grab audiences like it has.

The only other films to achieve this honor has been The Dark Knight and Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, while James Cameron’s Avatar remained at #1 for seven weeks.

Globally, The Hunger Games has crossed the $500 million mark with its success this weekend gaining its spot in the Top 100 Highest Grossing Films of all time after just one month in theaters.

This past weekend, The Hunger Games was up against new releases of Battleship, The Three Stooges, and The Cabin in the Woods.

The film is expected to gross even more by the time the weekend is over.

The director of the smash-hit film, Ross, has decided agaisnt directing its sequel, Catching Fire which is scheduled for release on November 22, 2013.

Tackling The Hunger Games Film – A Review With Illustrations

Elena-

I have to start this discussion by donning my hipster glasses and saying, “I liked The Hunger Games back when it was called Battle Royale.”  Because seriously, after watching this movie I am embarrassed for Collins at how similar her first book is to the Japanese original.  I mean, I thought the story sounded similar before I saw the movie (no, I have not read the books), but I figured the execution would make it obvious the similar premises were coincidental…holy crap, no.  So many details were the same, just shifted to a different world.  It really was like she just re-told the story in a different context.  If the similarity between the stories was truly convergent creativity, someone at her publisher needs to be fired for not knowing the market of dystopian gladiatorial games better and asking her to make it less similar in edits.

More specifically than the idea of the government forcing teenagers to fight to the death as a display of state power and a punishment for rebellious violence, we have:

-The opening scenario with weapons and supplies in the middle to either be fought over or abandoned to the player’s disadvantage

-The protagonists’ strategy of run to the fringes and let the bulk of the competitors kill each other off

-The manipulation of the game environment by the gamemaster in order to herd the players who run to the fringes back to the others

-The clear announcement of who has died so the competitors know who is left to kill

-The gang mentality where some of the players group together to kill everyone else off first

-The super crazy psycho killers who are masterful players—in BR they were past winners, here they are the District 1 and 2 kids who train for the games their whole lives

-The two protagonists who manage to remain morally superior, only killing those who attack them, shielding the weaker as they can, and relying on their trust in one another to make it through the game

-The ending where the two lovers won’t kill each other and defy the gamemaster and survive…and the gamemaster does not.

There is just no way this is anything except an American re-envisioning of the original.  The parallels are too pervasive and consistent.  We live in an age of remakes, so I wouldn’t even care that it’s a remake—hell, as remakes go this is an impressive and exceptionally creative one, and if they were all like this I wouldn’t mind them so much—except for the disavowal of a connection.  I think it’s publisher-driven, because they didn’t want to get sued or have to pay rights.  Fine.  Keep your plausible deniability…but the rest of us know better.

Removes decorative spectacles.

So, now that my bit of truth-telling is out of my system, what did I think about the movie?

I liked it more than I expected to.  While it was worse than I expected in terms of seeming like a rip-off of another book/movie (BR was also both), it was better than I expected in terms of immersion and character engagement.  I could see what makes the story and the setting so intriguing and why so many people are obsessed with the series.  It had that crack-like quality of plausible WTF that is so fun and enticing and contagious.

Rachel-

What I liked:

Jennifer Lawrence. I like her for lots of reasons. That she has a normal body, an expressive face and a killer sense of humor is a given. All pros. She also IS Katniss. She’s got that whole stoic, tortured survivor-girl thing DOWN. I loved her. I’m not convinced her acting was the product of Director Gary Ross’ actual direction or if this girl just has incredible instincts. She was wonderful in Winter’s Bone. I’m tending to give her all of the credit. She even made all those stupid costumes look great.

Elena-

Absolutely agree that credit goes to Lawrence and not Ross here.

Rachel-

The rest of the cast was pretty solid. I wasn’t convinced of Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch but he sold it. Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta was perfect (if a little TOO enthusiastic about conjuring paint and brushes, plus his “confused” face pretty much made me laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME), but every time he did his shit eater grin during the interviews I thought, “damn you, Peeta!” It’s hard to judge Liam Hemsworth’s Gale, since he only had about five lines, but he seemed capable of killing many squirrels.

Elena-

Gale was a total Spiller! Ergo…husband material?

Rachel-

Exactly! TOTAL Spiller! Even if the actorkid is dating Miley Cyrus. We can forgive him youthful indiscretions. Anyways, where was I?

I thought Elizabeth Banks’ Effie was perfect. Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman was delightfully manic while Lenny Kravitz’ Cinna was…well he was really bad. The only stinky acting in the entire flick. Whenever he was on screen I could hear the rest of the crew wandering around the set in my head because it was always so jarring.

Elena-

Banks was one of the stand-outs for me, too.  I forgot she was in it, and it took most of the train ride for me to figure out that she was Effie.  I didn’t find Cinna that bad, but perhaps not as charismatic as he should have been to gain Katniss’s immediate and absolute trust in his vision as a designer?

Rachel-

Whatever. He came off as a creepy weirdo.

I also liked that they chose to do so much of the filming on location. Mostly because the stuff they didn’t do on location looked like crap.

Elena-

I was so underwhelmed by the capital city and the buildings in it (did the night shot of the city look like New York to anyone else?).  I mean, maybe Katniss and Peeta don’t know any better, but we do.  That shit was not impressive.  And the sets around President Sutherland looked so…fake!  The capital is made out of plastic.  How has the revolution not happened already?

The fashionistas of the capital were right up my alley, though—my lavender Marie Antoinette Mardi Gras wig would work perfectly at a sponsors party, for example—and I thought the costume and make-up design were off the charts for the city folk, even if the in-games costumes were l-a-m-e.

Rachel-

The in game costumes were whatever. The Chariot costumes? YOU GUYS… is that what you envisioned when you read the description of the flaming cape/unitard thing? IS IT? Complete with terrible TERRIBLE CGI? And she’s got her hands above her head the whole time, even when the chariots park themselves in front of President Snow (TEAM SNOW!) she’s still got her hands above her head and Snow is starting to talk and she’s STILL GOT HER HANDS ABOVE HER HEAD… .
What else did I like?

The adaptation: Look, we all know it’s fucking hard to adapt a book into a film. It’s a lot of story to fit into two hours. Characters and side stories will be cut. Scenes will be streamlined. These things are a given. The Hunger Games manages to feel like it’s a page by page recreation even when it is not, and that is awesome.

I also liked that extra scenes were added that covered the things happening during the arena time. Adding in the riot in District 11 was really smart. Totally sets us up for the next books.

Things I didn’t like so much:

The Pacing. If there is one fundamental flaw in the entire film, it is that there wasn’t enough time spent in creating relationships between Katniss and the other characters. It’s REALLY important that Katniss have emotional connections to people. But even though Gary Ross sent us through all of the preparations before The Hunger Games begin, there just wasn’t any connection between Katniss and the other characters. It was a problem that kept coming up whenever a scene occurred in which the audience was supposed to be emotionally moved. I had a really hard time with this. When people died, I didn’t care. I was more interested in seeing Katniss survive whatever the next crisis would be. I regarded other characters as nuisances. This was especially true with Peeta and Rue.

I KNOW!

Stop screaming at me and let me explain.

Peeta is awesome. He’s a natural actor, a charismatic boy with a sympathetic heart. Strong on the inside and fluffy on the outside. The exact opposite of Katniss. I get it. But in the film he barely has any skills at all. He’s basically dead weight. Sure he can smile and interview well but once he gets in the games it was all “I’m just going to wander around and then lay in this mud and be useless”. When it comes time for Katniss and Peeta to join back up, that pivotal scene in which Katniss screams out Peeta’s name never happened. Peeta’s injuries were also not as terrible in the film as they were in the novel. We end up with this weirdly awkward scene in which Katniss takes care of a fellow District 12 tribute with weird stalker tendencies and an inability to respect Katniss’s boundaries. Then they kiss, and it’s like…huh? She likes him? WHY?

And I’ve read (and love) the novels. What the hell must this film be like for someone who hasn’t read the books? Is there any emotional connection at all?

Elena-

Ha, ha, ha, let me jump in and give you my take on these issues.

In terms of connections to characters other than Peeta—Rue was the only other character it seemed like Katniss was meant to have a connection with.  And I felt like her reaction to Rue’s death was a projection.  I didn’t think there was much of a connection between them except that she saw Rue as an analog for Prim, and what might have happened to Prim if Katniss hadn’t taken her place, so when Rue died Katniss had this weird translation of having failed to protect her sister, because Rue was like her sister.  It wasn’t about Rue; it was about Katniss.

Now, when it comes to her and Peeta…I literally did not know (and still do not, not having read the books) if Katniss was in the cave nursing Peeta and going to get medicine for him because she actually gave a shit about him or if it was because she’s the protector type and could not have lived with herself for not saving him, the same way she could not have lived with herself for not saving her sister.  Did she mean the kiss, or had she finally grasped that maybe they should play to the cameras?  So as to there being a connection between them…on his part, absolutely.  On hers…I still don’t know.

Also, Team Peeta! I liked him so much better than Gale! JV Hemsworth might be more objectively hot, but I find Hutcherson cute as hell, so that’s a wash…but I liked Peeta’s character better.

True, Gale didn’t get to do much but be the strong silent sulking type, and Peeta was not exactly heroic—at least, not at first.  But he exhibited a level of self-awareness and insight that I gravitated to almost immediately.  Peeta recognizes that he doesn’t have the skills to survive a death-match, and he can admit that he never went out of his way to be kind even to the girl he had a crush on.  The best he could manage was a careless act of charity that rated Katniss only minutely higher than the family’s pig.  In the games he certainly doesn’t kick ass and take names (and that is even with the fact that his part apparently got butched up somewhat from his role in the book…or at least that’s the impression some of my book-reading friends have given me).

But Peeta is one of the supporting players who set up Katniss for the big win, which she could not have done completely on her own.

See, here’s the thing—and book people may disagree with this, and that’s fine, but this is how this played out in the movie, and so we will just have to agree to disagree—Katniss is surrounded by people who play the part of the game that she refuses to play, for her, and she survives because they did.

Her producers (whatever the hell Effie and Haymitch and Cinna were called…they seemed like producers to me so that is what I’m calling them) were obviously the most creative in the group.  The other producers should all have been operating on Cinna’s philosophy of “I want to make them NOTICE you,” instead of paying homage to what had been done before.

Haymitch gives Katniss and Peeta the advice of “make them like you,” which Katniss basically disregards and which Peeta grabs like a lifeline.  He is hamming it up to the crowds from the beginning, while she sits there all better than that and disgusted; he grabs her hand as they roll around on fire so everyone can see that they consider themselves a team, and then he jokes with the interviewer and admits that his special girl is in fact one of his competitors.  (Hell, he’s smart enough to manipulate her into holding his hand on the chariot in the first place, which I don’t think was a move calculated to the crowd, just a desire for comfort and contact until she rejected it, at which point he was like, “how can I convince her to touch me?”)  His admission of his crush was true, but his decision to admit it was a conscious spin on his character as a competitor, and it paid off.  It made Katniss part of a larger story that made her seem human and relatable, when on her own she was perhaps too strong and intimidating.  Everyone wants to root for an underdog, and the doomed love angle made Katniss and Peeta as a pair underdogs; when on her own she was a favorite.  Would she have gotten the sponsor who saved her leg without the producers who made everyone notice her and Peeta’s actions to make them feel sorry for her?

My take-away was that Katniss is basically Harry Potter.  Sure, no one but her could have won the games if they were dealt the hand she was…but she couldn’t have, either, without the help of the people around her.  Peeta is basically Hermione, is what I’m saying.  And I do love me some brains over brawn…

…Which is why, TEAM PEETA!

Ahem.  The uncertainty of Katniss’s motives also made the ending more poignant, because he’s still standing their declaring his love, and I still don’t know what she thinks about the kid.

So maybe that’s a fail.  There were others.

Rachel-

One other thing I hated: THE CAMERA WORK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. It was like watching Cloverfield. The shaky cam with the extreme close ups. I became intimately connected with all the hairs on Jennifer’s Lawrence’s face. That’s how close the camera was all the damn time. And whenever there was a fight it was all, “KIDS ARE KILLING KIDS BUT WE CAN’T SHOW YOU BECAUSE WE’LL LOSE OUR RATING SO PLEASE ENJOY GRUNTING AND BLURRY SHOTS OF TREES. AND BLONDE KIDS, ANY OF WHOM COULD BE PEETA BUT ARE NOT.”

Ya know what doesn’t work when you have super HD close up shots framing the entire movie? Shitty effects. Especially any time at all when there was fire (srsly, the fire outfits for the chariot parade? WTH? It looked like a homemade music video from 1998).  And the muttations. CGI disasters. Totally a product of the film being written, cast, filmed, edited and marketing in a six-month period. Good shit needs TIME. Unfortunately, the film is hobbled by having to rush things.

Elena-

Oh, yeah.  The cinematic filming itself was competent but not special, if excessively soap-operatic, but the effects were obviously a rush job.  And the fires? I thought it was a joke when she said, “oh, yeah, it’s real,” because to me they looked so fake.  Like anyone was fooled!

What bothered me most, though, was the dearth of good violence.  The fact that it was PG-13 really limited the brutality of the games, and that works in opposition to what Rachel has expressed as one of the key themes of the book—our culture’s use of violence as entertainment.  By virtue of maintaining an all-ages rating, this movie could not be so brutally violent that we the audience could question the film as entertainment; we became the people of the capital, watching the games and the deaths for fun.

Aside from the fact that the action sequences are hardly comprehensible because the cameras and edits move so quickly, the violence was disappointing in its utter lack of creativity.  Not a single death in all of the dozen we saw onscreen was memorable?  That’s kind of sad.  If you’re going to riff off of something else, at least take all the good shit (since BR has a few choice deaths).  Or go watch Shoot ʼEm Up and Sukiyaki Western Django a few times to get some good demises to steal from them.

Rachel-

In the end, and I have seen this film twice now, I would look around the theater thinking that I had not drunk the kool-aid that made many of the people around me deliriously happy with the film. While I think the movie is good and happily saw it again, I found it to be anemic. Without the guts that make a film actually emotionally connect with the audience. I feel that if you do not step into the theater with the knowledge that reading the books give you, that you’ve got no chance of really feeling anything while watching the movie.

Elena-

I think the experience of the film for those who haven’t read the books is much more about what you project onto the characters than about what the film directly makes you feel.  There are moments where the emotions swamp you, but in general it’s you consciously projecting yourself into that situation and that environment.  The movie entertains, but it’s not a masterpiece.  I’d watch it again, but it didn’t make me want to run out and read the book.  Perhaps that is the most scathing indictment I could offer.

Rachel-

All that being said…I’m really excited that a science fiction film with a young girl as the protagonist has done so amazingly well at the box office. It makes me excited for the future of this franchise and the future of other unmade films.

34 Differences Between the Hunger Games Book and Movie

::::Note: there may be spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the film or read the novel::::

For those fans of the series who have already seen the film, you may have noticed more than a couple things that were changed when it was adapted for the big screen. Some of them made sense, and some of them didn’t. Some of the changes I realize were necessary when adapting the novel, but others seemed like they were changed out of laziness or disregard.

Either way, below are the 31 changes between the novel and movie. I also attempted to put them in order they would have appeared in the novel.

1: Gale and Katniss first thing

Book version: Katniss meets Gale early in the morning before The Reaping. He presents her with a loaf of bread with an arrow in it that makes her laugh.

Movie version: They meet and he shares a small loaf of bread with her. There isn’t anything there.

Significance lost: We don’t see how close the two are. We get they are friends but the arrow in the bread shows how much he knows her. That he would try to make her laugh on such an awful day in a way that is uniquely special to her is important in characterizing their friendship.

2: Haymitch at the Reaping

Book version: During the Reaping, Katniss sees Haymitch fall of the stage drunk.

Movie version: Non-existent. We do not get to see the level of drunkenness of Haymitch to the point it is in the novel.

Significance lost: Haymitch doesn’t get established as a drunk as early on. Katniss remarks that he is worst mentor because of how drunk he always is, but in the film we don’t meet him till later.

3: The Mockingjay Pin

Book version: Katniss receives the pin after The Reaping from a pseudo-friend Madge, who is the daughter of the governor of District 12. From here we learn the symbolism behind the pin and the bird it represents. As well as foreshadows the fact that Katniss and the mockingjay are viewed similarly by the Capitol, as in something that was a product of the Capitol but never meant to exist.

Movie version: Katniss buys/procures the pin on the day of the Reaping at the Hob and gives it to her sister, who later gives it back. There is little to no explanation behind the actual Mockingjay and its relationship with the Capitol.

 Significance lost: Very little. It is understandable when it comes to time management to write out a character who forwards the story only a little. The only thing lost is Katniss’ realization that she kind of, sort of had a friend in someone other than Gale.

4: Peeta’s father bringing cookies

Book version: While waiting in the room after The Reaping, Katniss is surprised to see Peeta’s father enter. He gives her a pack of cookies that he made, a luxury in the District, before saying goodbye.

Movie version: The only characters who get to visit Katniss before leaving is Prim, Gale, and her mother. Peeta’s father is never even mentioned.

Significance lost: It is one of the first times Katniss is realizes there is more to people than she thought. Also a hint that Peeta’s folks already felt like she would be the winner. Because he never gives her the cookies, we don’t get to see her throw them out when she realizes that she might have to kill Peeta and that bothers her.

5: Gale saying goodbye:

Book Version: Gale gives her a tearful goodbye, and before he can say much is pulled out of the room. It is strongly implied he was going to say he loved her or cared for her.

Movie Version: Gale never gets forced out of the room, and his goodbye is emotional but doesn’t have the underlying feeling that he wants to say he loves her.

Significance lost: It is the first set up for the back and forth that Katniss experiences regarding Gale and Peeta. She acknowledges that he would have probably said he loved her. Her feelings remain ambiguous towards both characters in the film, but in the novel we see more of her back and forth.

6: Haymitch’s words of advice

Book version: When Katniss and Peeta get to talk to their mentor, Haymitch, for the first time, they ask him for advice which he just laughs as says, “Here’s some advice, stay alive.”

Movie version: His piece of advice for the tributes is simply, “Embrace the prospect of your imminent death.”

Significance lost: We lose a bit of the comedic relief, however the line in the film is much more dramatic.

7: Haymitch and Food

Book version: When Haymitch is finally seen eating and not drinking, it is a sign to Katniss that he is starting to take training them seriously.

Movie version: We see Haymitch eat almost immediately after we first see him, although he is drunk at the time.

Significance lost: Katniss sees the change going through Haymitch when he agrees to finally stop drinking and become a real mentor. In the film we see none of the change.

8: Peeta and Katniss Holding Hands Through Ceremonies

Book version: Cinna suggests to Katniss that she and Peeta hold hands to look like a team.

Movie version: In the movie, Peeta suggests it while riding in to the ceremonies

Significance lost: Not much. Both show that Katniss is unsure about Peeta and the games.

9: Advice on Training Together

Book version: Haymitch advices Peeta and Katniss to stay close together and not to show off during the training sessions.

Movie version: It appears they are just thrown in to training where they are only occasionally together, although Peeta does mention that Haymitch told them not to show off.

Significance lost: Eh not a big deal. Film version is more condensed for time purposes.

10: Peeta Talks about his mother

Book version: Peeta’s mom tells him that District 12 might have its first winner, but then clarifies that she was referring to Katniss when she says, “She’s a survivor”.

Movie version: Peeta just says his mom was talking about her, not how he figures it out.

Significance lost: Not much except reaffirming that Katniss didn’t know everyone as much as she thought. Both make her feel uncomfortable as well as pity for Peeta so the change in minimal.

11: The scene between Seneca and Snow

Book version: Doesn’t exist.

Movie version: President Snow tells The Gamemaker not to give the people too much hope.

Significance lost: Takes away from the book sequels where the idea of giving people hope is explored. Good though for those who haven’t read the series.

12: Peeta’s interview with Caesar

Book version: After Peeta admits his love for her; she realizes that everyone is staring at her while he processes the admission. Caesar then says he wishes he could bring Katniss back up to respond to Peeta but that her time was up and it was too bad.

Movie version: Peeta admits his love and Caesar apologizes saying that it was a shame, but Katniss is actually back with her stylists and Effie and Haymitch where no one can see her reaction.

Significance lost: The scenes are pretty accurate, but in the novel, since everyone saw her reaction, s0 she looked even more vulnerable, which added to her rage towards Peeta.

13: Katniss attacks Peeta after his admission

Book version: Peeta admits his feelings for her in front of everyone in Panem. Katniss is furious as she thinks it was just a ploy and pushes him, which causes him to hit an urn that crashes and slices open his hand.

Movie version: Katniss pushes him, but he doesn’t get hurt or even cut himself.

Significance lost: The only thing lost is Katniss apologizing later to him. Not too much lost.

14:  Avoxes aren’t explained and no flashback for Katniss

Book version: Katniss recognizes a red-headed Avox who is serving her and has a memory of watching her and another young man try to escape the Capitol before being captured.

Movie version: Doesn’t exist.

Significance lost: This is a huge deal to most fans. Without Katniss recognizing the Avox, she doesn’t get a glimpse into how terrible things in the Capitol actually are. This is her first peak behind the curtain to something she hadn’t realized before.

15: Mockingjay pin taken inside the Arena

Book version: She is allowed to wear the Mockingjay pin after it “barely cleared the review board”. It also mentions each tribute can bring something from the District in with them, and another girl tried to wear a ring that had a hidden knife in it but it got rejected.

Movie version: Cinna hides the pin in her jacket that she is allowed to wear into the Arena.

Significance lost: The movie definitely makes this scene more dramatic. Letting her take it in made the Capitol look a little less strict, but in the film they seem more menacing by insinuating that she wouldn’t have been able to bring it in.

16: Katniss on the platform before the buzzer

Book version: Right before the games, the tributes are on platforms they can’t move off of till the buzzer. Immediately Katniss sees a bow and arrow in the Cornucopia. She wants it, but sees Peeta who shakes his head at her, possibly motioning for her to not to try to get it. She then gets disoriented by the sun and loses track of the bow and Peeta.

Movie version: Peeta clearly shakes his head, telling her not to get the bow. But she doesn’t get disoriented and doesn’t lose track and doesn’t blame Peeta for not getting to the bow.

Significance lost: This biggest thing lost is the perceived weakness and vulnerability of Katniss getting disoriented on the platform.

17: Katniss gets dehydrated 

Book version: Katniss struggles for a FULL day when she can’t find water nearby. She asks, out loud, for Haymitch to send her water via a sponsor. He doesn’t, which she realizes means she must be close to a stream and she continues on.

Movie version: She finds a pond almost immediately upon running away from the Cornucopia.

Significance lost: This really showed how smart and resourceful Katniss is in the novel. She is able to survive despite being severely dehydrated and lacking substance. The movie takes this scene away, and I feel like we lose a layer of Katniss’ personality.

18: Gamemaker scenes

Book version: Doesn’t exist, though Katniss is able to surmise what they are doing and thinking because of years of watching the games.

Movie version: We see several scenes of the gamemakers at work.

Significance: I think we actually gained something see this. While Katniss is able to describe these things to us, it was nice to actually have it presented visually.

19:  Notes with the parachutes from sponsors

Book version: Gifts from sponsors come without notes, and Katniss is left to interpret what each one means.

Movie version: A note comes with each gift (though there are less gifts shown), making it easier to keep Haymitch’s thoughts in the narrative.

Significance: I think this also takes away from Katniss’ resourcefulness. In the novel she is able to anticipate what Haymitch wants in order to get what she needs. Although since the film is told in a different narrative, the notes do convey what Katniss figures out herself in the novel.

20: Rue pointing out the tracker jacker nest

Book version: Katniss is hiding in the tree above the careers, when she is startled to see Rue in a tree next to her. Rue points out the Tracker Jackers, but it serves more as a warning to Katniss who is in the tree with them. Katniss then figures out to drop the nest on the careers and warns Rue to run.

Movie version: Rue gestures to Katniss to drop the nest on them.

Significance: Once again the resourcefulness of Katniss. But the film does use the change as a quicker way to develop Rue as a friend to Katniss.

21: Katniss tripping on the Tracker Jacker venom and Rue 

Book version: She gets stung several times before having a very hallucinogenic experience and passing out. She awakes to find Rue has put special leaves on her stings that is pulling the poison out and saved her life.

Movie version: She does get stung and she does trip out but it is much milder than the book described. She wakes up with the leaves on her but no explanation is given about what they do and she doesn’t keep any in case she needs them in the future.

Significance: Not much just not as elaborate as the book describes.

22: Rue’s death

Book version: Rue is speared by a boy from District 1 while still in the net before Katniss can cut her loose.

Movie version: Katniss frees Rue from the trap, but then is killed by the spear after a sense of false hope.

Significance: Makes her death all the more saddening. Much more dramatic and uses the opportunity to give Katniss a less-hard side to her personality.

23: District 11 and the Revolt

Book version: Doesn’t exist.

Movie version: After District 11 sees Rue die, they revolt against the peacekeepers.

Significance: We do see a revolt in that district during book 2. Adding it to book makes the scene much more dramatic and emotional, but takes away from the scene that is in the sequel, which is witnessed by Katniss and Peeta.

24: Katniss doesn’t receive any bread from Rue’s district

Book version: After Rue’s death, Katniss receives bread from Rue’s district, which she Katniss figures was a symbol of appreciate for her acts toward Rue. She also surmises it took all their money to pay a sponsor to send her the bread. An incredible act for the poorer districts.

Movie version: Doesn’t exist.

Significance: We really miss out on seeing the transition that Districts are starting to look toward and Katniss and root for her to win.

25: The Rule Change Announcement

Book version: Katniss still upset about Rue, but moving on hears the rule change and before she can help it, she yells out Peeta’s name and then immediately realized that was a mistake because it could giveaway her location so she clasps her hand over her mouth and then sets out to find him.

Movie version: She doesn’t yell his name out in excitement, but merely decides to go find him.

Significance: I loved this scene in the novel. It is one of the first times Katniss is not thinking of surviving. It is also the first time she shows she cares for Peeta albeit without realizing it.

26: Katniss Taking Care of Peeta

Book version: She finds him camouflaged and uncovers him enough to see his leg is severely injured. She is able to drag him to the water nearby and submerge his leg. Afterward, when she sees it is not getting any better, she uses the leaves that Rue gave her to pull some of the infection out which works a bit but he is still injured enough to need the medicine from the Capitol.

Movie version: She does find him camouflaged but she helps him limp to the water. There she cleans the wound and then takes him to the cave where he remains ill till she goes to the Feast.

Significance: Just a minor change, but shows that Katniss can think on her feet, and also has some of the minor healing abilities that she shares with her sister and mother.

27: The romance is all for the cameras

Book version: In the book it is clear that Katniss believes the “romance” angle is an act to lure sponsor but mentions that sometimes she is left confused by her feelings growing for Peeta and her lingering feelings for Gale.

Movie version: It is unclear how Katniss feels in the movie, whether she thinks it is an act or genuinely feels for him. It is obvious for Peeta that he isn’t playing.

Significance: We lose a lot of the back and forth emotions Katniss feels during this scene. In the novel she acknowledges that she does care for Peeta but also acknowledges that she still thinks about Gale. We lose a lot of the ambiguity when it was translated on screen.

28: The conversation in the cave

Book version: Peeta explains to Katniss how and when he first met her and knew he was in love with her. She regales him with the story of Prim’s goat as well as thanks him for the day he saved her life with the bread.

Movie version: They never have the back and forth. Peeta brings up the day he gave her the bread but tells the story a little differently. She never tells him about the goat.

Significance: We lose the revelation that Katniss’ mother and sister are healers as well as the growing closeness between the two characters.

29: Katniss Doesn’t Trick Peeta to Sleep

Book version: Katniss receives a sleeping potion from Haymitch after playing up the romance for the cameras. She drugs Peeta so she can go to the Cornucopia and get the medicine he needs before he wakes up the next day.

Movie version: Katniss doesn’t drug him, but she does wait until he’s asleep to head to The Cornucopia.

Significance: I hate that this scene was changed. I think we lose the fact that Katniss was willing to do anything to get him the medicine he needed.

30: Thresh’s Decision to let Katniss live

Book version: Thresh lets Katniss live after she talks of helping Rue and not being the one who killed her.

Movie version: Thresh lets Katniss live because he already knew she had been kind to Rue.

Significance: Not much of a difference, just a quicker scene.

31: The tribute-hounds

Book version: The dog/wolf hound muttations are released and Katniss describes each of them having the eyes of the already dead tributes as well as some substantial different coloring, which she finds ghastly and upsets her.

Movie version: They are just wolf/hounds that do not reflect the tributes at all.

Significance: We have a less freaked out Katniss and she also doesn’t get to see that the Capitol has extreme capabilities she wasn’t aware of before, but would have been incredibly difficult to portray well in the film.

32: Katniss still almost kills Peeta

Book version: When the gamemakers announce that they have reversed the rule change,  Katniss assumes that Peeta will try to kill her. So she draws an arrow and aims it at him.

Movie version: Doesn’t happen. They just look at each other in shock.

Significance: When she does this in the novel, it signals the fact that there is still some major distrust on her side toward Peeta despite what they have been through.

33: Peeta’s leg

Book version: When fighting the mutts off at the end, Peeta’s leg is once again injured, but more severely when it is attacked. This leads to his leg being amputated and replaced by the Capitol when they are taken out of the Arena.

Movie version: His leg gets bitten, but he is fine.

Significance: The loss of Peeta’s leg is mentioned through the rest of the series. Also shows that despite how far the Capitol has come, there are still some things they can’t control.

34: Peeta’s Realization of Katniss

Book version: Peeta’s finds out that Katniss may or may not have been playing up the romance angle while in the Arena and is completely heartbroken.

Movie version: Unfortunately in the film, Peeta merely says “he doesn’t want to forget” and while upset, doesn’t seem to be completely dispirited and it is never mentioned whether he knows of her ambiguous feelings or not.

Significance: One of the most important parts of the series when it comes to their relationship. It sets the foundation of disbelief and distrust that rears its head several times through the series among the two.

I might have left a few out, but these are ones that I caught. Some are big, some aren’t so big. While I did enjoy the film overall, I do feel like some of these things could have been left alone and not been changed.

The Hunger Games Does Phenomenally Opening Weekend

The highly anticipated film, The Hunger Games, hit theaters this past weekend and did incredibly well financially. The blockbuster film adaptation of the novel by Suzanne Collins, made $19.5 million in midnight screenings (of which I contributed $25 dollars when I went to the showing) across North America. By the end of its first day in theaters the film had already collected $68 million.

As for the entirety of its opening weekend, the film grossed a historic $155 million. This accounts for the opening weekend as Friday through Sunday. Its financial success is the third biggest in Hollywood history, beating out Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean and Twilight movies, among others.

The Hunger Games is also the biggest non-sequel opener as well as the biggest non-summer opener, the highest opening in the month of March, and Lionsgate’s highest grossing release ever.

The film also did very well internationally, where it opened at No. 1 in almost every market it played.

Worldwide the film ended up grossing $214.3 million for opening weekend.

Studio executive, David Spitz commented that,

To launch this franchise in the way we did is mind-blowing.”

Understandably, considering the film is features a female lead, the film’s audience comprised primarily of females at 61%. However, surprisingly, more than half of the audience was made up by moviegoers were over the age of 25 with a percentage of 56%.

The film was definitely a success. While fans have had mixed feelings regarding the film adaptation, it seems that it is still a hit. Its sequel, Catching Fire, has been given a release date of November 22, 2013.