Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I Saw: The Hunger Games

What I Saw:   The Hunger Games

Prior to seeing The Hunger Games, my boyfriend and I went to eat at one of our favorite Thai restaurants. Their lunch combinations allow a wide range of choices, and our collective bounty included roasted duck with spinach, spicy basil chicken, yellow curry, wontons, salad, rice and hot tea. Still full from our feast, we skipped the extra large tub of buttered popcorn, but had to get a coke in case we “died” of thirst during the show.

Yes, I live in the Capitol City--or at least one of our real-world parallels-- and while my clothes weren’t designed by Judianna Makovsky, I’m pretty sure that Levi Strauss ™ is represented in my closet.

The advertising for this movie has mostly focused on the action, drama and romance of the film, almost as if the big studio executives don’t want moviegoers to recognize that we are a lot like those viewers in the districts, for fear we might rebel some day. True, our War Games no longer use a lottery system as they did in the days of the draft, but there isn’t much doubt that our military focuses its “reaping” on a certain economic segment of our younger population. Just as in the film, we have become just as accustomed to a society of haves and have nots, and are often involved in battles amongst ourselves, rather than against the system as a whole. The only thing that was a bit unrealistic in the movie was that when the powerful organizers wanted to change the rules for their own advantage they had to announce it over loud speakers. In the real world they get to hide it in the fine print of my monthly banking statement.

[SPOILER ALERT] In the end, our predicament is quite like that of Katniss Everdeen. we can survive for a while by trying to make people like us, and falling in love with the people they want us to love, but the only real way out--the only path to salvation-- is to make it known that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to bring down the system as a whole. To rob them not only of their weary participants, but of their willing winners as well. To give up the illusion that the odds will ever be in our favor. Now, who is ready to volunteer? [End Of Spoilers]

Oscar Chances:

The Hunger Games is the undisputed box office champion at the moment, and there is a natural temptation for pundits to toy with the idea of Oscar recognition, if only to give themselves something to write about. However, I advise caution to anyone who tries to place the film too high on their lists. Remember that there is a whole year worth of movies that will fit much more easily into the Academy’s definition of Oscar bait, while blockbusters like Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises are likely to steal those technical awards.

Original Song: T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars for “Safe And Sound” (currently unranked, but will appear in my next predictions)
Original Song: T Bone Burnett and Arcade Fire for “Abraham’s Daughter” (currently unranked, but will appear in my next predictions)
Makeup: (currently ranked 8 in a field with 3 nominees, but will likely drop in my next predictions)
Art Direction: Philip Messina and Larry Dias (currently ranked 19)
Sound Editing (currently ranked 25)
Visual Effects (currently ranked 27)
Sound Mixing (currently ranked 28)
Adapted Screenplay: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray (currently ranked 39)
Costume Design: Judianna Makovsky (currently ranked 34)
Lead Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (currently ranked 44)
Film Editing: William Goldenberg (currently ranked 49)
Original Score: T Bone Burnett and James Newton Howard (currently unranked but likely to be in my next predictions)
Best Picture (currently unranked, may show up in the top 50 in my next predictions)
Best Director (currently unranked, may show up in the top 50 in my next predictions)
Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley (unlikely, but imaginable)
Best Cinematography: Tom Stern (currently unranked)

As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!

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  1. "Just as in the film, we have become just as accustomed to a society of haves and have nots, and are often involved in battles amongst ourselves, rather than against the system as a whole."

    Nodding glumly. Damn straight NTEMP. Damn straight.

    I dont see any Oscars in this one's future, personally. That's ok, it can console itself with freaking MOUNTAINS of money.

    1. And not only did it make mountains of money, but it's the first in a series. Why didn't I save enough of my paychecks so that I could invest as a producer?

    2. I get the feeling we may see an Adapted Screenplay nomination at the very least. It truly was a very well done adaption of the book.

      I thought the movie was going to be big, but honestly didn't expect it to be this big this fast.

    3. You may be right, Joe. Kind of the same way we saw a Bridesmaids run. A female-centered film that was a surprise hit, this time in the action genre instead of comedy. I reviewed my adapted screenplay list and see that a few of the films I have there have been pushed back to next year, so I'll move this one up a bit in my next round.

      Still, there is some really heavy competition this year, including The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises, which could really cut into the chances that Hunger Games could get the action genre nod.

    4. You are the expert NTEMP!The competition this year will definitely be fierce, as it is most years. Hopefully that means we'll get a good number of excellent films to see.

    5. I hope it turns out that they are all good. Otherwise there are a lot of fans who are going to be really disappointed!

    6. You can count me among those that will be. The Hunger Games was the start for me, next up is The Avengers. I've got a chance to see it tomorrow morning and all I keep thinking is how much I'll be disappointed if it doesn't live up to my expectations.

  2. "...get to hide it in the fine print of my monthly banking statement."

    YES! I would like them to not do that anymore please.

    1. I know, right? Seems like every single month my statement comes with a few extra pages of text that they have added on somewhere.

  3. Isn't perfect by any means but it definitely is entertaining, thought-provoking, and extremely well-acted by everybody involved, especially Lawrence herself who definitely needs to continue the slew of roles she's been getting lately. Good review.

    1. Thanks Dan. This does seem to be a good series for her, post-Oscar nomination.

  4. Great write-up, enjoyed the review.

    I never really thought that The Hunger Games would make the list of nominated films next year however there is no denying that it's basically the biggest film of the year (thus far) and I've heard is a faithful adaptation of the books so it will be interesting to watch.

    1. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how the summer blockbusters stand up against it at the box office!

  5. For cinematography I don't think it has the slightest chance. Everyone has been complaining about the shaky cam and the academy usually goes for the "prettiest" film and this one doesn't quite meet that standard. As for a screenplay it has a better chance than not because of the significance of reality TV, but the academy usually goes for pictures with clever snappy dialogue and lots of conversations and "The Hunger Games" has neither. I cant see it getting a visual effects nod because some of them were noticeably sub-par they were few and far between and there are plenty of more likely contenders like "The Hobbit" or "The Dark Knight Rises" this year. Jennifer does have a slight chance but honestly its going to be hard. The only ones I think might have a very good chance at are Art Direction, Costume Design, and Makeup. They fit the formula they usually go for perfectly: exotic sets, flashy clothing, in-your-face hairstyles, and more makeup than a mime. As for the sound categories you could make a case for it either having no chance at all or probably going to win, so I can't say for sure.

    1. I think you're right Mike. It was hard for people to imagine that the film would be forgotten when it was at the top of the box office for so many weeks, but already we're seeing it slip from the consciousness, so I'm thinking it may disappear completely by Oscar time.