Director: Gary Ross
Summary: Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.
Times Seen: 4
My Experience: I watched the movie at home well after it was released, but before the sequel came out (I read the books after I saw this movie). I was vaguely interested in the series and gave this one a watch because I figured the premise would be good for some action. Intrigued I was, but the direction was very shoddy.
Gary Ross has only directed three times, but after Pleasantville and Seabiscuit I’m sure he was a fine idea at the time. But he takes what is pretty limited and cliche source material and makes it even harder to watch than it is to read. The actors are for the most part very good, and I’ll give Ross credit for that. Tucci is dynamite every time he’s on the screen, and Harrelson and Banks nail their roles. The kids are fine, and Lawrence is significantly more appealing than the angsty character in the book. But the movie’s main problem is how it’s shot. Other than Requiem for a Dream, I can’t think of a movie that has made me so dizzy from all of the cuts. And here they were completely needless. I’m not sure what Ross was going for, but he left little time for me to take in any one scene. On top of that we have way too much shaky camera, which is dizzying and pointless, as the thrill of the Hunger Games is being a voyeur to them, not feeling like you’re “there.”
Why have I watched it four times? Well, it’s on TV a lot, and there are some really good individual scenes. The sets were pretty great, too.