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Review: The Hunger Games, the Movie

I really need to come up with a standard review format for films. I have it for books. What do people put in movie reviews? The director? The actors? The rating? Well, here’s a pretty picture, then I’ll get on with it.

The book is always better than the movie. This saying, common among us reader-types, holds true for The Hunger Games. The book was very good and made an important, needed commentary on our society and how it regards youth. The film did a commendable job as an adaptation of the book, and, as just a movie, was excellent. With the months of hype leading up to the actual release, we had very high hopes. No movie could possibly live up to the expectations of the hard-core fans, so there was bound to be some disappointment. I was much less disappointed than I thought I was going to be.

For the most part, I agreed with the casting. Jennifer Lawrence, who fills the main role as Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely talented actress and conveyed Katniss perfectly. My only argument with Lawrence is her physical appearance: obviously older than the heroine’s supposed age of sixteen and lacking the malnourished edge fans of the book would expect. Josh Hutcherson portrays Peeta well, and Liam Hemsworth, though we hardly get to see him, is outstanding as Gale. The vast majority of the supporting actors are quite suited to their roles.

I felt that, up until the Hunger Games themselves started, the film was fast-paced to the point of rushed. We hardly got to meet the other tributes to the Games and got little sense of Katniss’s life back home in District Twelve. The movie gets the main points across, however: District Twelve is poor, the Capital is decadent and wealthy, there’s a range of ability among the Tributes, and the Capital somehow refuses to see how brutal the killing game is and is only entertained.

Once Katniss and Peeta are thrust into the arena with the twenty-two other teenage tributes, the action starts and hardly lets up. My heart hammered through the fighting, and it was hard to remind myself that I knew the outcome. The “Cave Scene,” somewhat infamous among fans, is one of the only lulls, and was handled masterfully by Lawrence and Hutcherson.

Overall, this is a film worth seeing even if you haven’t read the books. It might be slightly hard to get into if you’re not familiar with the story, though, so I do recommend reading at least Book One in advance.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Movies and TV

 

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Ode to Deathly Hallows

I know, I know. I’m supposed to be posting a review (or a reasonable facsimile) whenever I see a movie in the theater. I’ve cheated, readers. I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Part One (directed by David Yates) this past weekend, and I only just remembered that I supposedly do movie reviews, too. Since I sort of caught myself off-guard, and it’s been a few days since I saw the movie, please excuse the potential haphazardness of this “review.” Read on if you dare.

I am a huge– and I repeat, huge– fan of the Harry Potter franchise. It all started back in third grade (age 8 or 9) when I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. Since then, I’ve read all of the books about three times each, and seen all of the movies at least once each. However, this is the first HP movie I’ve seen in the theater. I was a bit nervous, I’ll admit. For one thing, would Lord Voldemort’s (sorry- You-Know-Who’s) slimy, nose-less state be less laughable on the big screen?

I needn’t have worried. Age-appropriate audiences (the film is rated PG-13) should have no trouble. The action is exhilarating without being gory. All of the high standards set by the previous films peak in Deathly Hallows, Part One. It was a perfect movie experience. After I got out of theater, I thought, I think I’d like to turn around, buy another set of tickets, and watch that a couple more times. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to do that. I would have loved to, though.

Only one thing bugged me: Ron’s Great-Auntie Muriel, or the lack of her. I think she had a few lines in the movie (the character wasn’t identified as Muriel), but her hilarious jabs from the book at Ron’s hair, Xenophilius Lovegood’s robes, and Ginny’s low-cut dress were disappointingly absent.

Other than that (and the fact that anyone who hasn’t recently read the book will be totally lost), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One was perfect. Hmm… an overall rating? 5 out 5, definitely. For HP fans, this one’s a no-brainer, but it will be sure to please others, too.

Image from here. Thank you!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Movies and TV

 

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While it doesn’t follow the book, ‘The Lightning Thief’ is very entertaining

Like last time I wrote a movie review, have I procrastinated horribly. Now that I’ve  I finally got around to writing, the movie has started to fade from my memory. But anyway, here is an informal review for the recent film “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”

“The Lightning Thief” (rated PG) is based on the book by Rick Riordan. And I must say, it is very loosely based on the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and was eager to see the movie. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was good– but it deviated from the plot rather badly, eliminating characters and events that added depth to the story and furthered the relations to Greek mythology.

On the actor’s performances: I’d say they did a good job, especially the lead: Logan Lerman, playing the title character, Percy Jackson. Percy isn’t an easy role, but young Lerman did excellently. Alexandra Daddario, who played Percy’s fellow half-blood and friend Annabeth, did well enough, although, speaking as a fan of the book series, the movie Annabeth’s personality was quite a bit different from the original.

Despite the story’s differences, “the Lightning Thief” was entertaining and fun for both those who have and haven’t read the books. Both the movie and books are an excellent incentive for reluctant students to read the original Greek myths.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 total stars.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Movies and TV

 

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Digital animation brings “A Christmas Carol” to life

This is the first movie review I’ve ever written, so it’ll be pretty informal. I should have done this while the movie was fresh in my mind, but, like many others, I am a procrastinator. Also, before I continue this “review”, I’d like to announce that Here’s To Us has received more than 3,000 hits! Thanks to all who have visited!

The recent film “A Christmas Carol” uses digital animation in the style of “The Polar Express”. The technology has improved tremendously, especially in making human-like eyes. The digital animation also makes the numerous ghosts much more cool (and creepy!) than they would be with old-style animation or puppeteering.

The movie stays very close to Charles Dicken’s original novel. In fact, I noticed that many of the lines were taken directly from the book. This also means that the Victorian English dialect and tone would make understanding the movie hard for younger children. Kids under ten, from my judgement, will be bored at first…and then terrified as the ghost of Jacob Marley appears. Even though the movie is only rated PG, it kept me on the edge of my seat, and I often had to glance away from the screen to reassure myself I was just in a mundane movie theater.

Continuing on this point, I think the moviemakers put too much focus on the scary aspect of the story, and not enough on the uplifting warmth it is ment to convey. Some spectral scenes were added or embellished, pumping up the audience’s adrenaline and “grossing us out” in equal parts.

However, the ending made me feel all warm and fuzzy and Christmas-ey. A beautiful, original song (what was it called? I believe it was something like “God Bless Us Everyone”…) was played with the closing credits. While the movie is caught halfway between Halloween and Christmas, I think it’s worth it for children ages 10 and up. It’s not too late to see it! God bless us, everyone!

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2009 in Movies and TV

 

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