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Monday, March 26, 2012

I Walked Out of The Hunger Games After 45 Minutes

Posted by on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Maybe it gets better? I'll never know. The first 45 minutes are Schindler's List meets steampunk meets sleepy time. What with how much was spent on production design, they couldn't afford to hire anyone to write the dialogue, so you have to make do with lines that basically go, "I'm the stubborn one!" spoken by the girl who's supposed to be the stubborn one, and "I'm having another drink!" by the guy who drinks, and "My face is shaped like a jar of peanut butter!" by the young man whose sole attribute is that his face is shaped like a jar of peanut butter.

No, it's not fair to judge a movie I haven't seen all 47 hours of. And no, I haven't read the books. But after we put "The Hunger Games is actually good!" on the cover of The Stranger, I just felt like I had to voice my dissent. A friend who didn't walk out texted after it was over: "It's The Truman Show meets Lord of the Flies for over two hours!! There was not a single plot twist to be found on that long, long road. Every aspect of the movie unfolded exactly as you'd expect."

For what it's worth, Paul Constant completely disagrees.


Comments (63) RSS

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TheRain 1
Posted by TheRain on March 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
It's mostly about her pining for two love interests, actually.

That said, most women I know really enjoyed both the book - massive page turner - and the movie.

Check out The Boy with the Bike starting at the SIFF Uptown this week. It's like ... nothing else.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
seatackled 3
I barely knew what it was till last week. But the story sounds a lot like the Contagion story line in Wonder Woman comics, which was apparently written around the same time that the novel was. I found the Wonder Woman story chilling--I suspect in a way that The Hunger Games wouldn't be.

For what it's worth, I didn't care much for the film version of The Handmaid's Tale, but I thought the novel was amazing, so maybe the Hunger Games novel is worth a look.
Posted by seatackled on March 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
You made the right decision, Frizzelle. It came across as really shoddy to me. Like it was short-hand for being an enjoyable movie without actually having the discipline to be an enjoyable movie.
Posted by paulus on March 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
I liked The Hunger Games. I liked this review more, though.
Posted by One Breath on March 26, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this
It was this generation's The Running Man. Which isn't a bad thing...
Posted by Flynn27 on March 26, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this
stuckie 7
It's not just Paul who disagrees with you, but it does seem a little unfair to walk out of the Hunger Games before, say, the Hunger Games start, unless you were too sleepy to begin with (I will confess, something about train rides DO make me sleepy - see Atlas Shrugged). I actually appreciated the fact that it wasn't hyper-paced and over-CGIed and invincible-heroed in the way that most action movies are.
Posted by stuckie on March 26, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
Hah hah, Will in Seattle claims to know women!
Posted by Fnarf on March 26, 2012 at 6:18 PM · Report this
I was bored to death until the game actually started, but I was trapped and couldn't leave.
Posted by unpaid reader on March 26, 2012 at 6:19 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 10
Do people die in massive numbers? If that happens I could sit through 45 minutes plus of boredom. But only if there is unbelievable death and destruction for the balance of the movie.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Zebes 11
Story time:

Evidently there was some cross-promotion involving this movie and the Microsoft Store, in the service of which I am employed (in as much as being a third-party vendor is an employee). This involved a star from the film (I'm told it was Jennifer Lawrence, but I don't have a specific name) doing appearances/signings/meet and greets at MS Store locations throughout the country. Evidently these appearances were as exciting as you'd expect, as the star in question used her silvery autograph pen to doodle on the fancy custom-made MS Store tablecloths on the designated MS Store folding tables from the MS Store Mobile Event Kits. So that means I got to ship a round of new tablecloths out to all of the stores to replace the doodled-upon ones.

There's several layers of telephone game between myself and whatever happened at the actual stores, so there may be a few details wrong, but there you go.
Posted by Zebes on March 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 12
@11, that made me just want to kill myself...
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 26, 2012 at 6:25 PM · Report this
it didn't get any better, so you made the right decision.
Posted by whatevercathy on March 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
Forty year old men who bitch and moan that they're bored watching young adult, and even children's, movies, need to shut up and get a life. Hunger Games is not The Perfect Human. Harry Potter is not Persona.

Instead of bragging that you walked out, apologize for not knowing the genre and walking in to begin with.

And why do guys who walk out of movies brag so loudly afterwards? Do they think it shows they have balls?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on March 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM · Report this
Cory 15
I didn't really enjoy the book, but I didn't see the movie yet. Don't ask me why I want to check out the film version...
Posted by Cory on March 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM · Report this
They took an exceptional young adult novel and turned it into a mediocre movie. I don't blame any of the actors. I blame the director.

As a side note, if you ever get the chance to make the movie version of a wildly popular book series, please pay attention to the details. Every time you get something small wrong, it's like a little "fuck-you" to all the fans of the book.

***spoilers ahead***

To the makers of this film:

Buttercup the cat is yellow, not black and white
Rue dies before Katniss can cut her free, not after.
Maybe you can add in the cannon-fires for the deaths of the boy tribute from 2 and for Rue because you forgot in the theatrical release.
Peeta has blue eyes, not brown (What's up with that? Did the actor refuse to wear colored contacts?)
The Game Maker didn't stop Katniss and Peeta until they'd put the berries in their mouth. NOT WHEN THEY WERE JUST HOLDING THEM.

****end of spoilers****

I know that some will say that I'm being too nitpicky or not nitpicky enough. They certainly changed many more things than what I just listed but those I could write off as needed changes due to time restrictions. The ones I listed seemed like they were changed for no good reason.
Posted by charity on March 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
@14: It totally does show they have balls! Only a totally badass rebel would have that kind of chutzpah. He left the cinema, then he ordered some sushi and didn't pay for it.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on March 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM · Report this
I almost walked out when it started turning into Twilight's love-triangle, but I wanted my $3 worth.
Posted by Drew2u on March 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
Knat 19
It was sufficient for what it was: a PG-13 version of Battle Royale for white people. My group picked apart all the logical, logistical, and societal-structure issues inherent in the premise of this movie, but we all still enjoyed it.
Posted by Knat on March 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM · Report this
bravez 20
Aw, sweetie, look at you being all contrary and high brow!

I'm sorry that the young adult blockbuster offended your sensibilities.
Posted by bravez on March 26, 2012 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 21
Does it have failures of conventional wisdom logic as big as Children of Men did? Cuz if so, I might go see it, As I did still like CofM.

Until I remember the bit about kids killing kids. I'll leave that to people who like watching that sort of thing.
Posted by Steven Bradford on March 26, 2012 at 8:04 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 22
If you really aspire to be the next Lindy West, you're going to have to gain a lot more weight.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on March 26, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
Oh fer chrissakes, Frizzelle. Let me guess: you're the type who would tell me a wide shot of an abandoned playground held for half an hour would demand the viewer question what "film" is.

Constant has the right metaphor: Hunger Games is a Snickers bar. Kind of pandering, not particularly nuanced, but delicious. Deal.

That you walked out after 45 minutes says much more about you than the movie.
Posted by Halcyonic on March 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM · Report this
@22 What the fuck, dude!
Posted by sahara29 on March 26, 2012 at 8:19 PM · Report this
@24, he trolled ya but good there.
Posted by gloomy gus on March 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM · Report this

Why are you pedos going to movies for 12 year olds?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM · Report this
internet_jen 27
The review NPR aired last week emphasized that the movie was for kids & adults should adjust their expectations accordingly.
Posted by internet_jen on March 26, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this
evilvolus 28
@16 - Those are just about the stupidest complaints I've ever heard. Please go put your head in a rain barrel. I'll come by and let you know when it's okay to come back up for air.
Posted by evilvolus on March 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this


It's not for adults at all.

When you stand in a movie line for an adult movie, and "Twilight" is playing in the next movie theatre it's all 12 year old girls.

You don't go see Twilight. Your nieces see Twilight.

Same with Hunger Games. Some how all the Infantile Adults in Seattle are all telling each other it's "ok" to cram their fat assess in with the middle schoolers because it's "for everyone".

It's not...stay out of the school yard perverts.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM · Report this
unknown_entity 30
I agree: Hunger Games SUCKED!!!

Admittedly, my reason for hating it was that I own "Battle Royale," which Hunger Games is based on. However, instead of focusing on all the different reactions to being told "here's a gun, now go kill everyone" (the aspect of Battle Royale I like the most) we get a cliche love story and the tackiest costumes in existence.
Posted by unknown_entity on March 26, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 31
@19 for most insightful Cineaste Post of the Day
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 26, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
pdonahue 32
Yeah, I was expecting a "lightning thief" hack job by Hollywood and was totally caught off guard by the professionalism by which it followed the book's narrative. BTW, I am often dragged to stupid teen movies by my two teenagers, I often get sucked into their juvenile literature that they leave laying around as well. Juvenile fiction has come a long way since I was a teen reader,
"Hunger Games" takes on some really serious themes that no author of teen fiction would touch even 5 years ago. War and rebellion, dystopian future themes, inequality and privilege, personal costs of killing and death, I can see why this was too much for Criss Frizelle to handle. Little too close to home? Or just too political for your taste?
A future where children are ritually sacrificed as a lessen to the subjugated districts of a Balkinized North America, I can see why this might be disturbing, especially after the last 10 years where we have been essentially doing just that to the nations of the Middle East. But maybe it's time to grow a pair and take a hard look at what we are doing to the generation of children that are soon to be adults, who have spend their childhood post 9-11 watching chicken hawks like Frizelle and Savage cheering the warriors from the homefront, unable to face the unsanitized consequences of their war.
Posted by pdonahue on March 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 33
I miss Lindy.
Posted by Just Jeff on March 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 34
Movie Review/Movie Math

"Lord of the Flies" + "Running Man" = "The Hunger Games"

-What someone more clever would have written
Posted by Just Jeff on March 26, 2012 at 10:37 PM · Report this
Amen! I would have walked out had I not been packed in and had to crawl all over 20 people. So I dozed. The only other movie I should have walked out on but didnt was last year's "Tree of Life". This was right up there with that.
Posted by HMRBEAR on March 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM · Report this
emor 36

They call that "projecting," right. We all know you're a repulsive creep.
Posted by emor on March 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 37
@29 I saw "The Hunger Games" because my wife (a major in Children's Theater) and my daughter (a 17 year-old - well 17 year-old) recommended it. I liked the film, as an admirer of futurist fiction, as a long-time consumer of YAD fiction, and as a guy who had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.

So fuck you.
Posted by Just Jeff on March 27, 2012 at 12:09 AM · Report this
No twists? No twists?! Didn't you hear they CAST BLACK ACTORS AS GOOD GUYS?
Posted by madcap on March 27, 2012 at 12:14 AM · Report this
39 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
tainte 40
you think you're so fucking cool fizzelle? i didn't even GO to the hunger games! how cool is that?
Posted by tainte on March 27, 2012 at 5:55 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 41
"There was not a single plot twist to be found on that long, long road. Every aspect of the movie unfolded exactly as you'd expect."

This is a kid's movie. If you through any plot twist in it, the theater becomes a shoutfest of questions: "Why did she do that?", "Who is that guy?", "I thought she was x!"
Be glad it was kept simple & straightforward.
Posted by Sir Vic on March 27, 2012 at 6:51 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 42
Quite a gamut of comments, everything from "adults liking Hunger Games must be pedos" to "if you don't like Hunger Games, you are just a contrarian dick."

Nice work Slog, you never disapoint.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on March 27, 2012 at 6:53 AM · Report this
My biggest disappointment that they left out was the line, "Remember who the real enemy is." That's the core of the books, and they cut it.

Aside from that, it was pretty good.
Posted by clashfan on March 27, 2012 at 7:10 AM · Report this
@43 I think that line is in the next book, Catching Fire.
Posted by charity on March 27, 2012 at 7:17 AM · Report this
Wasn't this a kid's book made into a kid's movie? Why is it news that some adults found it simplistic?
Posted by tiktok on March 27, 2012 at 7:20 AM · Report this
Breaking: Seattle hipsters find young adult movie adaptation of young adult book to be predictable, lacking in hip. "There's no irony, " says one. "I used to like simple, light entertainment before it was cool, but now it's just bourgeois cliche," retorts another.
Posted by also on March 27, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Georgia Guy 47
@30 demonstrates my favorite part of any comments section discussing "The Hunger Games" (book or movie): the folks who name-drop "Battle Royale" like they've uncovered some obscure foreign film, despite the 10 comments above it saying the same thing.

"The Hunger Games" is only based on "Battle Royale" if you've never seen/read "The Lottery," "The Running Man," "The Long Walk," "The Most Dangerous Game," or the five billion other works that use this plot. It's like saying any romance novel written after 1996 is based on "The Notebook."
Posted by Georgia Guy on March 27, 2012 at 8:05 AM · Report this
@32: Do you Occupy people have to turn *everything* into a political issue? Maybe try listening to you teenagers instead of complaining about their taste in literature. Not everyone was reading Orwell at the age of 10.
Posted by parents are lame these days on March 27, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Never read the book but knew what was going to happen before it did. I will not go see the next one. I came out of the theater depressed. Not one of my favorites. Guess I am the only one who thinks this but the Districts and the Capital ...just belong in two different movies. I talk show host looked like an ompa lompa and the lady that picked the two from the district looked like she was from Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp. ????
Posted by YvetteYA on March 27, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
@47 THANK YOU. I do an involuntary eye-roll anytime someone name drops Battle Royale in a Hunger Games thread. And it happens every. single. time.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on March 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
The movie was no better than the YA drivel from which it was adapted. Your expectations were too high.
Posted by fnart on March 27, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
@49, Um I think you missed the point. By a fucking mile. The Capitol is Tara and the Districts are the slave quarters. Or did you miss the whole totalitarian gov't, the forcing children from the Districts to fight to the death on tv, giving out fame and fortune to the victor as a sign of the Capitol's generosity, etc. The contrast is supposed to be stark. Think of the Capitol as the 1% and the Districts as the 99%. Only the Districts are comprised of slaves who are starved and face death if they dissent.
Posted by moosefan on March 27, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
@47, I second @50's comment. It's really starting to drive me up a wall. It's like these people have only ever read 1 book and don't realize that ideas get recycled about 50 billion times in literature.
Posted by moosefan on March 27, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
@46 OrsonWellesClap.gif
Posted by lortext on March 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Badger 55
@52 If so many people are missing "the point" then the film has failed to make that point clear. The movie is called "The Hunger Games" but we don't see ANYBODY in it that looks particularly hungry. How are we supposed to know that these people are enslaved and starving when everyone we see looks healthy and relatively normal?

Personally, I liked the movie - except for the obligatory shaky-cam which made it impossible to know what was going on during the fight scenes. It isn't a great film, but it is far from the worst.
Posted by Badger on March 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Although I believe Will of Sleazattle knows as much about women as Fnarf knows about politics, history, economics and global finance, I believe it's the appropriate time to re-run the infamous Paul Constant interview:

From the secret files of The Stranger staff:


{Frizelle opens Dan Savage's office door at The Stranger}

Frizelle: Hey Dan! That applicant, Constant, is here for the book editor interview!

Savage: Sorry, I'm really jammed right now. Could you have that new intern interview him?

Frizelle: You mean the new Gay Intern? But he's only been here one day?

Savage: That's fine, 'cause I'm really busy at the moment.

{Frizelle closes door while Dan returns to playing Iraqi Invasion on his laptop.}

Gay Intern: So, Paul, how many books have you read over the last five years?

{Paul takes off his eyeglasses and scrunches up his face in concentration.}

Constant:, make that two books!

Gay Intern: {Thinking silently to himself: Umm...that is soooo amazing....he's actually read a book......I'm going to have to do that sometime....but tonight, I just have to check out that new bathhouse that opened last week.....Hmmmmmmmm...Oopsy, focus, I've still got to finish this interview.}

Gay Intern: Well, in that case, you're hired!

And thusly begins the tale of Paul Constant at The Stranger.

Posted by sgt_doom on March 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Jeffo 57

I've read or seen all of your examples. Except for "The Long Walk", I don't see the use of teen/pre-teen kids on the level of "HG" and "BR".

"Battle Royale" seems a pretty apt comparison.
Posted by Jeffo on March 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
@47 - FTW.
Posted by Amanda on March 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
@47 WHOOO!!! I'm guilty of describing it to people as "similar to Battle Royale", but to anyone who has the same literary background as me I tell them it's Roman Gladiatiorial Battle, crossed with "The Lottery" crossed with "Most Dangerous Game"
Posted by wittyrepartee on March 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Beetlecat 60
For everyone complaining about the comparisons of Hunger Games and Battle Royale in every thread you read; Just how many Hunger Games threads are you reading, anyway?
Posted by Beetlecat on March 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
pdonahue 61
If you have to compare a movie to describe it how about "survivor" meets a Palistine intifada? Made for TV violence designed to recolonize? Maybe these teen dramas are just not obvious enough for adults, the kids I took to the showing got it right away.
Posted by pdonahue on March 27, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
@44, well that would explain it then, wouldn't it?

I lent my copy out so I can't check, but I bet you're right.
Posted by clashfan on March 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this
@14 YES.
@16 Exactly. What the WTF why the fuck did they make buttercup anything but yellow? The goddamned cats name is BUTTERCUP. Pretty much everything they changed for the movie I was like WHYYYYYYYYYYY.... The thing that bugged me the most was Haymitch telling Katniss he believed in her right before she went up the tube. That was Cinna jerks. Why would Haymitch be with Katniss there anyway? Hello, he was supposed to be mentoring TWO tributes. And he didn't believe in her... he was drunk, remember?
Posted by bodhirungus on March 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this

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