Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

08-10-2014 12;06;48AM

AMC Stubs Member Swag, “Don’t freak out, it’s just a mask.”

Part of me cringed that I subjected myself to two Michael Bay movies in one month, but surprisingly enough, this one wasn’t as bad as the Transformer franchise—don’t get me wrong, it was still Michael Bay doing Michael Bay, but it was the higher end of the low expectations. After god knows how many script rewrites resulting from leaked scripts exploding the internet in mass rage, mostly about the idea that the turtles weren’t going to be turtles, but extra-dimensional aliens that simply looked like turtles, because according to Michael Bay, they were originally aliens, after which Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird set his shit straight and we were given the mutant turtles we were meant to have. Now, the story, if you have not been watching the new ‘Ninja Turtles’ cartoon on Nick, you may be slightly thrown by the story as it is (I’ve only seen it enough to recognize it as the source), since it will slightly conflict with your memories of the cartoon and/or comics (kinda like how the ‘90s movie conflicted with people that never read the comic and only knew the cartoon), but it’s not that much of massive change (especially when you keep telling yourself what he originally planned, you’ll be ok with it).

We start off with a cel-shaded prologue through the start credits that gives a brief profile of the turtles being trained to protect the city while they hide beneath it (not to get into a thing of constantly review the 3D quality of movies, but this was actually impressive to see—well enough that I almost started wishing I had money to upgrade my PC enough to see what my cel-shaded games look like in 3D—still not saying he did the 3D as well as it could have been, but it was at least a lot better than ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’), we also get very brief notes that the Foot Clan lead by the Shredder is terrorizing New York. Credits/prologue ends, and we introduce Megan Fox’s ass in the role of TV news reporter April O’Neal who is interviewing a guy at a shipping yard about a recent robbery of chemicals which are hyped up to “you can’t even get this stuff on the black market” level. We then introduce Will Arnett as our comic-relief who begins the usual sexually objectifying of Megan Fox as is normally expected of any female in a Michael Bay movie (but it’s Megan Fox, and that’s pretty much her leading skill in acting), which then moves the scene over to reveal that April is only a fluff-piece reporter, who is only hoping to break in as an investigative reporter (she apparently doesn’t know why even Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet to become a blog writer—the internet is the new news source).

So nothing happens and her day ends with a bike ride home conveniently going by the shipping yard that happens to be getting robbed by the Foot, but then, someone stops them, and her camera-phone does badly with low light (worst product-placement ever), so all she gets is the vigilante’s calling-card of graffiti Asian symbols. She goes back to the office with this story and Whoopi Goldberg laughs at her absurd existence, and then so does Will Arnett while continuing to humorously attempt to get in her pants while she doesn’t notice.

We cut to a dude tide-up in ropes, who then gets attacked by dudes, that he beats ups because his choreography was designed to hit people and theirs wasn’t (it was actually a bit worse than a Star Wars light-saber fight where all the blows are nowhere near anything). He then breaks the ropes, and tells cheek-bones (played by Minae Noji) that her dudes suck, and she blames their sucking on the vigilante sucking less than them and it just wasn’t fair. So Shredder (played by Tohoru Masamune) who can understand English fluently but chooses to only speak Japanese ‘cause he just that kind of dick and wants to make you read stuff, tells cheek-bones to bait the vigilante by attacking innocents (like Michael Bay attacking your childhood innocents by making your favorite cartoons into his movies).

Conveniently, Megan Fox’s ass stumbles upon the Foot attacking a subway station, taking hostages (that she becomes a member of), and setting bombs (in a subway station that they’re in—why wouldn’t that be a good plan). Just in time to stop Megan Fox’s ass from getting shot by cheek-bones, a train comes, lights go out and everyone is beaten up. Lights come back and the vigilantes are only glimpsed climbing up a construction shoot that goes all the way from the subway station to the top of a multi-story building (I have no idea if that’s normal to have, but ok). Megan Fox’s ass follows them and starts taking pictures where Michael Bay comic-relief starts to spew until she passes out (which is understandable, Michael Bay comic-relief is a lot to try to take in).

She then realizes that the turtles are her pets from when she used to hang out with her dad in his lab that blew-up (this was apparently all a thing—welcome to info dumping—it doesn’t end here). After getting fired by Whoopi Goldberg for talking crazy she then goes to see her dad’s ex-lab partner who’s apparently rich-balls. This then rolls into an info dump that pretty much just spews out the rest of the plot so much you could just stop watching now ‘cause you already know everything that’s going to happen for the rest of the movie. So when the next scene is of him chillin’ with Shredder, despite what the music suggests, you’re not really surprised (it was pretty much a “no shit” moment).

Megan Fox’s ass then gets a message to meet the Turtles where they take her to meet Splinter (played by Tony Shalhoub for some reason—it’s really the most disjointing voice that just doesn’t fit at all). We then go into an info-dump that gives more detail of the turtles’ origins making the prologue a bit pointless (I really don’t think Michael Bay really understands the point to prologues to begin with). This then closes with Megan Fox’s ass conveniently realizing that her cell is being track at just the moment the Foot finds them. An absurd fight between Splinter and Shredder happens that makes the Yoda fight in Episode 3 look normal. Shredder expertly wields the armor that was just made for him like a scene ago, which seems to allow his bones to bend oddly (or it’s just a result of CGI fighting where they seem to think that moving fast makes you look like you’re made of rubber—I had this same issue with ‘Man of Steel’). Everybody almost dies, but not so much that we can’t go off for a couple days continue the rest of the story and come back and save you later when most people stopped even wondering if you were still alive or not.

All but Raph is taken, so he and April (because she knows where the lab partner’s rich-balls house is) go save the rest of the turtles then go all the way back to the city from where ever they were and stop the Shredder and lab-partner from poisoning then curing everybody. A large roof-top fight between the Turtles and the Shredder begins while the countdown for poison spewing starts (because no one can just poison spew without a countdown, there are traditions and protocols that must be followed). After slightly beating the Shredder with the flash-back spew reference they stop the count down. Shredder gets back up and just knocks down the spewer instead (‘cause screw those countdown protocols), which Megan Fox’s ass then threatens to drop and destroy the cure if he doesn’t stop (because that’s good threat that completely works in her favor and wouldn’t just get the whole city killed). Shredder falls to his doom, and the Turtles and Megan Fox’s ass disappear into the sewers. Splinter who we forgot was dieing is ok now, and we close with comic-relief, and no post-credit scene.

So… on the Michael Bay Grading Scale: 5 out of 5, there was just so much Megan Fox ass in 3D that you almost forget this is supposed to be a movie intended for kids. On the Everyone Else Grading Scale: 3 out of 5, which is pretty good in his case, the jokes weren’t as bad, the story wasn’t as bad, but it was still really bad. At best, I can say that it was way better than I thought it was going to be and would at least be a fun movie to take your kids to without too much regret, and isn’t anywhere near as painful to watch as any of the Transformer movies (at least the odd choice of voice actors are synced correctly, whereas Transformers usually just makes me think they’re all ventriloquists, or Popeye).

They gave me a button!

They gave me a button!

Ok, I have a thing about reviews, I do try to avoid writing any reviews on something if I have too much trouble finding anything positive to say about it, but at the same time, I also try to avoid reviews when I have too much trouble finding anything negative to say about it. I try my best to give every detail of the good and the bad, but this… it fanboyed the shit out of me, and I got nothin’ for the bad—I’m really trying to think of something bad to say, I swear. But, because I promised you a review, here we go anyway.

First, to reference my last review, I saw this in 3D, and it was fucking beautiful from beginning to the very, very end (I included the post-credit scene in that ‘very’—which you better remember to stay for).

It starts off with a prologue set in 1988 with Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) as a child. He’s lost in his head listening to his Walkman, with a tape labeled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” we zoom out and reveal he’s sitting in a hospital when his grandfather comes to get him to see his mother who is at the very final stages of cancer—sorry, but you’ll have to just tough it out, you’re about to find yourself crying during a prologue (I know, right). She dies, and he storms off breaking down in front of the hospital, where a huge ship suddenly tracker-beams him up. End prologue… you can stop crying now.

Flashforward to the present and we have an interstellar Indiana Jones, who gives us a song and dance number that puts ‘Spider-man 3’ to shame. While he’s nabbing a metallic orb, he is interrupted by Korath and his people who apparently also want the orb, but wish to arrest him so their boss, Ronan the Accuser, can question him, which is then interrupted by a BA escape scene which is only mildly topped by a later escape scene.

This results in Star-Lord now having two different people looking for him, working for Ronan, Gamora, daughter of the Mad Titan, Thanos, wants the orb, and Yondu Udonta, revealed to be the crime boss that abducted him and “saved” him, wants him captured so he can kill him, and he wants the orb, but to sell.

We then go to Rocket Racoon and Groot who are scanning people for possible bounties, and come across Star-Lord with his fresh new bounty who’s visiting the Broker to sell the orb to, and then throws him out when he discovers Ronan wanted it.

Gamora, flirts, kicks, grabs, and runs quick enough to make things look clearly too easy, and she and Star-Lord wrestle while Rocket and Groot get in the middle, only to be finally interrupted by Nova Corps (aka Marvel’s Green Lantern Corps).

They’re thrown in prison, and a lot of people want to kill Gamora for helping Ronan destroy anything that wasn’t Kree. We then meet Drax the Destroyer, who has the biggest grudge and is only stopped by Star-Lord convincing him that Gamora would serve as bait for Ronan.

We then dive into the next BA escape.

They’re out, and headed to the Collector (you remember him, he was in the ‘Thor: the Dark World’ post-credit scene where we first hear the phrase “infinity stones”). The collector opens the orb and finally reveals what it is, right before his slave makes it go boom making the heroes of the story realize that it would be safer if handed over to the Nova Corps (well, Star-Lord still wants to sell it, without getting arrested), but before this is a thing, Ronan shows up because Drax is an idiot, and coincidently, Yondu arrives, resulting in the orb being taken by Ronan, everyone else captured and making deals with Yondu.

Deals are struck, and a plan to take on the now infinitely powered Ronan with the help of Nova Corps opens up to a huge battle in every direction. Gamora takes on Nebula, who really didn’t get much foreground story use until now, and ends with Nebula falling into nowhere (safe to assume we’ll see her in another movie). Rocket is outside helping Nova Corps in massive dogfights, that is going more south than not. And then, ending in the most touching speech from Groot that will have you in tears… again… sorry. Tears everywhere, Rocket blasts Ronan and Star-Lord and crew take on the infinite power and kaboom him to death… to… death.

More crying… so much crying… so, so much crying—and yay, most everyone is alive except everyone who’s dead, lets party, and stuff. We give vague explanation that the big badaboom didn’t kill Star-Lord because his daddy is a BA (*cough* Jason of Sparta *cough*), and now his ship is fixed and Nova Corps is cool with them for now.

We’re on the ship, more tears and crying, “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”, and onward to new adventures!

Now sit and count how many people stay before the end credits while you sit and wait like a good little fanboy/girl. Now I won’t reveal the post-credit, but just to squash one of the rumors so you don’t find yourself crying from disappointment later, a scene with Nathan Fillion as Nova does not happen—I’m not saying it won’t still be a thing later, I don’t give up hope that easily, but it’s not a thing for now. So just be cool, clap your hands, and say you believe and someday it will happen. The scene you do get is funny more for people my age though, for the rest of you kids, just tell you parents about it so they can explain it to you.

And, that’s about it… see… that was the most commentary void review I’ve ever done… it just feels empty. If it wasn’t for all the damned crying, I’d barely have anything at all.

So… um… the rating 4 out of 5, it didn’t give me shit to bitch about, resulting in a boring review—that shit ain’t coo’. Plus, so much crying making me so wet for so completely the wrong reasons—I’m not really sure what the right reasons are, but those can’t be them. The best thing we can really say about how awesome this was, is that it hopefully will open up the door a little wider to allow space operas to be a thing again. This world sucks, and we’re very in to looking far upward as our escape right now—give us something to look at. ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ aren’t the only franchises available, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, and even another try at John Carter (with a less idiotic marketing agency maybe), and so much more are still there, let’s let the awesomeness of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ be that thing that smacks Hollywood awake and gives us what we want (possibly in TV too).

 

English: Bumble bee & Optimus Prime

English: Bumble bee & Optimus Prime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watched ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ yesterday in 3D. Now, most movies I’ve seen in theater lately, I’ve seen in 3D (obviously excluding the cheap shows), but I mention the detail of this one being in 3D because it was the first time I was significantly disappointed. For pretty much the whole movie, I could have been watching it in 2D and it wouldn’t have made much difference. I’m not even just talking about the lack of things flying off the screen (which this did lack), but it’s also the lack of significant depth. In a lot of movies, my stance on 2D vs 3D and how 3D is significant, is that the added depth puts you a bit more in the story, but with this, I still just felt completely disconnected from beginning to end. I saw ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ in 3D (no, I didn’t do a review, and this is probably the closest you’re gonna get), and that was damn near the most amazing thing I’ve seen so far, and a completely opposite from ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ and I’m glad that was what I used to be my little girl’s first 3D movie experience.

This was a Michael Bay movie so naturally it’s difficult to talk about it without it being mostly about the visual effects, while barely mentioning the story because, essentially, that statement is the entire basic concept of a Michael Bay movie: visual effects scenes with a barely substantial story speckled through it. So, let’s start with that speckled story.

This, in case you don’t know, is the fourth movie in the Michael Bay Transformer movies, we start with a vague and mostly pointless prologue of the Earth surrounded by ships, and invading a Earth filled with dinosaurs, the after about a minute of that, we cut to a scene in the arctic where they uncover dinosaurs covered in metal (try real hard to remember this because by the time anything about his is even vaguely hinted at again in the movie, you will probably have already forgotten about it—and if that happens, also don’t worry ‘cause nothing in a Michael Bay story is ever that important). Prologue ends, and first act begins, it starts off a few years after the invasion of Chicago that took place in the last movie, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.’ There are signs everywhere telling people to report any suspected alien activity. Mark Wahlberg is a junk collector with his friend TJ Miller (from the show ‘Silicon Valley’ on HBO and a crap load of comic-relief roles), he goes into an abandoned theater in “Texas” (which I have been in before, and I’ve never been to Texas—weird), after rummaging through discarded theater stuff, they find a huge semi (I’m not sure how that was supposed to be considered normal), when the door was opened, spent ammo shells of many sizes spill out (and this is only vaguely glanced at, “Well that’s weird, eh, whatever”). So he buys the truck that the theater owner didn’t remember was there (vague nod at the first movie when Shia finds Bee at Bernie Mac’s car lot—that’s right, I’m making you go watch that bullshit now).

We then cut to some black op stuff where they’re hunting a Transformer on the Boblo Boat, which is revealed to be an Autobot because the black ops are on mission to destroy all Transformers for some reason (except the one helping them—he’s cool, apparently).

Back to “Texas” where we sort of meet Wahlberg’s daughter Nicola Peltz (from ‘Last Air Bender’ and movies/TV where her main talent is just being hot—do I need to remind you this is a Michael Bay movie?), she just got denied a scholarship and then here comes her father with a truck he just spent money on, “but don’t worry, it was the comic-relief’s money, but we’re still broke, so it doesn’t really matter.” We reveal that he’s actually not a junk collector, but a really crappy inventor, who understand electronics well enough to reverse engineer anything, but can’t seem to find any practical use for this to make money with (until the very obvious ending).

Next day, simply because, he already figured out the truck is a Transformer between scene-wipes because a car batter gives enough charge to activate the distress call. Hot daughter storms in the house upset that absurd-line-delivery dad wouldn’t let her call the government and get enough money to pay their bills and her school because he’d rather make money instead (Michael Bay plots—they’re fun).

And from this point shit just starts happening and the vague chance at story just got thrown out. Optimus is fixed, and black ops storm in, and shit hits fan, and hot daughter’s pedophile boyfriend who caries laminated copies of pedophile protection laws on his person at all times saves the day, which leads us into ending first act with flash-fossilizing the comic-relief (which left me with “Who the fuck kills the comic-relief in the first act?” to “Thank god, Michael Bay has no idea how to balance comic-relief at all”—I am still haunted by the garden trampling gag that just wouldn’t fucking end).

For most of second act it’s pretty much just people running around and stuff blowing up, with a barely crow-barred in, “Hey we made our own Transformers from that metal that you forgot about, and named one ‘Galvatron’ to give nerds a cheap boner.” We also reveal that the Transformer that the black ops are totally cool with is actually working for the “Creators” (which is never mentioned beyond this, strongly hinting at seeding a sequel—but I predict it’s a reference to the Quintessons—yes, I’m one of the nerds that got a cheap boner, leave me alone!).

Third act, we’re in “China” that had a lot of Detroit building scape for some reason (seriously, the Detroit People Mover doesn’t go to China, it barely even goes to Detroit, it’s entire purpose is to just get you from one parking structure to another to make parking easier, it’s basically just a giant middle-finger that circles downtown mocking everyone that wishes public transportation was a thing). We rescued the dinobots from the bounty hunter’s ship, and stuff blows up, and movie ends with Optimus launching into space to find out what the “Creators” are (see, sequel seed—most of this movie was just a sequel seed, not as blatant as the second movie where we just spent two hours mocking ‘Search for Spock,” but still, it was just set-up for another movie).

And that’s about it, other than the constant attempts of Michael Bay trying to use blowing stuff up as a plot device no matter how many times people try to tell him, “that’s not a plot device, that’s just stuff blowing up—it could have not blown up and it would have been the same difference to the story—except less boomier.”

I’m not sure how I should rate this, ‘cause somehow rating Michael Bay the same way I would rate other people just doesn’t seem fair—it’s like rating a special needs kid with the same grading scale of a genius. It’s like the Einstein quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” But, I still expect a guy that spends and makes a crapload of money to be better than this, so, I’m going with two grade scales: On the Michael Bay Scale4 out of 5, there were at least a couple things in there that could have blown up that completely didn’t blow up at all; on the Everybody Else Scale2 out 5, not a single detail of the plot came together, it was all just set-up for the next movie, and seriously, look up the definition of “plot device,” the only thing it had going for it is when it actually mocked itself (which was both funny and sad), and when it crow-barred in nerd titillation (which was also a little sad).

 

 

Man of Steel

Man of Steel (Photo credit: MuseLed)

Finally watched Man of Steel

A short review on it… Zack Snyder is a confusing director—he keeps insisting on taking on action movies, but he really doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. He actually tells the story well, it’s when the action happens that he just starts falling into piles of clichés. This was one of the few comic book movies I’ve watched where I actually preferred the back-story act… it was well told, and actually made you feel for the character. But then when the action act started up, the clichés spewed out and punctured the movie with plot-holes and nonsensical physics and getting us to pretend to care about the wellbeing of barely significant characters even though every fucking thing was just leveled (“oh, look, those three guys are ok… too bad about the two completely fucked cities, but at least those guys are fine”). Completely leveled to the point that when Zod started saying he should have just let him build a Krypton, I was pretty much on his side about it, ‘cause, fuck, ya’might as well now.

Quick guess how they’re going to introduce Lex in the next movie… anyone? His usual thing is to point out that super humans are more dangerous than helpful… I’m pretty sure he has a good case going for him.

The CGI for a good portion of the action was just sloppy and at some points started looking completely cartoonish.

And the ending… when he gave himself a secret identity… half the fucking movie knows where his mom lives, but lets pretend the secret identity still makes any damn sense.

So… I’m giving this two ratings: Back-story act 4 out of 5, Action act 2 out of 5. I’m a storyteller by trade, I’m easier to win over with stories.

ZumiaoTemple complex - Ip man residence

ZumiaoTemple complex – Ip man residence (Photo credit: dhelling01)

Just watched ‘The Grandmaster’

Out of all the Ip Man movies that I’ve seen so far, this one is just odd. The storytelling of it was awkward and choppy, and just went off on tangents that I could barely even follow. The fight scenes were decent with only a few moments of unrealistic thrown in, but because of the odd story structuring, I had no idea what half the fights were even about… and I’m pretty sure only some of this can be blamed on the rum.

I give this a 3 out of 5, and I have no idea if this would have been different if I was sober.

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The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 fil...

The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 film Iron Man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how much detail I can really put into this review compared to any of the others I’ve done because there was seriously so much stuff happening in this movie I probably missed half of it from blinking. But I’ll do my best to cover what I can.

We start off the movie in a flashback on New Years Eve 1999, where Stark is still his old self. Avoiding spoiler, we’ll simply say that pretty much everything that’s happening is crucial to the plot… except for maybe the Y2K joke.

Bringing it back to the now, Stark is working on another design for an Iron Man armor that allows him to will the armor to him with implants that he just injected into himself (not Extremis, but for those that know that arc, you should really keep that in mind). All the while we are introduced by news that there is a terrorist going around blowing stuff up known as the Mandarin, which then leads us to the president introducing the new War Machine model now known as the Iron Patriot (not Norman Osborn, it’s still Rhodey, just with a name that they deemed better for PR).

Meanwhile, back at Stark Industries, Pepper and Happy are trying to get things running as usual when Pepper gets an unexpected visit from the guy in the flashback, Aldrich Killian, which shows her a project that he’s working on call… Extremis (told you to keep it in mind—over all, this is somewhat of an odd remix of the Extremis arc). After Killian shows off his stuff, Happy finds him suspicious and follows him.

We move back to Pepper returning to the Stark house and being introduced to another new armor that Stark is “breaking in,” she assumes to be about Mk15, but is actually Mk42, which all becomes a reveal that Tony is dealing with PTSD from events that occurred back in New York in ‘the Avengers” (this is really about the only detail that seems to be even hinted about the other movies—if there was anything else, I missed it—oh, and sorry, there was only the most vague slight hint to Stark having a drinking problem… that was as close as Disney would allow it).

Back to Happy, things happen, boom. Mandarin takes credit, Stark threatens a terrorist. And now we bring the other person from the flashback in, and before we even know why she’s there, said threatened terrorist blows shit up, which gives Pepper her first moment to be a bit badass.

After huge sequence of shit blowing up, Stark is assumed dead, and we end up in Tennessee with a busted up armor. This leads us to the investigation of a boom that happened here similar to Happy’s boom, and as soon as you think shit is slowing down, shit starts blowing up again. Lot’s of blowing shit up going on in this movie—honestly, through this whole thing, I kept trying to figure out at what point Robert Downey, Jr might have gotten injured that caused a slight delay in production, and well, I stopped trying pretty early in… I couldn’t tell where he was using stunt doubles verses doing his own stunts, and there was so much going on that could have caused some injuries to happen.

Meanwhile, Iron Patriot is hunting down the Mandarin in all the wrong places and stumbles upon a trap that leads to his capture.

Back to Stark, the armor is on a slow charge and he has to MacGyver some stuff while he waits and starts to infiltrate the Mandarin’s hideout. Zapping, booming, and zapping happen, and Mandarin, stuff happens, Stark is captured.

Back to Rhodey still in the Iron Patriot, they eventually pry him out, Rhodey proves he’s pretty badass without the armor (best part about this movie is that all the characters that didn’t really get a chance to be badass in the other two, really get their chance here).

Then chase and rescuing of everyone, and final battle comes with the entire hall of armor out at once. The End (as close as I want to get to it without giving away every twist).

Stay ‘til end of credits (those that don’t already know this shouldn’t even be watching Marvel movies anymore). Final message is that “Tony Stark will be back”… I assume this is in response to the rumors that have been going around that Robert Downey, Jr was done with Iron Man, and no one knew if he was at least going to do the next Avengers movie or not… so, I guess that was telling us we have at least that… I think… or it’s saying they’re recast Tony Stark, but at least Stark is still a thing… I don’t know.

I heard rumors that there were supposed to be references to future Marvel movies in this one—references to Nova, and Ant-man—if these references ever made an appearance they were among the things that happened when I blinked, and I missed them.

Ok… rating, 4 out of 5, and I probably would have given it a straight 5 if it wasn’t for the internet filling me with so much stuff about the movie ahead of time, such as Disney axing Stark’s drinking problem (the writers wanted to mix in ‘Demon in a Bottle,’ but Disney drew the line on darkness there), I probably would have let it go easier if I never knew about it (internet ruins everything).

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

Now, to start off, when I first heard about the book being done into a movie, I was a bit lost: one, I still don’t quite get the hype that the book got to begin with (I do get that it at least has a strong female protagonist, with is a complete opposite contrast from what we were dealing with in books/movies for a bit); and I wasn’t really sure how they planned to do a movie of a book that was so very heavily carried by narration. The first bit, as I said, I at least get that it had a female worth rooting for; as far as the second bit, most of the story was told by Katniss’ real-time first-person view with very little dialogue and buttloads of flashbacking to give more character definition, so the best solution I would have thought would be to run the movie with Katniss narrating through most of it (not quite ‘Wonder Years’ or ‘Christmas Story’ level, but at least enough to carry the story).

That was what I was expecting, and that’s not what we got. So almost every detail of the story that was relying on the narration to tell you what was going on through the book, was completely lost in the movie… that gesture, with the kissing the fingers and looking like they were in Girl Scouts, if you didn’t read the book, did you have any idea what the hell was going on there? Or were you just staring with a ‘WTF’ expression… I read the book, and I knew what was going on, and even I was ‘WTF.’ Most of this movie was spent actually skipping clear over the bits that were entirely narration, and going right to the scenes and dialogue without caring if there was anything involving rhyme or reason for anything going on. There was no explanation for at least half the shit that was going on in the movie, there was flat out no character definition for anyone (which would be because that was done entirely in narration in the book). Which is kinda funny, because when I first proof-read the book back-when, I told Sue that the whole bit about Prim’s name was coming off as babbling, it was unnecessary and did nothing but say how much the author clearly liked the name ‘Prim,’ and frankly just felt crow-barred in (which is never a good feeling to have right at the beginning of the book)—but now, I actually kinda missed it because instead of having that detail of character definition, we were left with nothing, I had almost no reason to care about Prim, other than, she was 12, and was Katniss’ sister.

I don’t even know how far to go with this at pointing out all the character definition flaws that the movie created, pretty much, if there was any detail of character definition at all, it was skipped right the fuck over. Removing the mayor’s daughter, Madge, and even the freakin’ mayor… that was dumb, the pin coming from her was actually important, even the part where they removed all her dealings with the peace keepers, these details help define the difference between 12, and, later, 11—which adds to Rue having that much less definition.

So, without any narrative stuff in the way, they cut the crap out of the set up chapters, and then we are into her getting dressed (because we skipped almost everything on the train—nothing important there apparently) and developing a trust with her designer—oh’no wait… we actually just met the designer for like a minute scene, and moved on. So, now when he tells her to act like it’s him she’s talking to, that doesn’t really make any sense anymore—“You got me to like you.” “Sicko…”

And then we run through the training bit, most of which didn’t make much sense, but whatever, because that was supposed to be just trim for the scenes between it: coming up with strat, talking between Kat, and Peeta, meeting the servant girl with no tongue that Kat felt guilty for not saving back in the woods—oh, wait… we skipped all of that… so now I guess we just have a pointless training montage instead… you’d think they could of at least put some catchy 80s music in the background to help move it.

Ok, then we’re in the interviews where Kat freaks, then twirls, then moves on, then Peeta declares his love for Kat (this scene wasn’t really done too badly, I was just too busy being pissed about everything else still, that I didn’t care anymore).

Then we go into the prepping room for the Games (which was broken up funny, and added in that they were all on the same ship, instead of isolated, but whatever), her now creepy designer dresses her and sneaks the now pointless pin (that’s still on the covers of the book and movie) and they move on, and boom, tracking devices injected, we’re in the games.

Now, maybe it was just the way I saw it in my head when I read it, or they were way too damn close when they started off… which bugged me, but by this point, I barely cared about that detail. Games start, most bloodless bloodbath ever begins (I’m not really too upset about this, I actually would have been surprised if things were spelled out in the movie with kids killing kids in as much detail as the book. Kat grabs a bag, uses pretty much nothing in it, making the risking of her life for it just stupid now. She finds water so fast that she damn near tripped into it from the start, as opposed to the character defining detail of almost dieing of thirst (but that was all narration, so, skip it). And then, “oh, she’s going over there, set a very small detail of the forest on fire so she doesn’t, and give her a minor injury.” That was probably bigger for every detail in the book… but again, maybe it was just in my head.

So, she’s in the easily found water again (because the shit is just everywhere), and the group finds her and she’s in the tree. Rue points out the tracker-jackers (still a dumb name) and apparently dropping it on them is her idea now (that was never clear in the book, because she’s supposed to be an innocent 12 year-old… never mind that though, apparently not important). Now she’s trippin’ balls off tracker goo (which wasn’t done badly, it just still seemed downplayed from what it should have been), and wakes-up finding Rue put leaves on her (don’t bother explaining that, didn’t in anyway tell us anything about Rue or 11—oh, wait, that probably could have helped a bit, even given more reason to care when Rue died… even more reason to care about 11 freakin’ out—they added that part and still couldn’t tell us why we should care). So she’s pals with Rue now, and they eat, but no conversation (seriously, so few points of dialogue in the book, and you missed this—oh, wait, you knew it would of made of care about Rue and why the fuck is Kat crying about her, and we can’t have any of that caring about anything happening crap in this movie).

Now she has Rue making the fires, and Kat’s at the camp surrounded by mines (thanks announcer people for explaining the one thing that didn’t really need much explanation at all, and would have been better if you shut the hell up, and let Foxface do her thing that explained it just fine—how’bout instead you explain the Girl Scout thing that keeps happening). So, booms happen, her ears ring for about a minute, no actual damage done (not half deaf or anything—that’d be silly apparently). And then Rue screams from somewhere, she’s barely trapped at all, and is release pretty easy, and then dude comes up and with Kat killing him in cold blood (not adrenaline induced because of him tormenting and killing Rue or anything… just, swish—whatever, not important for character or anything). And just because, the spear misses Kat and hits Rue… sort’of… it looked more like a flesh-wound instead of the spear going all the way through, but… yea, she’s dead now. She sang, did the flower bit, 11 freaked out (instead of sending her bread and feeling sorrow and adding to the reason for Chaff to help her later—but then that detail flopped on many levels anyway… since he didn’t even know anything happen to begin with—guess we weren’t supposed to notice that). Kat’s crying about Rue because they just met, and now because we decided to change the rules… the reason was because of 11 freaking out now… ‘cause, that will help. So Kat searches for Peeta, and finds him camoed (I actually did like the way they did that, the explanation still doesn’t make much sense, even from the book, but it does look cool). And then we really get into how much character definition was lost between them… “I’m not going to leave you!” “Why?” “I don’t know, they took all the reasons out of the movie, but I have nothing better to do!”

And so, we’re in the cave for like two seconds, she kisses him, get broth one second later (damn sponsors moved fast on that one, those horny bastards). And then another second later, there’s a feast announcement… the writers were clearly getting impatient in the story here, ‘cause they didn’t give a crap about any of the tension points that was going on in these scenes, which I find interesting because I’ve read a lot of writing advice articles that talk about the importance of building tension, and use this mess of scenes in the book as a prime example (about their fake love vs is it real love vs survival if we don’t at least make it seem real, etc)… all the more reason why taking it out might screw things up a bit.

So, Kat goes to the feast, struggles with psycho girl and psycho girl gets slapped around to death by giant black man (that we forgot to remind anyone still existed) because he’s like that (again, I didn’t really expect the head smashing in with a rock from the book, but still… the death didn’t even make sense). Kat get the magic goo, and we’re healed. So we go out hunting, and split up because it’s fun, and canon. “Peeta’s not answering! No, you ate the berries maybe (which we forgot to mention at all), and clearly this made you disappear too… oh’wait, there you are.” Turns out it was Foxface who stole the berries… silly Foxface, good thing Peeta forgot all about his concerns about the Games changing him (which he actually still mentioned earlier, surprisingly), or killing her might be an issue (by the way, anyone else notice that Peeta was the only one to mention her name as Foxface and not until after she died… it just seems kinda rude by this point).

So, insert dog things with even less reasoning than the book gave, and 11’s Hulk gets a canon, bringing us to the final showdown. Which is actually where toning down the violence actually kills it a little, ‘cause there would have been a tension moment in waiting all night for him to die, but nah, just swish… dog’s vanish, and nope, rules changed again because we’re not as worried about a riot as we thought we were, and then oh’no, not the berries… silly Katniss.

Games are over, and we bum-rush the ending, because we screwed up all the tension moments in the Games already, so it would be just damn embarrassing to put it all in now. And we’re done, no moments of anyone feeling traumatized or anything, roll credits, wonder what happened to Sting… I mean, somewhere in all that we also threw in scenes between the Game Maker and the President that made no sense, and served more to completely ruin everything that was going on, and the Game Maker was locked in with a bowl full of berries… silly Game Maker.

And, I think that covers it… I probably still missed points because there were so many to cover, but all in all, out of 5, I’ll give it 1 ½, most of that comes from the couple of scenes that actually played off well, and because I was impressed with the girl the chose for Foxface, out of everyone, she actually looked the most like what I saw when I read the book.