Critic Review - TIME Magazine

Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh.

March 21, 2012 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (42)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Comments

Nick Dupree

Nick Dupree

This seems to be the consensus a lot of reviewers are coming to. The movie is accurate to the book, but at the same time struggles to translate the energy of the writing into the cinematic experience.

Mar 21 - 12:31 PM

Rory W.

Rory Williams

Yeah it seems to have a similar issue to Harry Potter in that regard.

However I have also read a lot of reviews that have said this is a fantastic film regardless of being an adaption, so maybe it doesn't quite reflect the book's impact, but succeeds as a separate form.

Mar 21 - 12:44 PM

Sean D.

Sean D

Rory nailed it. Peter Travers says something similar and sums up the reaction well. Essentially he says that "yeah, it's not the bloody goodness I wanted, but it's still a pretty damn good movie on its own" and gave it 3.5/4

I think those that didn't like it were expecting it to be more like the book.

Mar 21 - 01:09 PM

Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson

Or more like Battle Royale, indulging in the violence and gore.

Mar 21 - 03:09 PM

Alex Gill

Alex Gill

Except it wouldn't make sense for it to be really gory, as it wasn't in the book... It would turn us even more into the Capitol. Of course, I haven't seen it... More violence could be really good IF they did a really good job of making us feel like the bad guys.

Mar 21 - 03:46 PM

Alex Gill

Alex Gill

Except it wouldn't make sense for it to be really gory, as it wasn't in the book... It would turn us even more into the Capitol. Of course, I haven't seen it... More violence could be really good IF they did a really good job of making us feel like the bad guys.

Mar 21 - 03:46 PM

MrGee Kelly

MrGee Kelly

the movie isn't actually too accurate to the book. many production mistakes:

1) the cornucopia is supposed to be gold - not graphite metal color.
2) Katniss doesn't buy the Mockingjay pin in the books - she is given it by Madge who is totally removed from the movie.
3) Big mistake here - Haymich sends Katniss the drugged soup for Peeta before the Gamemakers even announce the "Feast" - incorrect since they dont actually provide the drug in the form of soup and also, it makes no sense to provide the soup before the announcement

Mar 22 - 04:39 PM

MrGee Kelly

MrGee Kelly

4) Peeta's leg was supposed to be badly and deathly injured by the Muttations before him and Katniss go to eat the Nightlock berries - yet in the movie he was perfectly healthy
5) The huge lake that was supposed to surround the cornucopia was replaced with a stream
6) The Muttations in the movie are more like Bears than the Wolves they are depicted as in the novels
7) The movie totally misses the fact that the Mutts are identical to the dead tributes in their looks. The futuristic method of adding Mutts to the Games takes away from the plausability of this fact too. They are spontaneously generated by machine, not scientifically made in a lab from dead people.

Mar 22 - 04:47 PM

Alex Smith

Alex Smith

On 5), that's in the second book, not the first!

Mar 22 - 11:58 PM

celestialstarlight9

Liz Dillinger

All of those (minus Peeta's leg) would have required too much explanation for movie-goers that hadn't read the novels.

The Cornucopia (which I imagined more as looking like a real cornucopia), body of water, and the looks of the Mutts are all stylistic choices. Easily overlooked.


Otherwise, Madge is basically never seen again. The drugged soup can be omitted by the infection - the broth was encouragement to 'nurse' Peeta for the audience. The Mutts would have been to good effect, but it could have been lost without explanation (like the tracker-jackers had), since we saw so few Tributes in detail.

Don't miss the forest for the trees. It remained quite true. Perhaps not as deep, but don't ruin yourself with easily-missed details. I ruined the first LOTR like that, missing the movie by nitpicking.

Mar 23 - 02:24 AM

Kasey Cooke

Kasey Cooke

BOO! I disagree.

Mar 21 - 12:59 PM

C.B.

C. Bishop

Says the person who hasn't seen the movie.

Mar 21 - 01:01 PM

Dustin Gonzalez

Dustin Gonzalez

Lol I know.

Mar 21 - 01:25 PM

Imre Aladi

Imre Aladi

Well, I've seen it,and I loved it,so I disagree with this critic,too.

Mar 22 - 02:39 AM

Daria Locher

Daria Locher

I know!!!

Mar 21 - 02:40 PM

Jacob Parker

Jacob Parker

I think I'll take the opinion of Peter Travelers and Roger Ebert over a guy who gave negative reviews to 50/50, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, and MI3. There always that guy that wants to put down the big commercial film that everyone loves. I bet he thought Dark Knight was bad too.

Mar 21 - 01:07 PM

Joshua Nealey

Joshua Nealey

Dark Knight(Heath was amazing movie sucked) and MI3 were bad, but Tattoo and 50/50 were great.

Mar 21 - 01:32 PM

Max Gilbert

Max Gilbert

Really Josh?! You must be as stupid as Armond White to ever think that Dark Knight is bad.

Mar 21 - 07:57 PM

Matthew B.

Matthew Boren

To paraphrase your post, "You must be an stupid to dislike a movie I like". Not to mention he didn't even say anything about himself disliking it.

Mar 25 - 03:43 PM

Molly Fontera

Molly Fontera

Except the fact that he said: "Heath was great, movie sucked"

Apr 5 - 11:26 AM

Justin Ballew

Justin Ballew

You are an idiot.

Jun 2 - 12:44 PM

David L.

David Long

I thought Dark Knight wasn't that great.

Come at me bro!!

Mar 21 - 01:46 PM

Colton Rice

Colton Rice

Well see i think people can have different opinions on things

Mar 21 - 08:05 PM

mskeezer

Thomas Medford

Says the critic who didn't like Terminator 2 but loved Transformers 3. We read you loud and clear, chief.

Mar 21 - 01:10 PM

Dexter R.

Dexter Rose

I'm going to fast the day of and play Scrabble in line. Get it? Trololol

Mar 21 - 01:33 PM

Daria Locher

Daria Locher

This is completely and absolutely wrong. I disagree fully and I cannot disagree any more.

Mar 21 - 02:39 PM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

wait until you see the movie first dummy

Mar 21 - 02:41 PM

Lea Foged Pedersen

Lea Foged Pedersen

While reading the full review, I felt more like Corliss is trying to mention as many different films he can over the course of the review, than actually reviewing the film in question.
And while I get many of his points, I disagree. In my opinion, the film was a great adaptation of the book. The actors did a great job (especially Lawrence), and the effects were amazing.
While the wobbly cameras were distracting in the start, they actually captured the feel of the books very well.

I had actually expected to be disappointed - and was very surprised when the film turned out to be amazing.

Mar 21 - 04:44 PM

Michael Hirakida

Michael Hirakida

I just hope its not Battle Royale All Over Again.

Mar 21 - 04:44 PM

Jason Marcel

Jason Marcel

I don't get what the big deal is with this movie. I just saw it on Monday and I can't remember one single memorable thing that Stanley Tucci said. The movie cared more about showing him than getting inside the heads of the 24 tweens.

It also bugged me that the rules just kept changing on a whim. The movie cops out from having to do anything that would challenge us or make us really deal with a horrifying implication up close.

Even the death of one of the kids who really like is made into a set-piece meant to pull at our heart instead of making us think.

Cheap thrills over big ideas equals a 2.5/4 or 3/5 from me.

Mar 21 - 05:02 PM

Helen Ko

Helen Ko

How did you see it on Monday?
I thought pre-screening was over.

Mar 21 - 05:07 PM

Erin Toney

Erin Toney

It's based off a book which is written from 1st-person perspective. Everything is from Katniss' point. The death is meant to be sad. Because the source material is that way, then the movie can't necessarily tell things that Katniss was privy too. The rules changed in the middle of the book too.

Mar 21 - 11:32 PM

Dan Benge

Dan Benge

Sounds like the biggest problem here is that the book was told in first-person. It makes perfect sense that the main character wouldn't have information about the other tributes which means the reader is also in the dark.

In a film where the camera goes beyond the main character, they need to flesh things out a bit more and add a little more depth. Maybe they should have given Rue a few scenes in her district singing with the Mocking Jays, or introduced a few of the other tributes in their districts so that the impact of them dying could match that of the book...not to mention giving Panem more of a sense of place in the film. If we can't hear Katniss's thoughts explaining the districts, then the movie should SHOW US.

I think thats the problem some of these critics are having...there's just no emotional connection to anyone but Katniss. Maybe in the book, that's fine, but this isn't a book, this is a movie. A successful adaptation brings the spirit of the book, but also needs to exist on it's own. An adaptation needs to fill in the narrative that is expressed in thought or by the author with images and dialog.

Mar 21 - 07:34 PM

Kurt K.

Kurt Keefner

exactly :)

Mar 21 - 08:46 PM

Lea Foged Pedersen

Lea Foged Pedersen

Very well said!

Mar 21 - 11:46 PM

Joanna Bacarella

Joanna Bacarella

I couldn't agree more :)

Mar 22 - 06:24 AM

Lauren H.

Lauren Haylett

While I do not agree with the added content concerning tribute development pre-reaping, I do agree that a deeper character development is imperative to achieve full emotion in the event of a dead character. Many details concerning Rue were omitted, and I did not find her cinematic death as emotional as her literary peril. I also desired more emotional connections to Haymitch; he becomes a protagonist, and a trustworthy father figure for Katniss, as the series progresses, and a viewer that is not also a reader will find Haymitch cold and unrelatable by the end of The Hunger Games. The second film will have many holes to fill, and I expect many deviations from the plot of Catching Fire in order to accomplish this.

Mar 23 - 08:36 PM

Jeff Cuneta

Jeff Cuneta

shut up!!!!!!!!!!

Mar 21 - 11:20 PM

Jack Lam

Jack Lam

Before I watched it, I was like WHAT?! THESE REVIEWERS MUST BE CRAZY! But I watched it, and I have to say, IF you compare the movie to the book, it is a huge, HUGE disappointment. BUT if you don't compare them, the movie's pretty great.

Mar 22 - 06:44 AM

Tom Graczkowski

Tom Graczkowski

Haven't seen the film yet or read the books but at least in the books the reader can imagine the brutal reality Katniss is living in. I don't think this can possibly translate well in a movie mellowed down to a PG-13. For what it is it probably is a pretty good flick but given the concept it should have been made more intense.

Mar 22 - 07:13 AM

Ivan Thian

Ivan Thian

I've seen the movie and i disagree , a lot of movies that makes an adaption from a book is surely to be different but the hunger games nailed it just as i expected.

Mar 22 - 07:43 AM

Darren C.

Darren Casablancas

That's why nobody reads TIME anymore, thanks to irrelevant and idiotic critic like this dinosaur here.

Mar 28 - 01:54 AM

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile