Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Movie Review for The Hunger Games

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.

Release Date:  Friday, March 23, 2012

Running Time:  142 minutes

Genres:  Action/Drama/Sci-Fi

Director: Gary Ross

Writers: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray

Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens.

Brief Description: Set in futuristic North America, The Hunger Games tells the tale of Katniss Everdeen, the teenage girl from her district who must go to the Capitol for a deadly fight.

Our family went to Orange Beach, Alabama for Spring Break this year. Lauren looked online and saw that there was a midnight showing of The Hunger Games at the Rave Movie Theater in The Wharf  Shopping Center in Orange Beach. So we bought tickets for the Midnight Premiere that afternoon and went back to the theater around 11:00 pm. Sara talked to her friends Daniella and Beth who were also at Orange Beach during Spring Break and they met us at the theater. The movie theater has a huge Ferris Wheel in front of it and the inside looks just like the Rave here in Little Rock!

Lauren and Sara in front of the Rave Movie Theater
Orange Beach, Alabama
Early morning on March 23, 2012

If you are not familiar with the series of books or with the movie, it's basically kids killing kids.  Lauren read the first book (The Hunger Games) and had started reading the second book (Catching Fire), but accidentally left it on the airplane during our trip to Hawaii in January! Sara hasn't read the books, but actually had me send in a headshot and acting resume when the movie was being cast last Spring.  It was filmed in North Caroline during the summer of 2011, and she remembers seeing online messages looking for extras for the movie.

The movie was shown on several screens that night and they all seemed full. I was really impressed with the casting and production value of the movie during the first half, but when the actual games started, I had to leave the theater.  I went out to the lobby and wrote random notes for this review while also watching an episode of Glee on my iPad!

  • This movie reminded me of that film I had to watch in Junior High called "The Lottery" where everyone in town gets together one day a year to see who will be stoned to death that day.
  • Wes Bentley, who plays Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane, is from Arkansas and as a teen appeared in a student short film, Serendipity Lane, in which my brother, Chuck Smith, served as Director of Photography.
  • Woody from Cheers and musician Lenny Kravitz are both in this movie and are great as mentors/advisors to Katniss and Peeta.
  • I think I'm probably one of twelve people who actually saw Jennifer Lawrence in the Oscar nominated film Winter's Bone. I read recently that she is tired of playing roles where her character is poor and spends a lot of time running through the woods!
  • Australian Liam Hemsworth is Miley Cyrus' boyfriend and appeared with her in the 2010 movie The Last Song.
  • Josh Hutcherson, a native of Union, Kentucky played the character Laser in the movie The Kids Are All Right, one of our favorite movies from 2010.
  • Most of the people in the theater that night looked like high school and college students on Spring Break.  I saw a few parents in the crowd along with some younger children.  Lauren sat with Sara and her two friends during the previews, but all four girls moved up a few rows to sit with me because there was a mouse on the floor by their seats!
  • I read a few days later that the movie grossed more than $155,000,000 during its Opening Weekend.
  • I may not agree with some of the content of this movie, but I think it's great that a lot of young people are reading more books such as The Hunger Games, along with the Harry Potter series and The Twilight Saga that are then made into movies.
  • I talked to all four girls after the movie was over, and they all liked it! Lauren said that some parts of the movie were a little different than the book and that she is really looking forward to the next movie, Catching Fire!

Sara took this cool picture of the Ferris Wheel
in front of the movie theater in Orange Beach!

To celebrate the return of Glee on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 I am writing my next blog entry as a recap of our trip to Chicago to see Glee Live on June 4, 2011.  Here's a picture my friend Lynn took from her seat on the 3rd row!

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