Movie – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A-

catching fireA-
Catching fire is a true rarity: a film that’s significantly better than the book. The book bored me nearly to the point of giving up, while I felt the film was even more entertaining than the first. Gone were all the unnecessary detail and tedious filler scenes. Even more impressive, I liked it better than the first film, which I liked more than the first book. The focus shifted to the places it needed to, and thankfully we’ve moved away from shaky cam. After my disappointment with the Catching Fire novel, I never bothered with Mockingjay. Now I find myself wanting to see the end on film. (Though, lamentably, it’s being split in two. Hopefully that’s the next trend we can escape.)

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Movie – Epic: B-

epicB-
First of all, I can’t see any justification for naming this film Epic. It was certainly adventurous and tries to be funny and charming (though it only marginally succeeds) but definitely not epic. It had lots of stylistic choices that may have seemed good in theory, but in practice left much to be desired. I dreaded every scene featuring the frantic and busy father character and the comic relief were dumb and distracting. The central magical McGuffin was inconsistent at best, most of the time not really making any sense, even to the characters in the film. But some of the scenes were fun and the voice talent performed well. I can see how it would’ve been a good pitch, but it wasn’t quite what I believe its creators wanted it to be.

Movie – The Hunger Games: B+


B+
My opinion of Hunger Games is skewed from reading the book. And not in the normal “the book was better why’d they change things” sort of way. It was too faithful to the book. This hyper-faithfulness, while I’m sure will solidify the movie’s success, left me with no surprises. But they did well with the material. The other bigger problem was the camera. Shaky camera and out-of-focus zooming are like 3D: a stupid gimmick that hurts the viewing experience. It’s acceptable during action scenes (though still better without it) but during moments of quiet or suspense they’re distracting and pointless.