March 23, 2012, - 6:33 pm

“The Hunger Games”: Long, Boring, Unoriginal, Feminist Snuff Film Marketed to Kids

By Debbie Schlussel

In seven years as a movie critic, I’ve learned a few undeniable truths of the box office.  One of them is:  don’t believe the hype.  You’ll always get burned.  Another:  there is little originality.  Everything is either derivative or flat-out ripped off from something else.  And so it goes with “The Hunger Games,” the much overhyped, overrated, and totally ripped-off movie that debuts in theaters, today.  Sadly, this disgustingly violent and mostly soulless and unentertaining movie is marketed to kids, as the natural evolution from popular “Young Adult” lit.  And it logs in at a slow-paced, sluggish two-and-a-half hours of undue self-importance.

In 2007, I reviewed “The Condemned,” a WWE-produced movie about 10 killers dropped on an island for a live reality-show game.  The object was to be the one remaining survivor and would be rewarded with freedom and fame.  Only one could live and the rest would have to die, mostly from being targeted by the others for death.  I panned this sick “killing porn” movie, as did most critics.  But, now, the same critics are gushing over a rehash of virtually the exact same plot in the long, slow, and extremely boring, “The Hunger Games.”  The only difference is that, in “The Condemned,” the master of the game is a billionaire TV producer.  In “The Hunger Games,” the master of the game is the President of a new fictional country, residing with his fellow elitist rich people in the “Capitol.”  Both are typical lefty Hollywood constructs of capitalist creeps, who have no regard for human life, creating televised reality shows involving torture and death of “the little people” a/k/a “the 99 percent.”


It’s amazing how typically left-wing movie critics will gush over something as “high brow” when it is dressed up with Donald Sutherland (the President), Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Banks, and young up-and-coming stars and wrapped in the phony label of “social commentary,” when it’s really just a repeat of the WWE product starring Stone Cold Steve Austin.  (A reader of this site, “Ghostwriter,” notes that the storyline of “The Hunger Games” also sounds like a rip-off of “Battle Royale,” a Japanese movie about a bunch of teenagers that were taken to an island and forced to kill each other under the “Battle Royale Act.”  You have to wonder if “Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins saw either of these movies.  I wouldn’t bet against that, as plagiarism is rewarded in America, and she’s rolling in cash from these books and now as executive producer of the movie.)  I understand that the movie follows the first “Hunger Games” book very closely.

The thing is, “The Condemned” was rated “R” and meant only for adults.  “The Hunger Games” is marketed to young teens with a PG-13 rating.  But it is just as violent.  That it isn’t an “R” movie is appalling.  It deserves it . . . unless you think a close-up scene of one boy smashing another boy to death, with repeated bloody hits of a rock to his head, is good for kids.  Sadly, so many “parents” in America are sperm and womb/egg donors who just want to be friends with their kids.  And they will send their kids to see this, even take them there.  Anyone who allows their kids–even teens–to see a snuff film, as this definitely is, should be tried for child abuse.  At the very least, they are pimping out their kids to Hollywood violence and killing porn.

And part of the violence in this crappy flick is of the phony feminist variety–that women can kick butt and beat men much bigger than them.  It’s not believable.  Sadly, the movie has already made millions in advanced ticket sales and Thursday Night Midnight showings, which will falsely lead Hollywood to believe that America wants to buy into the BS that a slim, athletic girl can beat muscular guys twice her size and outlast them in the wilderness while they are trying to kill her.  Sorry, but America doesn’t want that kind of fantasy, no matter how much feminists wish to make it so.  In this movie, the male love interest to Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the movie, is a crybaby, very weak, and an effeminate wimp with frosted hair, whose life is saved several times by the more masculine chick.  Several women’s studies professors have been quoted in articles hyping this chick-kicks-butt movie.  That ain’t real life, hags.

The story is more anti-capitalist left-wing bull-crap.  It is a dystopian future and what used to be America is now called Panem.  It’s divided into twelve districts of different types of working-class poor: farmers, coal miners, electrical workers, etc.  They are not allowed to hunt for food, and, instead, the kids, aged twelve and up, must put an extra ticket with their name into a lottery, each time they want more food.  Once a year, two names are drawn from each district:  a male and a female, who must fight to the death–killing each other to survive and win–in a televised reality show in the Capital, a place filled with very rich, gaudy people in bright, clown-like clothing, make-up, and hairstyles.  It’s sort of a modern day man-versus-man in the coliseum minus the culture and history, in this case mixed with a little bit of the most unreal Gloria Steinem/Betty Friedan feminist BS fantasy imaginable.  The weak, nonsensical story is that because there was a violent revolution and war, the Hunger Games, as the contest is called, are held to remind the different districts of the cost of war and revolution.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is an expert bow-hunter from District 12 (the coal miner district).  She illegally hunts animals to sell and to feed her family, which consists of her inept, mentally weak mother and her sister, who has just turned 12.  When the annual drawing of names for the Hunger Games occurs, Katniss’ young sister is chosen, and Katniss volunteers to take her place.  She and a guy from District 12 (Josh Hutcherson) are the chosen two and make their way to the Capital, where the residents snobbishly examine them and watch the Hunger Games.

As I said, Katniss outlasts all the others, and it’s just not believable.  And it’s neither exciting or interesting.  Just warmed over.  I didn’t like the killing porn the first time when I saw it as the WWE’s “The Condemned.”

I like it even less as the regurgitated, feminist version aimed at “young adults.”

But America is made up of a bunch of suckers and sheep, so many of them racing to see this movie, having bought online tickets months ago.  They eagerly ingest and digest the swill served up to them, without thought or hesitation.  The other night, actress Kristen Bell uttered the most airheaded and sad comment of all about the books from which the movie was made:

This is the piece of literature that in a hundred years we’ll look back on and it will be the best thing we’ve ever written.

Spoken like a true moron.  But, then, as the popularity of this movie and the books behind it proves, we are a nation of morons.

FOUR MARXES PLUS A BIN LADEN PLUS FOUR BETTY FRIEDANS
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Watch the trailer (which they won’t allow anyone to embed from YouTube).

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133 Responses

This is probably the best movie review I have ever read!

Rudy Canoza on March 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm

If our morons want to see snuff films, they can watch them for free on jihadist websites. And they don’t come with with the warmed over politically correct cum feminist BS served up on “The Hunger Games.”

People who allow their kids to see that kind of stuff, Debbie is right – they should be tried for child abuse. But I guess if its not Islamic terrorists filming their own depraved killing sprees, that makes it alright if Hollywood does it!

That said, the movie, long, boring and unimaginative, earns the rating that Debbie gave it. Its not any different from “The Condemned,” widely panned a few years ago by the critics and its a clear rip-off of a long-forgotten Japanese movie with a similar theme.

There’s just no accounting for taste in America.

NormanF on March 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

This is why I don’t go to the movies until I get a Debbie review. Except for the coming Dark Knight. I’m a Batman junkie. ;)

You pretty much distill it into what I expected it to be, though I was curious. I didn’t know there were books about it, but it sounded like an interesting idea. But once again, done poorly by Hollywood. And by the sounds of it, a rip-off of other versions.

Not to get off on a rant here…
And thank you thank you thank you for being willing to call out this ridiculous feminist nonsense in Hollywood. I like to call it “sci-fi chick” phenomenon since watching a lot of sci-fi you constantly see hot, twig-like women in the roles of badass and superkaratebeatdownmode. I always believed it was due to sci-fi writers being of the nerd variety, and putting fantasy women into fantasy elements. But I suppose it also fits with feminist fantasy porn about women overpowering men.

This is why I also tire of computer-generated fakery:

I just don’t believe it. Watching Twiggy beat down a 220-lb bodybuilder size opponent is not even close to reality. Not. Even. Close. In reality, even an average man that doesn’t work out is stronger than 90% of women. As any man knows by simply touching any woman.

And like computer-generated fakery.. watching a man fall from a plane, slide across a rooftop, rappel down 100 floors of a skyscraper and land foot-to-face of a badguy… is not even close to realistic.

While I enjoy *some* fantasy that bends the rules of life we know… these ridiculous feats of feminist orgy and computer-generated fakery take me right out of enjoying the “fantasy” and into “roll the eyes and mentally check out” land.

PitandPen on March 24, 2012 at 12:03 am

Wow! I’m amazed reading your review because a preacher here in Nashville was acting like he was so proud his daughter went to one of those midnight showings.

I’m tired of these broads beating up guys movies. It’s so stupid.

Reading your review I feel like I’ve already seen this many times. I haven’t read any of the books, nor care to. What’s with the hype? It sounds just like many other movies with the same plot.

Jeff_W on March 24, 2012 at 12:14 am

    To a certain extent, “the girl saves the world” theme can be a fun diversion. As long as people understand its a diversion.

    The problem is its been done to death. Its not like Hollywood can’t come up with more imaginative scenarios. That said, I’m expecting plenty of sequels to follow this one.

    NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:27 am

      i just watch one part of the movie and try to analyse it.i think it is boring and just awful made movie.the scenes were totally disaster plus the soundtrack.but still, i would like to know how those crapped movies reach the ceiling of Hollywood?i mean ,this is an awful movie but despite that they are making money.lobies are very strong.

      fred on March 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

The original – Buffy The Vampire Slayer has a teen girl endowed with superhuman powers she uses to defeat the creatures of the night. And least there is a good story about good vs. evil and you always know the outcome. The violence is never pointless.

This movie has a mortal teen girl we’re led to believe can outwit men stronger than her and emerge triumphant on the field of war. Its a fantasy but no one would dream of pitting a woman against a man in real life in anything having to do with physical strength. There’s a reason why sports events have always remained gender-segregated. I would have imagined the same would be true in the fictional Panem. You have to suspend belief to know Katniss Everdeen survives it all. I know its a movie but still Hollywood shouldn’t insult people’s common sense.

But as Debbie wrote this modern equivalent of the Roman circus still has its draw just as it did for people in antiquity long before any one ever heard of the silver screen.

NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I saw the trailer for this film. Jennifer Lawrence does not even look like a 16 year old teenager. She looks like a busty twenty-something, which was probably the reason for her selection as the lead character. It would be of more interest to teen boys, and those who think like them. I am sure that Lawrence had to make use of many stunt doubles, since there is not much athleticism there. As Debbie noted, Lawrence’s besting other boys and girls to make it to the top is very unlikely. A fourteen year old boy who was not a complete runt would knock her over without breaking a sweat. That is the reality of male muscle mass, and not a slam against women. Women in a natural setting do things that men cannot do, or at least do well. If people do not wish to recognize sexual differentiation as being real, I guess that we are all worms then.

    Worry01 on March 24, 2012 at 6:14 am

      The fan base for the movie is overwhelmingly female. I can imagine women identifying with the principal character. The violence is thrown in to attract males – and its also why your principal character has to look beautiful. Nothing wrong with it, its human nature. Where it fails is the gender roles aren’t balanced in a way that feels believable.

      NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    One point about this rotten concept (which, as someone pointed out, is a crude rip-off of the already execrable Battle Royale): it is actually much worse than the historical gladiator games. One, although people did die in the arena, they did not actually have to die in every duel; if the losing gladiator had shown sufficient courage, he would be reprieved. Really, one had to be quite noticeably a cowardly to get the thumbs-down; and since a gladiator was a valuable property, every one of whom had cost a fortune in training and feeding, the impresarios would do as much as they could to keep them alive and in fighting condition. Most of the actual blood shed in the arena was that of criminals condemned to death and killed in spectacular ways, or of the venationes, mass slaughters of exotic animals. Second, most gladiators weren’t forced to fight. Some of them were slaves, but many, and as time went on most, were volunteers who deliberately risked their lives for the prestige and fame (and side benefits – the bedrooms of aristocratic beauties were said to be open to the most successful fighters). Third, the whole element of crass oppression invented for this fantasy just wasn’t there. Of course, the authorities supplied gladiator games because it suited them, but it suited them because the public loved them, and it was popular pleasure that drove the whole thing. I am not defending the gladiator games – they still represent a low point in human history – but they were nothing like what our Japanese and American murder porn specialists made them.

    Laura Latini on March 25, 2012 at 3:32 am

hmmmm, I wonder if this is why the new 4 disk Blu-ray special edition of “Battle Royale” (2001) was released on Tuesday? Which I just watched the directors cut disk tonight. Very violent and even has a verbal warning at the beginning that this film is not for teenagers or younger.

The class is put on the island with exploding neck collars and have 3 days to have just one survivor or all the collars explode. They are each given a pack with a “weapon”, some get a gun, knife, grenade, pot lid, etc. Some try to band together and escape others just start killing. They announce who has died and how many are left every 6 hours.

Debbie is right, they just keep remaking movies. The “new” Lockout movie is just Escape From NY, in space. With out Kurt Russell and some scenes stolen from Demolition Man. This is what happens when corporations use focus groups to make their so called “entertainment”. They want to maximize their investment and try to keep it safe to make a buck. Guess that didn’t work with John Carter, $200 million flop.

Ender on March 24, 2012 at 1:43 am

Let me start by saying that I didn’t particularly care for the movie. It was slow and plodding and captured nothing of the excitement of the book. But I think the book is very relevant and deals with real issues. Then I come across this statement in your review: “I understand that the movie follows the first “Hunger Games” book very closely.” You understand? How exactly do you understand? Read the book yourself. Are you the laziest reviewer ever? I now give you that title.

As to the violence, it’s not in the least gratuitous and quite tamed down from the book. And nowhere does it approach the level of pornography. I wouldn’t give this movie a good review, but I give you review of this movie a very poor review indeed.

Slappy Jack on March 24, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Slappy Jack, you seem astonished that Debbie didn’t read “Hunger Games.” This is a book that absolutely shouldn’t be missed, I guess you believe. Actress Kristen Bell said it well: “This is the piece of literature that in a hundred years we’ll look back on and it will be the best thing we’ve ever written.” So we have Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner–and now Collins.

    As you yourself put it: “But I think the book is very relevant and deals with real issues.”

    I wonder which “relevant” issues these are. Let me guess:

    1) Global climate change may well result in a dystopia where children are routinely butchered in games. (This steampunk notion that environmental catastrophe will result in a capitalist-fascist tyranny has been repeated so often, it’s become an unshakable fact for liberals.)

    2) Huge inequalities in wealth and power make it possible for the one percenters to make the honest working poor virtual slaves with no rights.

    3) We need a rebellion of the working poor to create a socially just society.

    Did I get them all?

    Debbie, you’ve got to make sure you read this important book!

    Burke on March 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Basically, you have overfed, gaudily dressed rich people killing poor people for the fun of it. That’s the extent of the social commentary that can be gleaned from the movie. Its the “Occupy” movement’s message translated into visual terms. The 1% are crappy folks who want to kill the 99% so they can have the life no one has else has. Its not a critique of Communism but the exact opposite. Its amazing that for people raking in so much money Hollywood has the audacity to tell us the society that makes its movies possible is the most oppressive one imaginable. That’s something else to consider along with the feminist viewpoint that also pervades the movie. Its bad enough our society is as politicized from a leftist viewpoint as it is but we find we can’t escape it by going to watch a movie.

      NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm

OMG, thank you for this honest review! The media over-hyped this movie tremendously. I read the books, but this movie was absolute rubbish. Way too long. Way too boring. The “killing” scenes were embarrassing. The shaking camera made me nauseous. The acting was mediocre at best. I’m glad Twitter is crapping all over it.

Kelsey on March 24, 2012 at 2:15 am

    The reviewers on IMDB have noted that for a multi-million dollar movie production, it feels cheaply made, the camera work is of amateur quality and it somehow it just doesn’t capture the feel of the book.

    I’ve watched the contemporary Russian adaptation of Dr. Zhivago for Russia’s Telekanal and I was hooked from the first scene. Beautiful photography, period costumes, great script, wonderful camera work and outstanding acting! Now THAT is you adapt a novel to the film and admittedly there are differences between the two genres and you do have to take certain liberties but its possible to capture it faithfully, the essence, the ideas and the characters for the viewers. If you’re going to spend hours of your life watching a movie, make sure its worth investment.

    That isn’t the case with the “Hunger Games.” I don’t think its anywhere near to what a good movie should be.

    NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Literally one of the most boring movies I’ve watched. I really wish I would’ve read this review before watching it, because it is DEAD on.

I ended up seeing this since I was too late to watch Safe House. Fast forward an hour into the movie and literally nothing has happened.

The only thing I don’t agree with is that this movie was ‘kill porn’ or too violent. If anything the violence was toned down to quick pan aways for every kill, and many kills happening off camera completely. Not really any blood (gushing anyway) and very cliche deaths (dieing in someones arms and having their eyes closed). Not even close to violent enough for my tastes, and had they editted out anymore gore they probably could’ve snuck in a PG rating.

The Hunger Games: Long, Boring, Unoriginal, Feminist Snuff Film Marketed to Kids

Definitely deserves to be reread, that cannot be stated enough.

Indrick on March 24, 2012 at 2:42 am

    A good action film should be fast paced and exciting. If you saw the original “Die Hard” movie – its still logs in at two hours but you cheer for principal character, the cop as he moves up and down the building to knock off the bad guys. And you want to find out how it ends. When its paced correctly, an action movie is what people spend ten bucks on to watch things people don’t get to do in real life. They get to live out a fantasy. And the “Hunger Games” was supposed to be that escape for them.

    NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm

All i can do is shake my head about this review and the comments. It’s one thing if you don’t like a movie for whatever reason, that is perfectly fine. But the rhetoric and ignorance that exudes from this blog and the comments is sad.

For one, the main female character actually does not beat up the larger male characters. In fact she gets beat up multiple times. She only wins from from being smart, utilizing survivalist skills, and with help from her love interest.

But besides the fact that this blog seems to not even realize what was actually in the movie, the idea that a woman could not outsmart men or be better suited to surviving in the wilderness is ridiculous. Why couldn’t a woman who is used to trekking in the wilderness and hunting on the sly survive longer than a man? And why is it that a woman is unable to out smart a man? My mother is in the military and has achieved a significant rank through hard work and merit. She has made it over 20 years and has outperformed countless men along the way.

I hardly think it was necessary to slam this movie as ridiculous feminist crap when there is a wealth of strong and weak characters of both genders in the movie. As noted, the mother of the main character is very weak, something that would usually be cited as being anti-feminist in addition to the fact that the president is a man, all or most of the sponsors of the game appeared to be men, most winners seemed to be men, all or most of the soldiers and rebels were men, and Katniss spent most of the time running from the men in the games. The point being that you can subjectively and close-mindedly pick and choose specific details to paint a story as being something it isn’t. And when you jump into a review with such a narrow view, you find yourself incapable of being able to objectively critique anything in a way that actually understands the material being presented. Again, it is up to each person to decided whether or not they like something, but to not even attempt to impartially review something is saddening to see.

Brady on March 24, 2012 at 2:56 am

    I totally agree with you Brady and Robert further down!

    Natasha on March 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I’ve read the books, and watched the movie Thursday night.

First off- agreed, the pacing is horrible. By the time they got to the arena, I was kinda wondering why the movie hadn’t ended yet. The author drafted the screenplay, and while this is a VERY faithful adaptation in terms of what was retained, the cost was losing the brisk pacing of the book. What feels like constant movement in a book draaaags in a movie. And while it is indeed a violent movie, the violence is largely toned down, with the worst of it being implied and none of it gratuitous.

Otherwise-

1. The people of the Capitol- NOT Capitalists. They’re like the house guest that kicks you out of your bed, makes you sleep on the floor, and then expects breakfast in bed. Their decadent lifestyle is supported by the collaborated efforts and products of the districts. District 12- Coal, District 4- Fishing, District 11- Agriculture, etc. etc. etc. Think of the hyper-consuming elite Alphas of “Brave New World” being supported by the party members of “1984”.

2. This is not a feminist “tiny girl flattens the bouncer” movie. This is a “tiny girl climbs trees so she doesn’t die, tiny girl runs like h3ll so she doesn’t die, and tiny girl gets saved MULTIPLE times by a dude because otherwise she would die” movie. That she occasionally saves a dude or two and can forage for food evidently makes her a horror story of feminism. WHY DOESN’T SHE STAY IN THE KITCHEN WHERE ALL WOMAN BELONG!?

3. Admittedly, I’ve never read the almost 60 years old Lord of the Flies, but wasn’t it about a bunch of delightful children who sat around a table having tea and crumpets while speaking the Queen’s English and being ever so kind to each other? It wasn’t? THEY WERE MEAN TO EACH OTHER?

4. Multiple times you’ve mentioned your father and you were clearly devoted to the man and took up many of his values, but I’m struck by your hostile reception of fictional daughters that are devoted to their fathers and follow in some way in Dad’s footsteps. You usually accuse them of being she-men.

First it was Alice in Wonderland, and now it’s Katniss (the movie doesn’t go into this facet of the protagonist, one of few omissions from the book). Before he got blown up, Katniss absolutely adored her plant foraging/illegal hunting papa, who taught her everything she knows about hunting and plant uses, be it food or medicine. It’s how she knows that you should not EAT THOSE BERRIES.

There she goes again, depending on what she learned from a man to not die- she’s practically Gloria Steinem that way.

5. Yes, there are some “girl/woman saves the day” movies. When women are roughly 50% of the population, this seems within the realm of probabilty. But while analyzing a list of movies where there is a clear hero, I would not be surprised if a theoretical bean counter ranked the identity of the heroes this way

1. Man
2. Pet/Animal (101 Dalmatians, Beethoven, Lassie)
and very distantly
3. Woman
4. Alien (Transformers
5. Transexual (all varieties included)

I mean, you flip a coin often enough, it will land on tails eventually.

Robert on March 24, 2012 at 4:04 am

With all due respect, Brady, I think I’ll take Debbie’s opinion over yours, because I’ve made the mistake several times of actually watching a movie she had panned and she was right in every instance. She has a track record, Brady. Nobody knows who you are. Also, your comment is way too wordy.

Dale on March 24, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I have no problem with you agreeing with her dislikes or preferences about movies Dale, to each their own. I was merely critiquing her method of review as it is incredibly narrow-minded while also mentioning some things about the story that are simply incorrect. I’m sorry my response that I took a little bit of time on to correctly convey my feelings was lost on you though. I would think that someone who would read through an entire blog post and comments wouldn’t be concerned about wordiness though.

    Brady on March 24, 2012 at 4:15 am

      From the trailer and desription of the plot, which I saw off of this website, it is a pretty derivative film. Jennifer Lawrence does not even look like a sixteen year old. Why get excited about something as original as a remake of Jaws? If you are actually interested in films like Hunger Games, why not check out the original that this film arose from, which is “The Most Dangerous Game”. That was an orginal film.

      Worry01 on March 24, 2012 at 6:25 am

You folks defending this movie are total, complete idiots. First off, the writer of the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, is a feminist and a Marxist. Second, Schlussel’s review doesn’t even go far enough in talking about the leftism of this movie. Deluded people brainwashed by Hollywood, read this link.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hunger-games-politics-jennifer-lawrence-303601

And Worry01 is correct. Lawrence was cast in this film despite being a “busty” woman in her 20s – though realize that we only perceive her to be such because Hollywood has been making sex symbols of girls and women with the bodies of 12 year old girls for so long – in order to increase the appeal to males. That is part of the scam. Lots of viciously anti-male movies are filled with half-naked (or naked) women in order to get guys to watch so that they can be brainwashed into thinking what loser creeps they are. And the piggishness of the male characters in those movies causes heterosexual males to hate their own sexuality, because it associates it with base, animalistic demeaning behavior, including depicting heterosexual men as borderline rapists while by contrast male homosexuality is depicted as cultured, romantic, intellectual etc.

While technically casting Jennifer Lawrence is a betrayal of feminist ideology, Suzanne Collins – who served as one of the movie’s producers – and company sees it as a worthy tradeoff for helping produce the next generation of male feminists.

Keep in mind: I have no problem with Hollywood depicting legitimately strong, empowered and empowering female characters. (For example, Schlussel and I disagree on the merits of women’s sports.) But feminism does the opposite. To actually empower women, you have to show them competing and cooperating with strong (and by this I mean intelligent, moral, capable) men. It isn’t making men appear to be sissies, idiots, louts, crybabies, metrosexuals and himbos. An actual empowering movie for women would be a biopic on Marie Curie, or on the female physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project, because Curie and those physicists were highly capable, very accomplished women who worked with similar men, not queen bees who rule over slack-jawed girly men like Bella Swam and Katniss

Gerald on March 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

Stephen King was pretty popular, right? Anyone remember the Running Man (made into a Schwarzenegger movie), or his short story the Long Walk? How about the movie Series 7, or even Lord of the Flies?
HG is a ripoff, with an “evil government” to blame as usual.

Steve on March 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Steve, please don’t compare William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” with “Running Man” and “Hunger Games.” “Lord of the Flies” is a profound, original masterpiece. In my opinion, it’s one of the finest novels of the last century, and the two film versions both do it justice. These other two you mentioned are sorry, populist, derivative pieces of trash.

    Burke on March 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Dudes – as much as I agree with the gist of DS’s review…

I’m seeing “Hunger Games” for myself.

But this weekend, I’m watching “Battle Royale” again. (Got it off Torrent a while back. One of the players went on to start in “Kill Bill”. Go figure.)

I wonder if there will be a lawsuit coming out of this?

The Reverend Jacques on March 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

Debbie —

No plans to see Hunger Games. Hollywood has not changed
the basic plot for decades — the villains are always some government (non-Democrat president) agency, rich white guys
etc. ….
Reminds me of when I saw the original Night of the Living
Dead in the theatre. When the young girl stabs her mother with the trowel, the many kids in the audience gleefully counted each of the many strokes. The move was gory, but the reaction of the children in the theatre was utterly chilling!
We are creating monsters, I fear.

Otto Schaden on March 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

Also, did anyone find any signs of anti-semitism in this flick? Judging by some of the villains that I’ve witnessed in the trailers, they all seemed Jewish.

I’ll let you peeps know on Monday.

The Reverend Jacques on March 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

Hollywood leftists all against war and violence of warfare. But most of their movies and video games aimed at the young are the opposite. Typical leftist hypocrisy.

Obama hates oil BUT he pats himself on the back for saving Detroit’s AUTO INDUSTRY whose products run on OIL PRODUCTS.

Obama knocks Limbaugh’s language THEN accepts a million dollar super pac fro Maher who said many things 1000 times worse than Limbaugh’s words. Typical hypocrisy of the left.

Gingrich said yesterday in response to another question by the media that what does he think about these people who are calling Hussein Obama a Muslim. Gingrich said, “why do you think they think that way? Do you think all the American people are stupid?”

Bill Co2 on March 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

    There’s much to be said for its hypocrisy. Then again its an industry that exists to make money. The message may even be secondary to it. And I agree completely if something is over-hyped, its always wiser to lower one’s expectations. Debbie learned a lot from spending nearly a decade as a film critic. At times the finished product is nothing like what you were told it would be.

    NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

The Reverend Jacques:

“Judging by some of the villains that I’ve witnessed in the trailers, they all seemed Jewish.”

The villains aren’t Jewish in the books. (i.e. Coriolanus Snow, the main villain … not a Jewish name). Maybe a lot of the actors that are playing the villains are, but that is merely a reflection of the disproportionate number of Jewish actors in Hollywood (see, I can say things like that without getting fired like Rick Sanchez, despite everyone knowing that it is true).

And do not forget that Lenny Kravitz – son of Russian Jewish immigrant Sy Kravitz – plays the protagonist Cinna, a key supporting role, in this movie.

Gerald on March 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

Imagine a year(2014) when you are wheeled into an emergency room with others in pain. Problem is, there is only enough meds for one. A crutch flies across the room…

HealthScare Games on March 24, 2012 at 11:38 am

I have no problem with a movie with a strong woman as long as the male leads also appear competent and decisive. Debbie’s point is that no matriarchy has ever survived. Does Al Qaeda create a society with women ruling the roost and weak men? There is a difference between a society where the sexes are equal and one in which men are relegated to supporting roles. The feminists may want the lattter kind of society Hollywood is peddling to the next generation but it also won’t be one long for this world. Our enemies are not going to have purely decorative men. The savagery in Toulouse, France during the past has given us a window into what the future will look like and we’re not really ready for it – irrespective of how the “Hunger Games” does at the box office.

NormanF on March 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Occasionally, watching crap is fun. This does not appear to be so here. It is important, in looking at reviews, (HG is getting lots of praise) to see why a movie is being praised and how it is being savaged. HG is probably crap. The novels were dystopian Bubble gum, although Capitol seemd a lot like an exaggerated version of Obama’s Washington, D.C.

Occam's Tool on March 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

” And why is it that a woman is unable to out smart a man?”

Because for the most part, men think better and quicker than girls in these types of situations.

Here’s a thought experiment: Think of the most popular online first-person-shooter game. Do you have any doubt that of the 10 best players, 9 or 10 are male?

Of course, your response probably would be that girls aren’t interested in that stuff and I would agree with you. That’s part of the reason why men are better — men practice thinking tactically just for fun. They play cops and robbers. Or online fighting games. Or they go to the gun range. etc. etc.

sabril on March 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

People are getting stuck on the issue of women’s abilities vs men, which, however you feel about women’s survival skills, is really irrelevant to why these books and films are evil. We shouldnt expose our children to this garbage because its torture porn, plain and simple, designed at best to make money while exploiting our emotions and fears in the name of entertaining us, and at worst as propaganda to condition our children for a life of poverty and degradation in the future America. I know some people see these stories as inspirational struggles against oppression, but what they are really are about is getting young people to expect a future where the best they can hope for is that others die instead of them.

nick on March 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

First off the writer of The Hunger Games was the daughter of a conservative Air Force commander.
Secondly, her awesome books like the Hunger Games, give a VERY conservative message:Anti-Big government. The book is basically exposing the flaws of a Utopia, socialized state, and a government controlled state.
It promotes limited government and liberty, which is the essence of the Libertarian or Republican Party.
You just looked for the negative in this movie which follows the book very well.

justin on March 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I usually agree with the majority of your reviews, but cannot disagree with you more on this one. Based on your characterizations, I would say with confidence you haven’t read the books, and even question whether you saw the movie.

I particularly liked the books although initially I was irritated with the passivity of the inhabitants of the districts, but I interpreted this dystopian set of novels as being perfectly relevant and probable to what would happen to citizens in the United States that had been in rebellion against the Federal Government and LOST and what the victors would inflict on their “traitorous rebels”. Imagine what would have happened to the American Revolutionists had King George and his mercenaries prevailed.

You state that you didn’t like it because it’s a “little chick beating up much larger males and that it’s unrealistic”. In fact, there were only two situations where Katniss was actually engaged in physical combat (hand to hand) against others, and one was a similarly sized female with a propensity for knives and the other was the ending when she grappled a bit with the final male antagonist/killer along with her male counterpart from her district.

She in fact was almost killed by the female knife wielder but was saved by a large black male from the same district as Rue, whom she befriended and mourned publicly after she was killed. At the end, she did not in fact beat up anyone, but again was only saved by her bow handling skills. The only other person she dispatched with physical violence was the person that killed Rue and that was clearly an act of “defense of another”. So you totally mis-characterize the story with your comment “that women can kick butt and beat men much bigger than them”. It didn’t happen in the book or movie.

As far as this being a capitalist bashing movie as I said above, I totally take it a different way. The people in the CAPITAL are the ELITIST/SOCIALIST RULER/VICTORS who happened to come out on top with their Federal Military against the Uprising of the districts. Sort of what would happen if the leftists could ACTUALLY take control of this country the way they want to.

And as others have pointed out, the violence in this screen adaptation is WAY MUTED compared to what was in the book, and was in no way over the top or “violence Porn” as you characterize. And you misrepresented the scene you described “unless you think a close-up scene of one boy smashing another boy to death, with repeated bloody hits of a rock to his head,” as that scene did not in fact show anything of the sort. It was shown in cuts and off screen, but not in graphic detail (there was no actual physical bashing shown).

I’m looking forward to the other two movie adaptations as with all Books I read, I enjoy when good triumphs over evil in the end.

Regards,
James

James on March 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Right back at Gerald.

With all due respect – the way I operate and analyze is this.

Back in the Relatively Dark Ages (before 1945), many people saw the Jews as the force behind big industry and big media. And not always in the best of light.

If you’ve seen all the blatantly “anti-corporate” movies, you’d sense that there would be a faint current of ant-semitism running alongside the plotline. Sure, the antagonists may have perfectly Aryan/WASPy names, but in the case of HG, you have a sick sense that these kids are being sacrificed to the gratification of the few. (Think – blood libel.) You can sense that every time you see an “Occupy…” something going on.

I’m quite sure that “Hunger” and “Battle Royale” portray these societies as fascistic entities and use blood-sport as a way to separate the strong from the weak, the loyal from the treasonous, etc. Whether there can be any similarities and any morals to be had, I’ll soon find out.

Excuse me for my preconceptions – I’ve never read the books. These days, there are too few writers around who merit my reading. And as I’ve mentioned before, you can always judge the state of a civilization by its fine arts.

Maybe civil society, as we know it, is really falling apart.

Sorry for the ramble… rough day at work (being a tech-chatter is a very thankless job). :P

The Reverend Jacques on March 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I see that many on the right are taking this movie as an anti-big-government movie. See Big Hollywood for example. But I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as a Leftist caricature of capitalism. The Left dominates Hollywood. A non-Leftist could not succeed in making explicitly anti-Leftist movies; at least as a rule (there may be an occasional exception). We live in an egalitarian Leftist culture and our overlords are Leftists and their GOP enablers. There will not be any art for non-leftists in our lifetimes. That is the sad reality of our existence.

Jack on March 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I will admit that I do not like these kind of teen or young adult even when I was a young adult. This book I put in the same category as those Twilight books that came out. Therefore this is all I will mention about that I will not read the books or see the movie because it does not pique my interest especially if Hollywood is hyping it up.

The part I definitely agree with Debbie is that over the years, I have seen the male turn into an either as effeminate, weakling, or a slacker buffoon in Hollywood movies or movies from independent film makers. If a movie is made with a strong male lead, then it is derided by film critics as not being with the times or backward in social timescale or even as fantasy by conservatives. I for once have stop watching a lot of movies compared when I was a youngster who was a movie buff. I prefer to watch older movies from 1970 and under because even though you can see the creeping feminism, there were still strong male leads.

If there are any strong male leads. they are usually pushing leftist or politically correct agenda. I believe the Hollywood of today will not allow a John Wayne or Jimmy Stuart to be leading man in today’s Hollywood.

Mario on March 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

No movie reviewer or watcher should have to “read the book” before seeing and critiquing the movie. It is a movie review, not a book review. If a movie needs the help of having read the book to understand what is happening then the movie has failed. After all the book never mentions that Humpty Dumpty is an egg.

ender on March 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Sadly, I can see this reviewer did not understand the movie in the least. Shame.

Faith on March 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I disagree with Miss Schlussel here, but I think it’s a case of coming away from the story with different perceptions.

I saw the dystopian world of THG as more of an indictment of Big Daddy Government–this sort of world of “equality,” where everyone suffers equally except the “right kind” of people. In other words, Marxism, and sadly what so many so-called liberals want for us. (I’m sure the Hunger Games are eco-friendly!) From what I understand about the books (I haven’t read them), the main character’s refusal to play the game exactly by the rules is what sets off the revolution. Certainly we’ve seen that in real history–Lech Walensa, Vaclav Havel, etc.

As far as a small girl unable to beat up fully-grown men–it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Adrenaline can do a lot. Hollywood is in love with it for some reason. I don’t have a problem with it in a sci-fi/fantasy film, or even in certain real-life situations. (Ask the German victims of Lilya Litvyak.) It’s become a bit of a cliche, though. Full disclosure: I’m writing a novel where the main character is a small woman who regularly beats up bigger men. But she’s also a frigging *vampire* and real-world physics don’t apply. I will say that the main character of THG uses her brains more than her brawn, however, and the only time she’s in a hand-to-hand fight is with another woman–and she nearly loses that one.

My problem with THG (the movie, anyway) is, as Miss Schlussel said, it’s not terribly original. In fact, it bears a strong resemblance to The Running Man and indeed Battle Royale. I got in on a discount, but I wouldn’t have paid full price to see THG–it’s a Netflix rental. The plot was predictable and the “twists” weren’t. If Hollywood was trying to work in a feminist message here, it didn’t really work.

Sentinel on March 25, 2012 at 3:29 am

so, in conclusion:

it is for women + it is for teen = it is focused for the same audience than Twilight.

Is fine if you are into the target audience and is “you should keep it” if you are not.

magallanes on March 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Brilliant review thank you so much. The only reason this movie is getting the attention it has gotten is solely because of the heroine Katnis and the underlying feminist agenda no other reason. Its story line has been done so many times before and this time it sounds even worse than all the previous attempts. My problem is that it is so very difficult to find any kind of honest review of the movie (which I will not go to see) I only found your review because I deliberately attempted to find negative reviews, its sad most people wont get to read this superb review. I am instantly a huge fan of yours.

Jason on March 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Jason, if you come back to this blog, you’ll see that Debbie writes brilliant reviews as you say every week. I’ve been coming here regularly for years and I’m still surprised each week when I read her posts and find them so full of good sense and sharp observation. You’d think there’d be someone else out there on the net who could nail movies like she does. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

    Burke on March 26, 2012 at 6:18 am

I think probably Jack has it about right. There is NO WAY the Hollywood machine is going to hype a big budget blockbuster that has obvious conservative anti-big government themes. If any conservative elements exist in this movie (and apparently they do)I’m sure it’s accidental, which is a phenomenon that I quite often see in Hollywood tripe. These Hollywood types are so incredibly ignorant when it comes to actual philosophies of governance that when they rely on time-honored plot devices of timeless story telling, like good vs evil, the plight of the individual, fighting the oppressor and so on, that they are espousing what have come to be known as conservative values. I prefer to call them classically liberal values. In the walnut sized brains of the Hollywoodists a conservative is somebody who bombs an abortion clinic on the way home from a KKK rally.

So no, I think the producers had in mind some crude allegory of the 1% vs 99% Marxist dynamic. There is no chance that they would willfully foist a conservative movie on us during an election year when their Socialist hero is fighting for his political life.

Dale on March 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm

@ Rev. Jaques – “Judging by some of the villains that I’ve witnessed in the trailers, they all seemed Jewish.”

How does one “seem Jewish” to you? Were the people in the trailer you saw wearing yarmulkes and payots?

DS_ROCKS! on March 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Well Debbie I happen to be among the younger crowd that don’t buy into this garbage that is supposed to appeal to my generation. The books don’t interest me, and nether does this movie.

Just another overhyped product that hollywood and the mainstream wants to force down everyone’s throat, telling you it’s the biggest thing ever and you’re irrelevant if you don’t know about this or don’t like it.

I know I’m gonna get bombarded from some people to see this crap, and I’m gonna keep telling them no.

Squirrel3D on March 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

As Debbie wrote it IS a box office draw:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17507922

It lived up to the hype. Wanna bet sequels are coming?

Yup, they will soon enough!

NormanF on March 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm

No thanks! If there is one thing I have ALWAYS rebelled against it’s American hype. I used to hate it in my teens and 20’s. Now it makes my head explode.

I see people on Mass transit reading the book. I also see them reading it at cafes, restaurants and at the gym.

A certain type of person HAS to buy Whitney Houston’s music when she dies (even though her music was always available but people were not interested anymore) and her CDS are all over the top 20 now.

When poor Davy Jones passed away on leap year day it made the Monkees’ catalog go up 1000 points.

When everyone is going THAT WAY you will always find me going the opposite way…and pretty disgusted by the lemmings I am trying to distance myself from.

Skunky on March 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Right back @ DS_ROCKS! \m/ (My addition.)

Tomorrow, I might prove myself wrong. I’m gonna see the flick and post a review on my blog, comparing it to another teen vs teen flick, “Battle Royale”, the has been mentioned before.

But now, I need my rest. If you had my job, you’d be sick of debating too.

\m/ This blog still kills Fascists! \m/

The Reverend Jacques on March 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Are you daft? This film was anti big government.. not anti capitalism. Whether you see it as fascist or otherwise.. big government was the issue. And climate change happens with or without capitalism. This film had a strong libertarian streak going through it. 1984 for the new generation.

thats why republicans are idiots on March 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

lol @ you idiots fighting over the book/movie.

read:

“The Lionsgate movie based on the best-selling young-adult novel raked in an estimated $155 million in its opening weekend, according to the studio, giving it the third-best debut in North American box office history.

Only “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ and “The Dark Knight” — both sequels, with the strength of a franchise behind each — recorded bigger opening weekends.”

your arguments are very much invalid. ciao. ~

A: Fools Rush In. The idiots who I predicted would rush to see it and the real idiot who rushed in to make the comment above (you). Guess what? Millions support the Kardashians, too. They are also idiots. DS

amanda. on March 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Agree with what Debbie and Skunky have said. It doesn’t make their arguments invalid – just the opposite. Popularity or fame has nothing to do with the actual merits of whatever happens to be in the vogue at the moment. We should learn from history, people supported all kinds of fads at the moment that were later mercifully forgotten. Human nature is not as discerning and discriminating as you make it out to be.

    NormanF on March 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I find it funny there’s a “donate to support my work” link on this site / blog. You should donate $5 to your readers for giving you the time of day for this garbage. I can’t believe I read this whole entire “review” . Get laid lady lol, it’s not that serious.

Lolz on March 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Debbie has been a film critic for years and she knows far better than you what makes a movie good.

    I believe her judgments will stand the rest of time long after your ludicrous one note dismissal of her review is long forgotten.

    And with your screen name, it says there are lots of idiots like you in this country – who gave us Obama and will likely inflict him on us a second time in November.

    NormanF on March 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Lolz,

Is that all you’ve got? “Get laid lady lol.” You sound like one of those emasculated, pantywaisted girly men that Debbie constantly makes fun of. Typical lib-dunce that you are you can’t even formulate a good argument as to why you disagree with Debbie’s movie review. Instead you attack the messenger. Tell you what assclown go back to the dailykossacks or the huff and puffington post and tell them what a big man you were telling someone else to get laid.

Ken b on March 26, 2012 at 11:54 am

What about Animal Farm?

That was about kids killing kids, too.

I will not go to se the Hunger Games.

Panhandle on March 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Dale’s comment above is spot on. I also agree that the best elements in movies are really Classical Liberal values. True, original Conservatism was a collectivist movement that sought to “conserve” the Christian, feudal era. It sought to conserve “la ancien regime”; ie the ancient aristocratic regime. America really isn’t a Conservative phenomenon. It is a Classical Liberal phenomenon. But next to noone knows that today.

Today’s “liberalism” and “conservatism” are very different from what they originally were. Today’s “liberals” are Marxists/Rawlsian egalitarians. Today’s “conservatives” are a mushy mix of watered down old conservatism and heavily diluted Classical Liberalism. Really it is the libertarians who are closer to the old liberal model but libertarianism has been undercut by bad philosophy (subjectivism) and anarchism (ie Rothbard).

I hate today’s Left to the depth of my soul. But I am not a conservative. I call myself a Classical Liberal which today is an archaic term. I really wish it would make a comeback. Most of the best Conservative commentators are really more Classical Liberal than old-school Conservative. The PaleoConservative movement is closes to old-school Conservatism and they are a bunch of racist (in the true sense) anti-Semites.

Today’s movies are ALL influenced by Leftist, ie egalitarian, ideology. Hollywood WILL NOT make a non-Leftist movie (barring really heroic exceptions like ‘Lives of Others’). They will shove gender feminism and multiculturalism and anti-capitalism down our throat until they lose power.

Bottom line: modern “liberalism”, ie Leftism, is a sick diseased ideology that has as its ultimate aim the complete criminalization of non-Leftist thought. The Left wants TOTAL DOMINATION of the culture. They want tyranny and they will make common cause with Islam to get it. We are in a cultural war and we are LOSING. My fear is that NOTHING will stop the Left, which is ascendancy now, until it burns itself out. It might burn the culture down with it.

Sad times.

Jack on March 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Only someone stunningly ignorant of how films are conceived and made can make such a statement. I resent the way the doctrinaire Right as well as Left manage to project political motive onto every movie they see (or as the case may be, don’t see). Storytelling doesn’t necessarily reduce to political mass education and mobilization. And Hollywood, like it or not, is very good at storytelling.

    I saw “Being Flynn” over the weekend — a marvelous small film with Robert DeNiro. If it was “Leftist propaganda,” I must have missed that. When the theaters have fewer teens with cell phones, I’ll get around to seeing “The Hunger Games,” which may well be even better than other post-apocalyptic dystopian films like “Blade Runner,” “Demolition Man” and “I Am Legend.”

    Seek on March 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Only someone stunningly ignorant of how films are conceived and made can make such a statement.

Only someone who is stunningly ignorant of the reality of our Leftist dominated society can make a foolish statement like yours.

I resent the way the doctrinaire Right as well as Left manage to project political motive onto every movie they see (or as the case may be, don’t see).

I resent your blue-pill stupidity and the fact that you can’t see the nature of the world in which you live; ie the reality that egalitarian ideology dominates our culture and that Hollywood is the propaganda arm for the Left and thus egalitarian Leftist ideology.

And Hollywood, like it or not, is very good at storytelling.

What planet are you on? Hollywood can’t tell a story to save its life (there are some notable exceptions). Leftist ideology has KILLED Hollywood storytelling. Skepiticsm, subjectivism, moral relativism, egalitarianism, Comtean altruism, pacifism, multiculturalism, feminism, pacifism, these are the fundamental beliefs held dear by the Left. They manifest themselves in the demonization of white, heterosexual (often Christian) males and of the demonization of capitalism.

Hollywood will not allow any significant challenge to the above listed doctrines. If they did and there was a counter-Left artistic movement coming from a Hollywood right then the entire Left would be in danger. The Left must continue to bombard the nation (and the entire West) with Leftist ideology or they risk a counter revolt. We are being subjected to propaganda in the same spirit of Pravda and Goebbels. Hollywood and the mainstream media are serving the same function today.

And that you don’t know that shows how “stunningly ignorant” you are.

Jack on March 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for mentioning me in your review,Ms. Schlussel. I appreciate it. Also,don’t forget that recently,”Battle Royale” was just released a couple of months ago in Los Angeles. Hollywood tried to remake this movie but the Virginia Tech shootings destroyed that idea,thankfully. I would go to see either movie anyway.

Ghostwriter on March 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I made a mistake. I meant to say,I wouldn’t go to see either movie anyway.

Ghostwriter on March 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

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