Last Saturday, Leah and I had lunch and saw a double feature at the movies for our anniversary. Below are my quick thoughts on LOCKOUT and THE HUNGER GAMES.

WARNING: Minor spoilers follow…

LOCKOUT
The trailers for this movie looked really awesome as I love nothing more than a super sarcastic anti-hero in a fun action movie. The previews reminded me of all of the great 80s movies I loved and watched as a kid.

First off, this movie has a LOT wrong with it.
  • The editing is super choppy which makes for uneven scene transitions.
  • There are plotholes all over the place.
  • The special effects aren’t exactly top notch.
  • There aren’t going to be any Academy Award nominees for the actors here.
  • Flat out wrong information.
  • Cheesy lines.
  • Clich├ęd characters.
  • The few twists/surprises they attempt suffer due to a poor setup.
Yet, I would still recommend the film to those who like movies such as COBRA or ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. LOCKOUT, like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, is worthwhile because of the lead actor. Guy Pearce definitely carries this movie and reminds me of Kurt Russell or even a younger Bruce Willis. I really hope he gets into some better budgeted/casted/directed action movies where I think he would really shine.

Leah didn’t like the movie, but it brought back a lot of memories of watching COMMANDO AND BLOODSPORT over and over as a kid on WGN.

Here are the first 5 minutes of the film if anyone’s interested.



THE HUNGER GAMES
I read the trilogy about a month ago in anticipation for the film. First off, the books are great and although there is a romantic element (not a bad thing), it’s not the focus of the series at all (a good thing for me). One thing I really liked about the series, especially the first book, was that the protagonist was a strong female who had to deal with very adult issues.

The film is well done, but overall I feel the book was much better.

Pros:
  • Casting for the most part was great, especially Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss
  • The tone/feeling of the film was perfect.
  • The look of the districts and the capital really came across well.
  • The emotional impact was top notch, especially during the Reaping. Tough scene to watch.
  • The inclusion of scenes with Seneca really added more depth to the games and better set up the second book in the series…..as did another scene or two that was only talked in subsequent books.

Cons:
  • Although the movie is over 2 hours long, I felt that another 15-20 minutes would have done it some good. Really, most of my complaints relate to cuts from the source material.
  • Some of the early scenes in the capital really failed to capture the motivations of Katniss/Haymitch/Peeta’s strategy in my opinion. If I hadn’t read the book before seeing the movie, it would have been hard for me to understand who’s idea it was to do what and why exactly they were doing it in order to survive.
  • The games themselves seemed a bit rushed.
  • Food is such a HUGE part of the books that I would have liked to have seen a few comments about why it was important to the characters rather than showing it once or twice in the beginning.
  • Cinna’s assistants are really downplayed in the movie (minor quip)
  • The casting of Peeta grew on me, but overall I felt that the guy seemed a bit small for how he was described in the book. The guy who played Cato looked more like how I imagined Peeta (at least in size).
  • Didn’t care for the handling of Peeta’s injury...though I did like the way his role in the games was portrayed at the end.
  • Found it odd they never once used or mentioned Effie’s name. She was just there.

Hopefully, we can get to the Avengers in the next couple of weeks…

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