Watched Mar 22, 2012
Ben Hart’s review:
I chanced upon a preview screening of this tonight and really enjoyed it (despite the first 10 minutes being shown in the wrong ratio by the dunderheads at Staples Corner). It's one of the most successful big Hollywood films I've seen for a long time (probably Fast Five was the last of a similar calibre) and it's refreshing to see something that's not painfully stupid or dumbed down, although the satire isn't the sharpest it's very much a film of our times. The teenage fiction banner worried me a little (and the trailer didn't really inspire) but it's as far removed from Twilight as you could hope and although it's not really featured in the trailer, the fight to the death Battle Royale makes up almost half the movie.
Jennifer Lawrence is as excellent as ever and really carries the film whilst Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci are both good fun, adding some much needed light relief to what's a largely downbeat film (as you'd expect really considering the premise). Although the Games themselves are tense and where the film is at it's best, the action is virtually unwatchable due to the shakeycam/quick editing - presumably to hide as much of the gore as possible - it's one of the worst offenders I've seen and it's nigh-on impossible to make out what's going on in certain scenes.
I didn't really find the "Science Fiction" aspects too interesting; it's not a particularly imaginative vision and the high camp Couture of the Capital makes an obvious contrast to the working class districts, it gets a bit much at times. Some of the effects are a little ropey as well. It's far better during the more atavistic Games.
Anyway, despite the flaws I'm keen to see more. It's exciting, tense and just generally a very well made film. Glad to hear from the early reports that it hasn't done a John Carter box-office wise.
Edit: Reading this back it's very negative which is a bit of a misnomer - go see it!