Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capital of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she’s pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
2012 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and threat
9.0 out of 10
It’s back to the humourless dentist oral surgeon for me this Wednesday. Not sure what he’s going to say or do. Perhaps there’ll be a full moon that night and he’ll be resting, or taking the day-off for a lie-in in his coffin. Actually my wisdom tooth isn’t really hurting anymore, nowhere near enough for me to need pain-killers or anything. However, I can’t open my mouth much now without my jaw aching, a lot. In fact I can’t really open it at all. Whilst this might seem to some around me to be a positive step, it’s really pissing me off. My ability to eat has reverted to how I imagine I was when I was nine months old, all sloppy food which I then fail to push into my mouth properly, resulting in it ending up everywhere except my stomach. I may not show it, but inside this is how I feel. I did initially think this was a film about dentists, but apparently not.
A movie about a dystopian future? That’s always a good start. Female hero? That’s good as well and makes a change too. Woody Harrelson’s in it, playing a character who looks very much how you might expect Kurt Cobain to look now, if he’d sadly not killed himself; somewhat ironically, this version is very much a survivor. This is an awesome film, even though it’s only a few steps beyond a cross between “Big Brother” and any number of romantic dramas. In fact the only reason I didn’t think it was even better was that I could sort of tell where some parts of the story that I’m sure must be in the books, weren’t really used in the film. Not having read any of the latter, that’s not good. But I’m glad someone’s writing popular ‘teen fiction’ that uses this sort of challenging setting for its stories; it’s just a pity it’s a bit buried in this film. I have to admit I couldn’t really see what Katniss saw in Peeta. Sure he’s good looking and there’s all that stuff about being thrown together in a crisis, but really, he was a bit boring. I can well imagine she’d soon get fed up with him. I thought the make-up crew did a good job on Jennifer Lawrence, making her appear very different from setting to setting. Then again, there’re so many credited at the end that each of her eyebrows must have had a whole team working on it, etc. I watched the “Unseen Version” (which kind of isn’t true now). I certainly enjoyed the extra 3.2 seconds and reinstated blood that had been digitally removed and denied to the sissies that went to see the Certificate 12 version shown in cinemas. I’m so hardcore. Anyway, despite it being targeted at a ‘younger audience’, I really enjoyed it and got an emotional buzz from watching it too. Critically, I actually cared what happened to the main characters. And let’s not forget that Katniss Everdeen gets her family name from Thomas Hardy’s Bathsheba Everdene, which alone is enough of a reason to recommend this film.
The orchestral score is great but I didn’t much care for the rest. I guess it was an attempt to give a primitive, combative edge to things, but most of it sounded just like some boring drumming to me.
I really like this trailer. It makes me want to see the film.
Recommended for sibling sisters, bakers and archers.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A great bit of cat hissing gets the action underway shortly after the start. Sadly this isn’t utilised further and we just get a couple of hours of reality TV nonsense instead.
Top badass moment? At a key moment, Katness gives two fingers to the watching millions; (actually three but anyway). A defiant gesture that starts her journey from ‘average teen’ to rebel hero. There’s no way on Earth that’s not badass. Sticking it to ‘The Man’ always is.
Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson, “2012”) doesn’t need super powers or fancy toys to fight crime. Armed only with a childlike sense of wonder and his quirky arsenal of cheap, home-made gadgets, he becomes “Defendor”! He finds an unexpected partner when he rescues and falls for a local prostitute (Kat Dennings, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”). Can the two of them take down the city’s most fearsome crime boss without getting killed in the process?
2009 – Certificate 15 – Canadian Film
Strong language, sex references and drug use
8.5 out of 10
I’ve got to go back to work tomorrow. At the moment it feels I’d have more chance of launching a 20 tonne satellite into space with an elastic band, than being able to work productively when I get into the office. But I’m sure once I arrive, inspired by the latest tales about the England Cricket Team’s fighting spirit, I’ll soon be protecting the Earth once again from all manner of ‘bad guys and stuff’. (That really is my job.) I can sometimes feel a little ill-equipped for my mission though. I guess in many respects that makes me a lot more like Defendor than Superman; just a few toys, homemade gadgets and no superpowers. I have a quote on the wall in my office that says, “Do you ever find yourself striving for perfection with a virtually worthless attempt at it?” I like to think it’s inspirational. Indeed the whole song it’s taken from (“Lemon Water” by Guttermouth) is inspirational and can be applied to very many situations in life.
Billed as a comedy, this movie has quite a dark heart, whilst it highlights the value of friendship and sticking to what you believe in. I was a bit worried that having a lead character with a mental illness might make it a bit uncomfortable to watch, but actually it more or less gets away with it; it quickly ceases to be anything more than a facet of Arthur’s make up and is rarely mentioned explicitly, other than on a couple of occasions where it fits appropriately into the scenes. This is one of those films that after the first 15 minutes or so I thought I was watching a bit of an Edsel; but then it started to get good. The final scene is pretty powerful and for a superhero film about a guy with no superpowers who takes on a ‘crime boss’, quite realistic. This isn’t exactly a kid’s film, as it’s full of drug references and swearing, as well as quite a bit of violence too. It’s not as good as the amazingly brilliant “Super”, but it’s most definitely worth watching. If it has a weakness then it’s probably that it takes time for Arthur’s/Defendor’s character to settle down into someone understandable, but once it does you’ll be right behind him. In many ways he’s as much a tortured soul as Batman, only he doesn’t realise it. I love films like this. I can relate to them.
I really like this movie’s soundtrack. There’s not a lot to it really and it could so easily have ended up as a parody of what superhero films should sound like, but in fact it’s really good. It makes a big difference when it matters. I even went out and bought the track that plays over the first half of the end credits too.
This trailer is a decent enough, although it probably plays down the darker elements of the film and instead highlights the comedy.
Recommended for superheroes (obviously), prostitutes, corrupt police, drug barons and ‘nice guys’.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Nearly all superheroes are badass and Defendor’s no exception. Going after the city’s crime boss armed with only a few marbles and wasps is pretty ballsy; it’s also one of the most stupid things you can probably do too. Monumental stupidity is always badass.