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Movie Musings: 'Hunger Games'

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Jan 28, 2011 | 9:03am EST

Movie Musings

1. The Hunger GamesThe Most Likely Hunger Games Flaws

When you come across a series written as powerfully as The Hunger Games you can pretty much guarantee they are going to flub it. It doesn't always go down like that, you do catch Harry Potter style "lightning in a bottle" luck every so often, but the solid majority of great literature is far more likely to be destroyed by proxy once a studio gets ahold of it. As such, here are the likely places they'll misfire on the Hunger Games adaptation, with the caveat being I really hope I'm wrong, because I love the series:

It won't be dark enough.

They are going to need the teen crowd to come out in droves, but that means making the film PG-13. Unfortunately, the series is absolutely vicious at times. It was meant for a young adult audience, but writer Suzanne Collins has put some very adult themes front and center in her trilogy. If the film attempts to lighten the mood it will destroy the value of the work.

The Wrong Katniss.

Take a look at this photo of potential heroines for the critical Katniss role. I feel like Chloe Moretz is the best route to go, though Georgie Henley (of Narnia fame) is an interesting take. I loved Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit, but I don't see her as this generation's Sarah Connor, which is precisely what Katniss embodies. Abigail Breslin is a dynamic young actress, but so far she's played happy far better than she's tackled sad and murderous. No matter what, if they go the wrong way, this project is dead upon arrival.

Marketers selling a different product

I'd love to be in the room when the marketing department is tasked with selling a film about children trying to kill each other for ritual sport. "It's Zombieland meets About a Boy!" I think we can count on the first trailer looking much like the current 127 Hours trailers, completely defanged.

Have they already whiffed on the director?

Months ago I mentioned the project needed a strong director. They went with Gary Ross, whose credits include Seabiscuit and Pleasantville. I think Ross will be visually dynamic, which is great, as there is certainly a sci-fi element to the story. But I worry about his range. There's a chance they would have been better off with a horror director, one who could dial it back a few degrees. This is a story light on dialogue and heavy on emotions. Here's hoping Ross works it out, despite the odds and the rabid fan base he's facing off against.

2. The Source CodeRecreating the Day the Makers of The Source Code Saw Inception

Studio Executive #1: Wow.

Studio Executive #2: I know.

Studio Executive #1: I mean, just wow.

Studio Executive #2: Yeah, I heard you the first time.

Studio Executive #1: What should we do?

Studio Executive #2: I say we just make the poster look exactly the same. Same colors, same twisting confusion, same everything.

Studio Executive #1: But people are going to know it's not Inception! We've got Jake Gyllenhaal front and center!

Studio Executive #2: Ugh. What a catastrophe. Just make him really small, and put tons of photos whirling around him.

Studio Executive #1: Okay, but what do we do about the synopsis?

Studio Executive #2: You mean how our movie is about entering someone's body while Inception is about entering people's dreams?

Studio Executive #1: Yeah, what do we do about that?

Studio Executive #2: Let's just release it in April and call it a day.

Studio Executive #1: But, but, isn't April is a complete dumping ground? I mean, that's where we put The Scorpion King!

Studio Executive #2: Mmmmhmmm.

Studio Executive #1: Ahhh, I see. (pause) Do you think we'll get a bad performance appraisal for this?

Studio Executive #2: For what?

Studio Executive #1: For not knowing Christopher Nolan was making a modern classic and greenlighting a film that looks to be about 35 percent as good, tops?

Studio Executive #2: Nah. If we start actively ignoring it starting right now I think we're golden.

Studio Executive #1: Solid! I guess you could say our source code has been changed!

Studio Executive #2: Er, I think we've actually been Incepted.

Both double over in laughter and then head out to get lunch at the strip club.

********End Scene********

3. Felicity Jones in The TempestFelicity Jones Wins Sundance

Like most of the world, you probably missed her in The Tempest. Thankfully, the chances of you missing her in Like Crazy are much slimmer given Paramount's $4m buy at Sundance this year. Felicity's performance is nothing short of miraculous, completely out of nowhere, powerful yet smooth. She plays a character named Anna, and at the start she is definitely rocking the whole "manic pixie dream girl" vibe that Cameron Crowe (one of my favorites) adores. But the character evolves and shows real depth, and Jones is up to the performance. She also allows co-star Anton Yelchin to shine, so much so that I forgot he was Chekov in Star Trek while I was watching him.

I could see her slipping into a Natalie Portman level of career. She's 27, so she'll be able to pull off almost any role (short of Grandmother) for the next five to seven years. My fervent hope is that she continues to handle the "heavy lifting" dramatic work, aiming for Oscars, because I'm certain she'll be offered every romantic comedy script out there. And she’s much better than that, regardless of the paychecks involved.

On that note, I'm off to pen a romantic comedy script whilst requesting a Felicity Jones 1:1 interview.

Check out last week's Movie Musings here.

Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.
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