After our expedition to the shot clinic on Saturday, it was really too late in the day to accomplish anything useful, so Mrs. Poolman and I watched two movies. One, at the theater, was really good. The other, a DVD rental, may make the list of the worst movies of 2012 (or maybe it was released in 2011.)
Mrs. P has been wanting to see “The Hunger Games” since it was released several weeks ago. She had read the three-part trilogy by Suzanne Collins and encouraged me to do the same. Although “young adult fiction” is not my normal reading material, I enjoyed all three books (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay) The trilogy is considered “young adult fiction,” which simply means the characters are teenagers and there is no sex involved. There were plenty of scenes in the books where, had the books been aimed at an adult readership, there would have been some hot and heavy action. In The Hunger Game Trilogy, the teens just snuggle together and go to sleep.
I will admit that, by the third book, the main character, Catniss’s, teen-aged self-involvement and indecision were starting to become annoying, but even with that, the books are good and I recommend them strongly.
And that brings us to the movie, which we saw Saturday afternoon. The movie follows the book almost exactly. Obviously, there is some condensation of material, but the characters and the plot development follows the book very well. Nearly everything in the movie matched the visual image I had when reading the book. The teen characters were very good. The adults, especially Woodie Harrelson as Catniss’s drunken mentor and Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow, were terrific.
“The Hunger Games” is one of the few movies that is as good in its form as the book is in its. It’s worth the price of admission and popcorn.
We watched “The Hunger Games” at a late afternoon showing. When we got home, we rented “The Three Musketeers.” We went from one extreme to the other. This movie was as bad as “The Hunger Games” was good. The main reason we rented it was because we liked the earlier treatments of the story – even the 1993 version with Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry and Rebecca De Mornay, but especially the 1971 version with Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston and Raquel Welch.
This latest incarnation is more of an absurd fantasy. It makes no effort at all to follow the book or to produce a film that even vaguely reflects early 17th century France. One of the musketeers is introduced writing “tickets” for horses that dump on the street. The big break with reality came with the introduction of some kind of airship that was essentially a naval warship of the period lifted aloft by a blimp-like balloon. There two of them and at one point they had a big aerial combat scene with the two airships trading broadsides with each other.
The bottom line is the filmmakers took a pretty good story and turned it into a farce.
Not only is The Three Musketeers is not worth the $2 rental fee; it’s not worth the two hours of your life to watch it. Ugh.