At The Theater 2012 #5: The Hunger Games Apr19


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At The Theater 2012 #5: The Hunger Games

Without a doubt, the best part of The Hunger Games is Stanley Tucci’s performance at Caesar Flickerman, the Ryan Seacrest/ESPN Announcer mash-up who handles interviews and play-by-play kill-by-kill updates of the tributes. Regular readers of Tuesday Night Movies should not be surprised by this. I think almost every movie would be better if Stanley Tucci were in it.

Best. Thing. About. This. Movie.

When I first heard that Stanley Tucci was being cast in The Hunger Games, I thought he was an obvious choice. When I then heard that he was cast not as Katniss Everdeen’s personal Tim Gunn, the designer Cinna, but would be playing Caesar Flickerman, I thought it was a bone headed move. Stanley Tucci is the best at playing the fairy godmother role. But then I saw him as Caesar in the movie. He knocked it out of the park. When The Hunger Games DVD comes out, I want there to be a picture-in-picture running through the whole movie of Caesar Flickerman giving play-by-play. It would make every scene in the movie better.

Also, since seeing the movie, I cannot stop announcing in a Stanley Tucci as Caesar Fleckerman voice, “Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire!!!”

Don’t mistake me, I thought The Hunger Games movie was a very good adaption of Suzanne Collins’s book. I was worried that the movie would be bogged down in exposition, explaining the dystopian world of The Hunger Games and the genetically engineered beasts used to take out the tributes once they’re in the arena. Despite there being a lot of movie before we ever see the arena, I felt the movie was constantly moving the plot forward and not getting lost in exposition. A big part of this was using Caesar to explain things in his play-by-play to the viewers at home the same way the narrator of Ninja Warrior explains the course to TV audiences. Purists may bristle at this change from the book. But if a change that minor gets your feathers ruffled, you’re better off never seeing movies based on books you’ve read.

One minor quibble I have with The Hunger Games is that when Peeta is training, they make a huge deal about how strong Peeta is, he routinely throws 100 lb bags of flour. We then never see him use this strength. He somehow uses his cupcake decorating skills to camouflage himself completely into the background scenery, but never does his Hefty Smurf strength come into play.

Awesome Walking Dead cosplay, bro.

Okay, make that two minor quibbles. What’s up with Woody Harrelson’s hair in The Hunger Games? Dutch painter boy, really?

“Katniss, whatever you do, don’t let Cinna touch your hair. Learn from my mistake!”

I’m looking forward to Catching Fire. It’s my favorite of the three Hunger Games books. More Tooch as Caesar and the introduction of Aquaman Finnick, my favorite character in the series. The odds are ever in my favor.