GREAT EXPECTATIONS AT THE MOVIES

Regarding movies and TV, I have somewhat high expectations. I saw “Trouble with the Curve,” starring Clint Eastwood and Justin Timberlake, with a friend during the summer. I hated the movie — thought it was boring and predictable. I really don’t need to watch Clint having issues with his urine stream. Seriously. However, my friend loved it. I’m a sucker for a happy ending as much as the next person, but I’m not a fan of really predictable happy endings. I had no desire to see the movie in the first place, but I had free movie tickets nearing an expiration date.

For the longest time, I put off watching “The Dark Knight Rises” — the last Batman film in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale collaboration — and “The Bourne Legacy” — a Bourne movie WITHOUT Matt Damon? What? Crazy! Preposterous! Let’s talk about “The Dark Knight Rises” first. I don’t think the first movie impressed me since I don’t remember too many details about it except Katie Holmes was terrible. The second was scary, and yes, Heath Ledger’s performance was creepy awesome. Maggie Gyllenhaal was a brilliant replacement for Holmes in the second film. I heart Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Yes, the third and final Batman movie had some minor issues, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. Christopher Nolan is a gifted and creative man, and I should’ve never doubted his talent. “The Bourne Legacy” was a different story, though. I love love love Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. I love all THREE movies. In fact, I think I blogged that the Bourne trilogy was my favorite because I loved all three movies. So, you can imagine my hesitation when I first heard of the fourth Bourne installment without Matt Damon. What? Is that possible? The storyline was simple — create a new character. Introduce other assassination programs to the audience. Create a dilemma. Hello, “The Bourne Legacy.”

bourne

I heart Jeremy Renner! He actually impressed me in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” — a nice combination of serious action and witty and funny quips.

Anyway, my verdict for the fourth Bourne installment is two thumbs up. The movie was smart, intriguing, and offered plenty of action sequences. Not to mention, I now have a deep love for Jeremy Renner and cannot wait for his latest film, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” despite all the violence and blood previewed in the trailer. Speaking of Renner, I was hesitant and apprehensive but yet excited for “The Avengers” over the summer. I’m not a huge huge huge fan of any of the actors in the films, except for Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Ruffalo, but I couldn’t wait to see the movie for one reason: Joss Whedon.

I. ADORE. THIS. MAN. Creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” Joss is my hero. I couldn’t wait to see what Joss did with the Avengers story. I couldn’t even imagining tackling the scope of that project without screwing it up one way or another. Admittedly, I had my doubts because this was a big big big big movie that millions of people were waiting to see (I was one of them). Could Joss make the Avengers work without screwing it up? I wasn’t impressed with the first Captain America film — kind of boring. However, Thor’s first movie entertained me mildly and I really liked Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in the second Iron Man flick.

Like Christopher Nolan, I should never doubt Joss Whedon and his imagination and direction. I love him. Even after repeat viewings, “The Avengers” is one of my all-time favorite movies — right up there with “Gladiator” and “When Harry Met Sally.” If a movie can surprise me or captivate my attention, then I usually rave about it. I had a few minor issues with “Juno,” but overall, I loved the movie. Sure, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” was kind of predictable and silly, but I still loved it. “Pitch Perfect” was easily predictable — you know the underdog girl team is going to win — but I still loved it. I loved all of the musical scenes except where the cast sings “Party in the USA” — worst song ever.

THE AVENGERS:

THE AVENGERS: Hawkeye, The Incredible Hulk (who gave me nightmares when I was a child), Iron Man, Nick Fury, The Black Widow, Captain America, and Thor. 2014 cannot come soon enough — Avengers 2!!!

Have I blogged about I didn’t like “The Hunger Games”? I should quickly check my blog for a Hunger Game post before I launch into my list of disappointments. Hang on for a second … Nope, I haven’t talked about my major disappointment but understanding with “The Hunger Games.” I mentioned I would talk about it in a later post, but I somehow managed to avoid writing it. Whatever. First, I understand that adapting a movie from a book is an incredibly hard task, especially with a book like “The Hunger Games.” The reader spent so much time inside Katniss’ mind and created a world she described. I completely understood Katniss’ inner turmoil regarding Gale and Peeta.

How in the world could someone accurately portray everything in the book onto the big screen? My answer: They can’t. Big-name studios with a huge bankroll, amazing actors, and great writers and producers can’t successfully adapt the book into a movie. Well, not in two hours and 30 minutes. Not to mention, I’m still incredibly bitter with the decision to split “Mockingjay” into two movies! TWO! Thanks to the success of Harry Potter and Twilight’s final books being split into two movies (Part I and Part II), the stupid studio executives decide to capitalize on the stupid trend.

And I’m calling it right now: Part I will end with Peeta trying to “bagpipe” (purpopsefully not using the correct word just in case people living under a rock haven’t read the books and still want to be surprised) Katniss and Part II will center around the “muffin” team and  the “bakery.” Hunger Game fans, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, as I writer that’s where I would end the first movie and begin the second movie of the third book. I’m so bitter. I understand the studios face a bottom line and everything, but whatever happened to just making a good movie and letting the audience just escape for a few hours?

THE HUNGER GAMES: May the odds be ever in your favor. Loved the books. Not a huge fan of the movie.

THE HUNGER GAMES: May the odds be ever in your favor. Loved the books. Not a huge fan of the movie.

Back to my reasons why I didn’t think “The Hunger Games” movie failed in my mind. Too many tiny details in the book can’t be brought to life on the big screen. In the book, we were inside Katniss’ mind. In the movie, we had no idea what she was thinking. I love Jennifer Lawrence — she was fantastic in “The Silver Linings Playbook” — but she could only do so much in terms of facial expressions and body language. Tiny details from the book were left out, and tiny details were created for the movie. I could’ve done without the scenes involving President Snow and Seneca Crane.

The reader creates a world in their mind when reading a book, and NO ONE could ever perfectly re-create that world on the big screen. Many fans were upset about the color of skin on Rue and Thresher. I don’t remember Thresher’s character description, but I believe Rue was described as having dark or olive skin. But does that really matter? The better question is: why become so upset and angry and hostile about it? Your mind created a completely different person — do you really think the movie executives will cast the perfect actors for the characters or have even a tiny idea of what your character looks like?

The CGI was hokey and just fake in some parts. Some costumes were just terrible — I’m talking about the first costumes for Katniss and Peeta when they enter the arena. In the book, Cinna suggested Katniss and Peeta hold hands. In the movie, Peeta makes the suggestion. Why couldn’t that part stay the same in the movie? Once again, I understand creating a movie from a book is a difficult task and fans of the book will complain about something. In my mind, I just think the book was too involved and detailed to successfully become a movie unless studio execs wanted to make a five-hour movie with at least a voiceover.

catchingfire

CATCHING FIRE: Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie, is it weird that I want to see the sequel?

I loved the movie “Little Women,” and I’ve read the book. I thought the adaption was pretty faithful. I tried reading the book, “Sense and Sensibility,” after watching and loving the movie — oh, poop, “Sense and Sensibility” should be in my top three favorite movies. Hmmmmmm. “When Harry Met Sally.” “The Avengers.” “Sense and Sensibility.” Sorry, “Gladiator” — you just got bumped off my top three favorite movies list. Anyway, back to my point — what was my point? Oh, right, faithfully adapting the book to the big screen. Sometimes it can be done — “Little Women” is a beautiful example — and sometimes it just can’t — “The Hunger Games” another fine example.

Despite my strong dislike for the movie, I’m still going to see “Catching Fire.” Maybe the sequel will be better. Maybe. This time around, I don’t have a great desire to see it opening weekend. I can wait.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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