Let me preface this by saying that these are my own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the other writers on this site. I know for a fact that Slim, aka Mr. Belding, really enjoyed “The Hunger Games” movie, but I just couldn’t get into it. And “The Dictator” was pretty dumb.
Sacha Baron Cohen, the man behind the comedy classic “Borat”, comes full force with a movie, similar to “Borat”, but shot in the traditional sense rather than the mockumentary style. “The Dictator” follows the antics and a dimwitted dictator Admiral General Aladeen of the made up country Wadiya. He looks up to guys like Bin Laden, Sadaam and Kim Jong Il and runs his country in similar fashion. His people basically have no say in anything and he proclaims himself to be the greatest in every category within the country. Things go awry when his right hand man sets him up to be killed in order to open Wadiya up to a democracy in order to sell off their lucrative oil reserves to the rest of the world. While on a trip to give a speech to the UN in America, Aladeen is kidnapped, stripped of his beard and thrown out into the streets of New York to fend for himself while an extremely stupid body double is put in his place to sign a new constitution turning Wadiya into a democracy.
The only semi-funny part of this whole movie were the scenes in the helicopter when Aladeen and Nadal, his nuclear scientist whom he thought he had executed, were taking a helicopter tour of the city. They begin to speak about the new porsche 911 in their native language, but the American couple on the tour with them obviously don’t understand and only pick up words like “9-11” and crashing sounds. It was amusing, but we saw it in the trailer. Most of the other parts of the trailer were shown in a montage at the very beginning of the movie which lead to a lot of nothing in the rest of the film. The other big running joke through the flick played off the fact that Aladeen had apparently never jerked off before, so when Ana Farris teaches him how, he can’t stop… it was seriously dumb. I like Sacha Baron Cohen when he plays his more famous characters, Ali G, Borat, and even Bruno, but this flick fell far short of those movies and left me wishing I hadn’t wasted my time. I was actually surprised by how much I didn’t like it as I usually like these stupid comedy flicks.
If you want to check it out for yourself “The Dictator” comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 21st.
The Hunger Games
I really, really wanted to like this movie more than I did, honestly. I read the 1st book while I was on my honeymoon in May and really enjoyed it. I was even one of those people that was a little annoyed when I heard about it because I’m a huge fan of “Battle Royale” which has a very similar plot. And I understand that books are usually better than their movie counterparts for the sheer fact that you create the world in your head, you envision what these people look like and how the world is. In a movie, you’re bound by the director’s vision, and in this case it didn’t line up with what I saw in my head when I read the book. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the flick, because I did, I was just a bit disappointed in some of the things that were left out and the pacing of the movie.
For those unaware, the movie is about a girl, Katniss, who is forced to fight for her life in “the hunger games”, a battle to the death between members of different districts within society. Each of the 12 districts designates 2 kids, a boy and a girl, for tribute into the games, they must then fight to the death with only one person remaining. That person, and their district, is then handsomely rewarded. “The Hunger Games” are a way for the capital to keep the districts in check after an uprising some years back. It’s their way of showing them who’s in charge.
It sounds pretty brutal right? Well the book made it seem pretty brutal too, but the movie came out like all “twilighted up”. There was barely any blood, barely any of the brutal violence was shown on screen and a lot of the emotion was ripped right out. When I read the book, I actually felt the bond between Katniss and Peeta, I actually felt like Katniss may not make it through the games, I actually felt something towards the characters… but I didn’t feel any of that while watching the movie. And I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of people telling me I’m wrong, but I never got the sense that Katniss was in any real danger. I know that sounds weird considering the whole premise of the movie, but the way things played out on screen never created any sort of real tension. I know there is a rabid fan base for this series, just like the Twilight series, and I know the next 2 movies will do very well in terms of box office numbers, but I just hope they are better than this first movie. I’ll still see them all, but not before I read the next 2 books first.
The Hunger Games comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 18th.