By Noah Cutwright, Lansdowne High School, Baltimore, Maryland
The Avengers and The Hunger Games were huge box office successes this year (with the former becoming the third highest grossing film of all-time.) So it’s only natural that Disney and Lionsgate have big plans for the two films home release.
I’ll start by reviewing The Hunger Games. When I first saw The Hunger Games, as I left the theater my immediate thought was , “It wasn’t as good as the book.”, a thought which I found surprising because the screenplay was co-written by Suzanne Collins, the author of the original book. Then as time passed I realized that the book is the book, and the film is the film. They are two separate entities. I find that we often criticize films as not being as great as their book counterpart. However we have to realize that when you read a book you can imagine it to be as great or as lame as you want to. A film is just the artist’s interpretation, so when rating the film as a whole I decided to rate it based on its quality rather than it’s faithfulness the book, and with great acting, strong emotion (particularly from Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a headstrong teenager thrown into a death match after volunteering to replace her sister as tribute for the annual Hunger Games.), sharp visuals, and thrilling action, the film is fairly entertaining. Overall grade: B+
As for the Blu Ray and DVD release, it includes a “Making of” featurette, the entire propaganda film, and a talk with the filmmakers. I am a big fan of special features on a DVD however, I really don’t care how this film was made, and buying the DVD would kind of be a mute point. While I liked the film I don’t feel as though it warranted further viewing. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times. Overall DVD grade: C
Now onto The Avengers. I only have one word to say about this movie: INCREDIBLE. The film was the perfect combination of action, adventure, comedy, but above all great storytelling. The film’s visuals were amazing, but I’m not the person to get too hyped up about that. It’s like I always say, “Your film could’ve cost $3 to make or $300 million to make; without great storytelling it’s nothing but a waste of time and money.” Often time’s filmmakers crowd their films with noise, sexual situations, and misplaced and/or overused CGI to please the traditional lowbrow viewer. The Avengers can be guilty of at least one of these; however it makes up for it with its likeable characters and pretty solid storytelling. The main story itself isn’t all that impressive, (someone tries to take over the Earth in large-scale invasion, and a group of “warriors” have to stop them) considering it’s been told five times a year in this fairly repetitive century of film. However the characters help carry what could’ve been an all-around forgettable film. They spend an equal amount of time letting us get to know and love each of the superheroes (with the exception of Thor, who I’m actually kind of glad that didn’t spend too much time on. He’s seems kind of boring, and he would’ve just slowed down the film.). The actors, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Bruce Banner/The Hulk respectively, do great jobs in the film. Showing their thorough understanding of the characters, and making their growth in the film seem all the more real. All in all, this film is a non-stop thrill ride. Overall grade: A-
Here’s where the bad part comes in. Disney has decided to release the film on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Blu-Ray 3D. I would recommend not buying the latter. I saw the film in regular 3D and IMAX 3D, and I have to say the effect wasn’t very strong. Other than just adding “depth” the 3D adds nothing, however if you have small eyes and ears the IMAX might allow you to enjoy the film with its larger screen and louder noise. I literally took my glasses off for 20 minutes, and had no problem watching the film. The DVD does includes a Marvel one-shot called, “Item 47″, and a number of deleted scenes for you Marvel fans. Overall the Blu-Ray may be a worthwhile purchase, but don’t waste your money on pointless 3-D. Overall DVD grade: B+.the original article from hsj.org, written by Noah Cutwright