The Hunger Games (2012)
The much anticipated Suzanne Collin’s novel The Hunger Games has finally arrived on the big screen. In a fictional, fantasy, future on the ruins of North America lies Panem, a nation run by the “Capital” with 12 surrounding districts. Each district ranges from the richest of the rich to the poorest people on earth. Every year, to remind the surrounding districts of the power of the Capital and for punishment for past uprisings, an event takes place that forces a boy and a girl “tribute”, ages 12-18, to fight to the death in an open world setting called the Hunger Games. The story follows a young 16 year old girl from District 12 named Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). She has a mother, a young sister named Prim, and a best friend named Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who she supports through her hunting and trading skills. She can wield a bow better than anyone has ever seen and she knows it. When the “Reaping” begins, Katniss and Prim are in the crowd hoping neither gets picked, yet with the lowest odds there can be with only 1 card in the drawing, Prim has her name called. Katniss doesn’t hesitate and offers to volunteer for her sister. The boy selected from District 12 is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) who is someone Katniss knows of, but has had little interaction with. Without giving too much of the story away, Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Captial to be trained, coached and shown off like objects to get sponsors before they are thrown into the wilderness with 22 other Trubites to fight… and fight they do.
The Hunger Games is one powerful emotional ride that takes you through the minds and lives of a handful teenagers and how they are forced to become adults. Their innocence is ripped from them as they are forced to become monsters. The movie has plenty of action, violence, romance, raw emotion and true judgement of character. The scenery and score set the mood and feel of the districts/games perfectly. When in District 12, there is little score to be heard to create the feeling of emptiness and during the games there is little open spaces to create the feeling of seclusion.
Jennifer Lawrence does, as expected, a supurb job as Katniss and I really couldn’t think of anyone else in Hollywood who could have done a better job. The supporting cast that surrounds Lawrence and Hutcherson help shape the movie and keep every scene interesting and intriguing. Since when does Woody Harrelson play a bad drunk? He doesn’t! His portrayal of Haymitch is right on par as the past District 12 winner who becomes a mentor to Peeta and Katniss. I also LOVED the job that Lenny Kravitz did as Cinna. He sold the character’s genuine caring and wish to see the 2 succeed in the games. He did such a good job that I forgot he isn’t really an actor but a rock star. Who else? Elizabeth Banks? She was in it? Oh yeah, who could recognize her with all the crazy make-up on as the nutty Effie Trinket. She is the first real color you see in District 12 and is so out of place, then as the movie goes on you see that she isn’t as crazy looking as you may have thought. Lastly you have Stanley Tucci as the Master of Ceremonies Caeser Flickerman. He is charming in an evil kind of way. He acts friendly and kind to the Tributes on his TV show, but the true intent is to show them off before they go and kill each other. Either way, who doesn’t love Stanley Tucci? Other supporting characters include Donald Sutherland as the President and Wes Bently as director of the games.
The only negative thing I have to say about The Hunger Games are the scenes that show the romance blooming between Peeta and Katniss seem to drag on. Not that the scenes are long, but there are too many. We get the idea that neither wants the other to do something that could result in eithers death, but you don’t have to say it over and over. The other thing that could have been slightly different is the ending to the games. If the audience isn’t told that the games were altered halfway through so that 2 could win (only from the same district) the “decision” Peeta and Katniss make at the end would be more suspenseful and emotional. However, since we do learn the fact that both can win, it takes away from the potential dread of the 2 having to face each other in the end if it came to that. I think it’s apples and oranges, but it could have added more than just 30 seconds of worry and suspense to grip the audience throughout rather then just at the end.
Lastly, Parents be aware that The Hunger Games is PG-13 for a reason. The movie shouldn’t be taken lightly since there are teens killing other teens violently, even as young as 12 years old. There is definitely more violence in this than any of the Harry Potter movies, to put it into perspective. Either way, Happy Hunger Games… and may the odds be ever in your favor!
9/10 Stars – By the time the other 2 are released on the big screen, this will probably be a 10. Newly added to my personal top 100 list!
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