Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross (screenplay), Suzanne Collins (screenplay/novel)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
MPAA: Rated PG-13
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
No time is wasted to tell the story of Panem as with any book to movie adaptation it is just not possible to fit everything from the book in the movie. This is not a problem at all for Gary Cross, everything you have to know is spelled out for you by the cast (but never dumbed down to a level that insults).
Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) the hunger games host persona sporting blue hair and a winning warm smile he elevates the “tributes” (contestants) in the eyes and hearts of the people of The Capitol warping an act of oppression into a fun and exciting event albeit a mandatory one. Early in the film and spotted through out Tucci will appear on screen in a number of ways (that all work really well) with must-know-information.
Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) our tributes (Katniss & Peeta’s) mentor a previous winner of The Hunger Games and a man who’s completely given up on life adds to Tucci’s narration with his “life lessons”. But by far one of my favourite characters is Effie Trinket the tributes handler, she is their manager with a dream of once representing a winning district, district 12 where our leading lady and lad are from is not exactly going on a winning streak anytime soon. In district 12 The Hunger Games is a death sentence.
Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is in the film but (here comes a reference) unlike the book his role has been reduced and while it may not give enough for those of you new to the franchise, it lays good ground for his character in the sequels. I also have to mention that Wes Bentley as GameMaster Seneca Crane with his shapely beard fits in well with the story alongside President Snow the main Villain aside from society itself) played by none other than veteran actor Donald Sutherland. I always associated him with a more or less good guy but he creates an empty void in his character where a soul should have resided. Effie Trinke (Elizabeth Banks)t is so well portrayed and acted by Banks I completely accept the ridiculous outfit and clown makeup that is the height of Capitol fashion.
Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) does a really good job as our co-tribute and his relationship with Katniss is explained through means that feel natural. Cato (Alexander Ludwig) and the other Tributes all do a good job in showing the difference between the 12 districts in terms of what the hunger games mean to their government controlled piece of the world.
Katniss Everdeen our heroine portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence picks up this film and plants it firmly on her shoulders and without thinking twice (nearly) every scene she is in. She portrays such a strong young woman whom through the insane world she was born into and the personal tragedies that come with being basically a slave and still continues to care for her mother and younger sister. When Jennifer is on-screen you are shown fear, hatred, hope and joy. All emotions are communicated to the audience masterfully most of the time wordlessly. Bravo Jennifer Bravo. Some of you might think this is way out of line but parents if you have a teenager 13 or older, this is who should be your kids role model Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss, not because she kicks ass and slays her fellow-man in the games but because of what the character stands for, her strength in a time where most would just lay down and give up, a respect for life.
A story about a society that feels real, this is not a bombed out wasteland filled with anarchy, there are still forests there is still wildlife. Rather a dystopian society that maintains control through violence and fear a story about every human beings right to freedom. With this story at its heart the film speaks to everyone, young old, male female.
Everything forms a symbiosis along side the wonderful soundtrack that sets the right tone for each moment with original songs composed and written by T-Bone Burnett James and Newton Howard accompanied by the outstanding cinematagrophy Tom Stern (Grand Torino). A reoccurring and very effective technique used is that of removing all sound but the music creating the “vacuum” most often used to depict shock think the beginning of Saving Private Ryan. During the fight scenes this is often used and due to it I don’t even want to call them fight scenes they are murders – this movie depicts violence in such a way that instead of glorifying it creates a disdain for taking another human life. Very well done indeed.
In summation this is a movie that should be seen it has a story that is very well told and extremely well acted. There are of course weaknesses a few pet peeves on the acting side nothing major. CGI does look like complete garbage during maybe a minute of screen time as all the tributes are brought out on chariots the large backdrop looks just awful. And there are few other times that unfortunately breaks the immersion.
Go see The Hunger Games.
8.5 out of 10
Film making at its best.
a must see film for all ages.
Let me start of by saying I did like the books but as a 28-year-old man it was too love triangle oriented for me to be able to identify with Suzanne Collins inner monologue for Katniss, the love drama not bad or anything along those lines is just so unimportant when you look at the big picture of the world that they reside in.
Gale may not be very present in the movie and there are a few other things that fans will notice missing or changed. But I assure you, you will not be disappointed this is great adaptation. I saw this movie on a sneak preview screening, I walk in with my brother in tow at this point everyone is seated. I gaze out at a sea of mostly 12-16 year old girls, you can tell they are all DYING to see the movie there is a constant buzz in the air all you can make out is “Katniss” “Gale” mumble giggle”Peeta”. The movie starts and people are being shushed for touching their popcorn this before the Lionsgate logo has even disappeared. Key moments in the movie, im sure you can guess which ones, you can literally hear a pin drop as the collective breath of the audience is held. At one point all of row 6 is crying their damn eyes out it was quite interesting to sit through a great movie being watched by hardcore fans having a fantastic time.