Bottom Line: The Hunger Games is a dark, pulse-pounding adventure; true victory that will leave you “hungry” for more.
“Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire!” –Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller about Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a teenage girl caring dearly for her twelve-year-old sister. In the world in which the story takes place, there are twelve districts, and Katniss lives in number twelve. These twelve districts each have one male and female representative in a reality TV show revolving around The Hunger Games, a tournament where all 24 of them must fight to the death, with only one victor. After her little sister is selected to participate, Katniss volunteers to replace her and compete with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the male competitor from District 12.
THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and even from a glance, this is quite clear. For those who don’t recognize the name (and I’d assume that’s a lot), Ross has made his career directing, writing, and producing movies propelled mostly by a combination of style and uniqueness. Some better examples of these include BIG, a fantasy about a boy granted a wish to become an adult; PLEASANTVILLE, a black-and-white/color mashup about two teens who become part of one of their favorite TV shows; and SEABISCUIT, a rather stylistic period movie about the famous titular racehorse. THE HUNGER GAMES is every ounce stylistic and inventive. It relies 60% of the time on either fast editing, quick shots, or a shaky camera, all which keep our hearts racing. It’s not just the visuals–the sound mixing is heartstopping, especially with the highly unexpected use of muting.
As a huge fan of the book series this takes a basis from, I expected a great deal from the movie. In the first twenty minutes or so, I was slightly disappointed. Rather than opening with a grand bang, THE HUNGER GAMES took on a very slow, paced introduction. It’s once the preparation for the games began that the excitement came, building up heavily to the excitement of the actual games themselves, which began around an hour in. Once the games have begun, we feel as if we’re watching THE TRUMAN SHOW, but much more violent, suspenseful, and much less secretive. Possibly the best part is that THE HUNGER GAMES can provide us with a break from TWILIGHT, seemingly the most unfortunately popular teen saga. I’d love to see audiences cheering for Katniss and Peeta rather than Edward and Bella.