The Hunger Games

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.

image

I’m glad to see teens are taking a break from their insanity over silly romances about shirtless werewolves and sparkling vampires.

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.

20120323-192126.jpg

NOMINEE
Best Editing

32 thoughts on “The Hunger Games

  1. Good review, although I think you enjoyed it rather a lot more than I did! I really like the books, and couldn’t help be disappointed at how much they had changed. I know it’s not practical to keep everything, and a word for word adaptation would be pretty redundant. I loved Pleasantville and I think the director did a really good job here, I just thought it was a little long. Nevertheless I’m looking forward to the next two films!

  2. Good review. I liked the movie a lot (review coming later in the week, I’m really busy) but I think the adaptation, while good, could’ve been much better. Jennifer Lawrence was incredible, though, and so was the art direction and score.

  3. The movie missed too much character planting. Good thing I read the book. The movie was good, but more like a B-. As usual, Hollywood misses things when they put a good book to film. I do think they did a decent job with The Help, though.

    • B-?! I lingered between a B and an A- for quite a bit with this one, but I think a B- is far too low. I can’t see bumping it down to three stars for a mere lack of faith to its source. They did very well, considering what they could do to adapt it, and it’s not at all easy adapting a book. I’ve tried it a few times and always ended up on my own tangential plot, but that’s another story. I thought it was great how instead of having the predictable, corny voice-over by Katniss, Ross added behind-the-scenes of the Hunger Games to explain what was going on in her head throughout parts of the book. So sorry you didn’t enjoy this all that much; since it warranted an A-, it will end up either a) on my honorable mentions of 2012 when I create my Top Ten list, next January or February; or b) around the 9-10 zone of my top ten. And yes, The Help was a phenomenal adaptation, if a bit flawed in the art direction and the humor that didn’t appear in the book. I’m still mentally vomiting from the “feces pie” scene in that movie. Let’s hope for Catching Fire to be great; it comes out in two years, according to IMDb, and I can’t wait that long!!

    • To add to that: in my opinion, you can’t bring down your grade of a movie just because of its bad comparison to the book. That’s like hating The Shawshank Redemption just because it has a few mentions of Rita Hayworth, whereas the source material by Stephen King was half about her. In which case you’d be hating on one of the greatest movies ever made, plus the #1 on IMDb.

  4. I liked the book and loved the movie. It was a perfect adaptation for me. Expanded on the behind the scenes to explain what Katniss was thinking in the book. Clever and exciting. Nice review.

    • Thanks. I didn’t know you read the book, but I don’t know I how I would have known. I love the wasp nest scene, too; the whole theater chuckled there. I didn’t like, though, that they demoted Gale, who was a major character in the book, but not here. Such a grimly inventive topic.

      • I actually found her constantly referring back to Gale distracting and unimportant to the story at hand. I thought the movie wisely cut Gale’s part. The wasp scene was good. I also love the part where the judges were assessing her abilities to give her a rating. I think the theater laughed loudest at that part.

  5. I thought the Hunger Games was really good. I think the best parts about it were the makeup and the technical stuff. Even though they changed a lot from the book (best book ever) the movie was still really good. i do not agree with the A-… i would give it an A.

    • I wouldn’t quite say it’s the best book ever. I actually liked Catching Fire and Mockingjay much more. However, I agree it’s a very, very well-written book. And yes, the makeup and technical work was outstanding. Sometimes maybe a bit overdone (it was a LOT more colorful than I’d imagined while reading), but still a very exciting movie. Jennifer Lawrence was great as Katniss, but when isn’t she? She saved me from giving The Beaver a D- or an F. (I gave it a D when I saw it not too long ago because her performance was just about the only satisfying thing about that film.) Now let’s hope for two faithful sequels. 😀

      • Yeah to that… but everyone says that Mockingjay was sad… it is… but i think it was the best of the series… i hope they come out with more.

        • Sadly, there won’t be any more books. The author intended it to be a trilogy. At least it ended well. This felt more like a summer movie, though; these kinds of movies don’t use come out in March (big franchises or movies expected to be huge). Thank God it was great even with an earlier release.

Comments are closed.