The Hunger Games – 3.5/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

hungarThe Hunger Games -3.5/5 –   This isn’t a new release, but a review for a movie that was released last year.  It has taken me a while to get around to watching this movie for a couple reasons.  The first reason, because of the hype buildup leading to its release, I didn’t have a feeling to watch this movie when it came out.  The second reason is because, I heard a lot about this film being a rip off of a great Asian flick called ‘Battle Royale’.  Knowing that ideas could span across many culture, I didn’t hold a grudge that it would have some elements of that movie in this one.  Knowing it is based off a book; I decided to give this film a chance.  In this film, there are a lot of interesting themes that are touched on, but overall, this film is far away from the epic feel it was propped up to be, but it is thoroughly entertaining.


In a dystopian future, the nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts, and the Capitol.  Every year in this totalitarian world, two young representatives from each district are selected to participate in The Hunger Games. Being part entertainment and part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the games is televised throughout Panem.  When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place.  Along with her male counterpart Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), they are pitted against the odds, and through peril and anguish, will start something that goes beyond the games.

When it comes to the main characters of Katniss and Peeta, they are performed decently by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.  Lawrence gives a strong persona through Katniss.  You see a sense of strength through her arrogance, and are also intrigued by her combative behavior during the games.  With the fast pace of the movie, she keeps you semi-interested about her world, district 12, but she also helps you absorb the unknown world of the capitol, and people privileged to live there.  As much as this other world intrigues the audience, it does the same for Katniss.  This helps you find everything around her believable and real.  When it comes to Peeta, he feels more like a male counterpart to Katniss then someone with character depth.  Without a lot of depth, Josh creates a strong character with flaws, and you feel for his struggle through the games.  Even with the flaw creation, his acting does come off stale and wooden at times during his interaction with Katniss.  His motives aren’t as clear as Katniss’s during the games, and the convienence factors of his position and skills only help the plot, instead of bring any attachment to the mock ‘love story’ created between him and her.  With the supporting characters, we have some stand outs in the announcer, Caesar (Stanley Tucci), the courier for the Tributes (Elizabeth Banks) the teacher for the kids, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and another important combatant from district 11, Rue (Amandla Stenberg).  These were the few that were more involved with the main characters from the supporting cast, and they do a swell job in propping the movie through its explanation and narration.  Out of these people, Tucci and Stenberg were really entertaining in their roles.  As Rue, Stenberg provides someone who is intrigued and seems to like Katniss, as she helps her survive through most of the games.  Tucci gives us a flamboyant and vibrant announcer, and he helps add a more alluring side to the games.  Overall, the supporting characters help add quality to the movie.

The direction of this film is very lopsided, because of its fast pace first half and a slow, more entertaining second half.   Because of the fast pace, there isn’t much time for us to be, at least at the minimal, engrossed in the world of Panem. The fast pace causes the first half of the movie to become a setup for the games, instead of it providing some explanation to the point of this world, the games, and the dictator styled government in control.  Much of the first half is a simple introduction for the main players of the movie, creating starting points for the plot.  With a linear story development, this ensures that you have no depth or quality to the characters.  They become pawns in the story’s overall scheme.  Outside of this little hindrance, once the movie gets to the games, the movie slows down its pace, allowing the audience to become thoroughly involved.  This helps flesh out the fast introduction, and brings a film filled with action and popcorn entertainment.  The game occurs in a controlled environment, and you watch as it becomes more of a pseudo reality TV show for real survival.  Through the games, you witness true value of humanity, power and government control.  By the end, you realize the truth behind all the scheming.  With Katniss winning, you see that she has changed the outcome of a usual winner, leading into a bigger story for the sequel.  While these themes aren’t explained well, you notice the director does a good job in threading them from the fast pace introduction to the action paced middle, all the way through the climax.  You are at least intrigued by the message, and see the film has real value, regardless of the fanatical world created.

Though the direction has some mishaps, the world created through the cinematography is wonderful.  In the world of Panem, you see everything from the hard and gritty slums to the most eclectic parts, created through the capitol skyline and everyday activities.  Through this, you see the direness of the people living outside of the capitol, and how their lives compare to the ones living the high life.  Through the visuals, it helps you give you, through fantastical means, a complexion of the idea that certain things belong to the ‘privilege’ and not to others.  Even though there is this intrigued to explain that idea, it is held down by the emphasis placed on the games.  With the game world, you have a very thoroughly planned fighting arena.  The arena is created through a vast wilderness, and it screams survival from every part of its creation.  The score helps add some level to the movie, but doesn’t do much to expand its quality.

The Hunger Games is a pleasantly entertaining flick.  The creation of Panem helps draw in the audience, and the games keep you involved.  The main characters of Katniss and Peeta are vibrant in their own right, and the support cast is a welcome addition to an intriguing world.  Great visuals with a decent score also help add layers to this world.  Overall, I’d recommend a watch for anyone that likes fantasy films, and a purchase to add to your collection.

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