Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games finds its Mark

Ah, the Hunger Games.  I remember when I read the first book I stayed up until 4 in the morning to read it.  Now I'm staying up late to express my own opinion on the film adaption before it is altered by another's point of view.  Keep in mind that no movie will ever match my vision of the book--unless I had all the money in the world and was directing it.  This review will look at this film and try not to compare it to experience of reading the book.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book and movie, the story is about a future world where a new country has formed from the United States known as Panem.  Panem once comprised of 13 different districts.  These 13 different districts caused a civil war.  District 13 was destroyed and the Capitol of Panem initiated the 1st annual Hunger Games as a way to control the districts and stop them from thinking of rebellion.  Each district sends one boy and one girl tribute to compete in the Hunger Games--a fight to the death.  The story centers on Katniss Everdeen of District 12 who has volunteered as tribute to save her sister from the reaping--lottery to determine tributes.  Katniss must quickly learn to survive before she even enters the arena for the Hunger Games.  The movie opens with a brief commentary on the Hunger Games from the character Caesar Flickerman before going right into Katniss' story.  

The film editing throughout the film is quick and has a strong sense of realism.  This works excellently for the story of the film.  It quickly builds the tension of knowing that these 12 to 18 year old kids will be forced to kill one another in an arena.  

The violence is also realistic while remaining appropriate for it's PG-13 rating.  What is great about the depiction of the violence is that it isn't action packed.   A big theme of the story is how we as a culture glorify violence.  Here, it has such a strong sense of realism and steps away from being entertaining that the message really hits home.

The content is definitely PG-13 and meant to disturb.  In addition to the violence, there are a few minor swear words in the movie.  I wouldn't take anyone younger then 12 to see this movie.

The acting in this movie is spot on.  The cast steps into their characters wonderfully.  Jennifer Lawrence is excellent as Katniss.  She looks and plays the part perfectly.  Really, everyone here did a great job.  Even newcomer, Lenny Kravitz, has good chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence and is believable in his compassion for Katniss.

I do feel like the relationship of the characters weren't given quite enough screen time.  Katniss' relationship to Peeta is supposed to be complicated but it was difficult to see her feelings for him.  Granted, she isn't supposed to know how she feels about him for most of the story.  Despite that, I really feel like the chemistry between her and Peeta could have been a little better.

Overall, I found the movie to be a solid adaption and faithful the spirit of the book.  Wether you're a fan of the book or not, I would definitely recommend the Hunger Games.
Consensus: The Hunger Games is a taut story of survival.  Though it could benefit with better relationship development it's central message hits home to the viewer. B
-Stephen

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