The Hunger Games

Trailer: Theatrical
Directed by:  Gary Ross
Release year: 2012
Rating: PG-13
Lead actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson

Summary: In some sort of alternate reality, there is a yearly tournament in which all districts must submit two contestants for a competition called The Hunger Games – a last-man-standing wins fight to the death. After her little sister’s name is randomly drawn to participate, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to be her proxy.

The Good: For a blockbuster, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was put together from a technical aspect. Not that studios spare any expense when it comes to their cash cows, but it’s not always done correctly in my mind. The visuals worked in creating this world and keeping the mood of the entire film while costume design was spot on from peasants to the most affluent spectator.
With up-and-coming Jennifer Lawrence and respected Stanley Tucci along a cast with promising newcomers, the acting was superior to what I’ve come to expect from book adaptation, big budget flicks.
It’s entertaining. Plain and simple. I have not read the books, nor do I plan to and while flawed, this adaptation managed to keep me entertained for the full 2 hour 22 minute run time.

The Bad: This is yet another case of filmmakers getting lazy and making a movie for people who have read the book.
The film opens with text explaining what The Hunger Games are. Even after reading it, I couldn’t help but think that with three paragraphs we had skipped to at least chapter five in the book. And although I understood the competition itself, I had no idea what world this reality is set in, nor a clear grasp of what why the games were necessary.
I also found it hard to become attached to the characters. In my mind, I’m watching a movie about a tournament where the goal is annihilation – I don’t expect these kids to live. Clearly this was developed better in the books as I could almost feel my neck getting moist from the sobs of the girls in the row behind me as they watched the red shirts fall. I actually found myself chuckling from the absurdity of their emotions. I’m a jerk.
One last thing, I was highly disappointed in the lack of gore. I guess that makes it appealing to a wider audience, but it was a major let down for me. I wondered if they’d have the balls to go for it… they didn’t.
I could sit here and nitpick this movie to death, but I don’t want to do that. It’s decent. My main problem with it, as it is with most book adaptations, the filmmakers left out vital details to help those of us who haven’t read the books with gaping plot holes.

What baffles me is why this series has become so popular among soccer moms and teenagers. I simply don’t get the hype.
The theater I went to (which is the same theater I chose for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 because I knew I could show up 10 minutes early and not have to wait in line for a good seat) was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. The premise is about kids killing each other in a tournament! To me (a girl who loves brutal movies) that sounds awesome, but somehow soccer moms who would be appalled by films like I Saw the Devil, find these books completely acceptable. What the what?
I digress. While some aspects of it shined, this is a pretty average blockbuster – entertaining, but not much depth.

The rating: 7/10

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