Movie Review: The Hunger Games

29 Mar

The Hunger Games seems to have taken the world by storm. Suzanne Collins’s ‘young adult’ fiction series has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been translated in more than 26 languages. I ad previously done a post previewing the film after it garnered so much hype at the most recent VMAs. I must add here, as I’m a bit of a Harry Potter nerd that this is most certainly not stepping on Harry Potter turf yet and is not expected to.

The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who lives in Panem, a nation in a dystopian future where North America has been destroyed. Panem has been divided into twelve districts and an affluent Capitol. Our heroine, Katniss, hails from one of the poorer districts, District 12. Due to people in the past rebelling against the Captiol, The Hunger Games have been set up. These are games in which a boy and a girl between the ages of 12-18 must be chosen from each district to fight to the death. Katniss’s twelv year old sister gets chosen so Katniss decides to volunteer in order to save her sister.

This certainly is far more intense, violent and impassioned than competitor franchise Twilight. It is a fight to the death, after all. While it works hard to keep a 12A certificate (PG-13 in the U.S. and M in Australia) yet maintain a level of intensity and an agonizing effect that is so crucial to the story. Gary Ross directs it very clearly, it’s plot, plot, plot, plot, plot. I had read the bo0k the previous evening to watching this and didn’t mind it, despite my snobby preconceptions that this was a silly little Harry Potter try-hard. One gripe I had with the novel h0wever, is that the narrative was rather repetitive and Katniss’s voice became somewhat monotonous to explain things to the audience. There was a whole lot of character development though, and this movie scraps that in favour of a plot heavy approach. Collins co-wrote the script and it’s done very well so as to spend enough time on each event and each act of the film feels well structured. I personally enjoyed that they got rid of the first person narrative so that things weren’t spelled out for you like they were in the book.

Jennifer Lawrence is one of America’s finest young actresses today, earning an Academy Award nomination for heroutstanding performance in Winter’s Bone. This performance is equally impressive and excellently nuanced. It’s not a dialogue heavy film, and as I have mentioned, she doesn’t get the first person narrative that Katniss did in the book but Lawrence manages to convey so much through her face and body language about the heroine and ultimately is the film’s highlight. Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci are deliriously entertaining as the wealthier citizens of The Capitol and add that humour to the film that is very much needed. Where Lawrence manages to get rid of stereotypical heroines, Josh Hutcherson doesn’t and his performancec feels dull, cheesy and rather trashy.

Advanced ticket sales on Fandango for this film are higher than any of the Twilight films ever were and so they should be. For a fantasy film franchise this isn’t bad at all. I still don’t think it’s the most incredible story I’ve read but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: 3.5/5

6 Responses to “Movie Review: The Hunger Games”

  1. emikedavis March 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    “There was a whole lot of character development though, and this movie scraps that in favour of a plot heavy approach”

    Exactly my thought. Watching this without having read the books meant that although I knew precisely what was going on, I didn’t really care about who it happened to…

    • aculturedlad April 11, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      Thank you for your comment!

      In the book we were given a first person narrative so we sabot an insight into every thought that Katniss had. Now, I personally found that to get rather irritating and I preferred how Ross managed to keep me interested in the action on screen and Lawrence did a good job of conveying the feelings of her character without saying them aloud.

  2. colincarman March 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    The New York Times was ambivalent about Lawrence but I think she did a fine job. Write on!

    http://colincarman.wordpress.com/

    • aculturedlad April 11, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Yes, I read that. I completely disagreed! She was fantastic and her performance managed to be very nuanced without taking away from the thunderous action surrounding her.

  3. Nick April 17, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    “Jennifer Lawrence is one of America’s finest young actresses today..” truer words have never been spoken. She was fantastic in the role that demanded a lot from her and overall this is the sort of character that young girls should look up to, Not the moopy Swan chick from Twilight. Solid review mate.

    • aculturedlad April 18, 2012 at 4:06 am #

      Thank you for commenting!

      I think she’s outstanding. That role was incredibly demanding and especially since she didn’t have a lot of dialogue to work with (unlike the book where she had the first person narrative to express herself non-stop). Kristin Stewart’s fine but has yet to wow me. Twilight as a whole though, repulses me. Thank you!

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