The Hunger Games Movie - A Review
The one question many people have been asking themselves these past weeks is simple: Is the Hunger Games worth all the hype? Many people who have read the book, or at least read a synopsis, understands that the book is extremely dark and twisted, especially considering the intended audience… Children. But that is the basic premise of the book, children killing children for the entertainment of the government and a way to keep the people under control. So did the movie version live up to fans expectations? Did the PG13 rating hinder the story and limit what the director could show? The answer to the first question is a resounding yes and the answer to the second question is a big fat no.
Lets start with a quick synopsis of the story. The movie is set in post war America where there is nothing left but 12 districts, each specializing in a skill or trade. The heroine of the story, Katniss Everdeen, is from District 12 where they mine coal for all the districts. District 1 is the home of the Capital and the rest specialize in grains, fishing, textiles, etc. As a form a penance, and to remind the people what the price of rebellion is, the Capital holds the annual Hunger Games. One boy and one girl between the ages of 12 – 18 are chosen from each district to compete in a Coliseum style battle. The victor wins his or her district extra food for one year. Every year each teenager gets one ticket with their name which gets put into the pool for drawing. Families can also get extra food and supplies for more tickets which increases the chances of being drawn during the “reaping” or drawing. When Katniss’s little sister Primrose is selected, Kat is inspired to volunteer to spare her 12 year old sister from the horrors of the game. The story takes place from Katniss’s point of view and details her thoughts and struggles leading up to and during the games.
Fans of the books will definitely be pleased by the movie. Through artful cinematography the viewer is able to appreciate the living conditions and oppression the people face every day. Although the shaky cam effect is slightly overused and nauseating in the beginning it isn’t enough to detract from the enjoyment of the movie. Jennifer Lawrence does a fantastic job portraying Katniss Everdeen and copes well with the emotional and physical turmoil she faces during the story. Josh Hutcherson did an admirable job playing Peeta, the sweet lovesick boy next door. Woody Harelson was absolutely perfect as Haymitch, the drunken mentor to Katniss and Peeta, the only person from District 12 to ever win the games. One of the great things about adapting a book to the big screen is the ability to take liberties and change things. It was refreshing to not have the story told completely from Kats point of view. There is an excellent scene between Seneca Crane and President Snow that is very telling about how the government thinks and their motives. Also, Stanley Tucci’s Ceasar Flickerman does a fantastic job in preparing the audience for the games as the host of the show. His performance really highlights how similar our own reality TV is like the Hunger Games and how easy it would be for our society to develop something so horrifying. The Hunger Games is not hurt at all by the PG13 rating. It is appropriately disturbing and will leave the audience cringing in their seats. Overall it is definitely worth viewing whether you have read the books or not.
The books are not really appropriate for children under 13 even though there are characters that are 12 years old. For all the young girls that want to see the movie because they think Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are hot, please stay home. Liam Hemsworths Character, Gail, is not a very strong presence in the book and so it makes sense that he is not in the movie very long.
Bottom line, this is a fantastic story that is only enhanced by cinematic effect. Definitely something a mature audience should see before it leaves theatres.