The Hunger Games review
"They just want a good show, that's all they want"
::This is not a comparison of book to movie this is strictly a film review:: I always hate it when movies that should be R rated are dulled down for a younger audience for the purposes of profit expansion. Usually these movies just aren't very good. It's like watching a movie like Pineapple express or a Quentin Tarantino film on television... I was actually excited for The Hunger Games despite the PG-13 rating, the trailer showed a dark side to teen geared movies and was reminiscent of the latter Harry Potter films. Before it came out it had an 8.2 on IMDB and I was really getting pumped, but I was fooled by the hype and I was fooled by the trailer and I ended up wasting $9.
A hyped up mess of shakey action, close-ups and fake emotion.
The Hunger Games, for those who don't know, is based off of the wildly popular book series of the same name. It takes place in a dystopian future where the nation they live in is separated into 12 districts that surround a capitol full of flamboyant bureaucrats. As a punishment for a past uprising attempt the leaders of the nation put into affect the Hunger Games. An event where one boy and one girl (of any age) are picked randomly from each district to fight to the death in a simulated wilderness until one remains. For anyone who has heard of the cult film Battle Royale this is starting to sound incredibly familiar. The book and film basically replicate the same story and premise from the Japanese movie and does so (at least the film, I have yet to read the novel) in a less entertaining and less impacting way. The film centers around a talented young archer named Katniss Everdeen from District 12 (Jennifer Lawrence) as her younger sister is called to be a tribute in the games and she volunteers in her place. She is accompanied by her secret admirerer Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). By this time in the film time you will have noticed the movie relies heavily on close-ups to the point where it feels claustrophobic to keep your eyes on the screen. This may have been the objective, make the audience feel uncomfortable to better sympathize with the characters and their predicament, but they end up just pushing the audience away (at least for me and the several people I went with). I decided to put the close-ups aside and try to enjoy the movie's upcoming action... To put it frankly the sequences of violence are lackluster, uninteresting and just plain lame. It's like the director was in epileptic shock, moving frantically seemingly to simulate a half POV half WWII film. To widen the audience and make more money they sold out on what could've been a well choreographed sci-fi/action film. My level of disappointment a little under an hour and a half in is intense. I was expecting an 8.2 but it was quickly turning into a 6.5. Although the affectionate relationship that develops between Katniss and Peeta was lacking reality Jennifer Lawernce's performance is one of few good things that can be said about the movie. Her unflinching attitude geared towards survival and the self-sacrifice she makes so that her sister can live on are convincing and heart-warming. She is one of Hollywood's up-and-coming young stars and has garnered a lot of respect from critics due to her role in this and her roles in Winters Bone and X-Men: First Class.
Although the camera work was uninviting more often than not the movie is not a total waste of time. It is not boring and still does carry a strong anti-government statement for all of you non-conformists out there and it is still on a much more mature level than your average PG-13 film. The main theme of the movie is rebellion and it's easy to see why the youth have picked up the fad. It reflects a future that maybe, just maybe could one day be our own... but I suggest you just read Fahrenheit 451