Original Date: August 20, 2012
Okay, I wasn’t ready dreading seeing this movie but the hype around it makes it seem like it was going to be the next book series that translates into a movie franchise that has success both critically and financially. Harry Potter & The Lord of the Rings was one of the few that first did that well into the 2000s, however, many have tried to follow them and some of them have failed and yes, while Twilight may have done it financially, it’s still very pretentious in its way and IMO remains one of the most cheesiest examples of how not to make a movie.
Now, The Hunger Games is based on the book series created by American television writer and novelist Suzanne Collins, which spawned into later sequels such as Catching Fire & Mockingjay. Now what is the Hunger Games about, you may ask?
Well, they are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death until only one person remains. It takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of the current nations of North America, in a totalitarian nation known as “Panem”. Panem consists of a hugely rich Capitol, located in what used to be the Rocky Mountains, and twelve (formerly thirteen) surrounding, poorer districts which are under the hegemony of the Capitol.
The main protagonist of the story is Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who lives in the poorest of all districts, District 12, where people dying of starvation are the norm around there. She volunteered as Tribute for this year’s Hunger Games in place of her sister, Primrose, and along with her is Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson), a baker boy who has developed a lifelong crush on Katniss since both were kids.
Now, I really think that Lionsgate (the distributors of the film) really wanted a franchise in their name since the Saw franchise was long retired and gone and I think Tyler Perry movies are really on their way to phase out. Plus, I guess they needed a way to appeal to the teenagers since this year Twilight is about to end, although Lionsgate just bought Summit Entertainment, which really means that they have two franchises that appeal to mostly teenage girls and young adult. For me, the only difference is that….Hunger Games is more legitimate as a film than Twilight could ever be.
The positives of this movie are that Jennifer Lawrence has proven to be a great actress and on here, it’s no doubt that she portrayed the character Katniss very well. The character is well-rounded and developed, especially when trying to survive a very dangerous game of killing one another. Other standout performances include Woody Harrelson as the mentor Haymitch; an unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks as the Capitol-born chaperone Effie Trinket; a weirdly blue-haired Stanley Tucci; Amandla Stenberg, the young actress who portrayed Rue & Donald Sutherland, respectively.
While some of the performances were good, however, the pacing during the first hour felt very ridiculously long and really needed to get to the point where the games begin. The action is okay during the scenes, but with the shaky cam, jittery editing, and jump cuts between scenes, I was starting to feel unbalanced on those scenes and while the development of Katniss is impressive and some of Rue and Peeta, most of the other characters you really don’t care about. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is Katniss’ best friend and I heard it was implied that there will be a love triangle between the two but Gale doesn’t even appear in the movie that much and the other contestants…….they’re just here to show up and get killed. There’s no development between them considering we supposed to think they’re going to die anyway so hey, screw them.
The set designs in the movie held up as being futuristic once we enter the Capitol and it does look gorgeous and is quite the opposite of the broken-down look at any of the districts.
FINAL VERDICT: The Hunger Games actually turned out to be a good movie. Not a great one but I think if this attracts teenage girls, I rather them have Katniss as a female role model than what’s-her-face from the Twilight series, albeit the love triangle in here is very similar but hopefully not much. It’s not a perfect start to a franchise but maybe the light could get brighter at the long run.
The Hunger Games…
8/10 – Matinee.
Therefore, I am MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, from the district Tyro of the Spill Capitol.
THE HUNGER GAMES – courtesy of LIONSGATE.