Thursday, April 26, 2012

Movie Review: Hunger Games

Hunger Games follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl who lives in a fictional post-apocalyptic world called Panem. This fictional world is divided into 12 districts. Each year the districts must send two of their children (age 12-18) to the Hunger Games. During the Hunger Games, all the children will die except one winner. This event is meant to remind the districts that they are controlled by the Capitol. This book is part of a trilogy and has been immensely popular in book sales. I read all three books last summer and I had been looking forward to the movie for quite some time. The trailer gave me the chills every time I saw it.

If you haven't seen it yet:

Now, onto my review. The first thought I had when I left the theatre was, "wow, that was fantastic acting!" It's unfortunate that this series is being compared to Twilight because it is so different from that set of books. The themes, messages, characters, etc. are all so unique. However, I see the similarities in terms of the target audience and sudden mass appeal of the franchise. Both books seemed to sky rocket out of no where and suddenly everyone was reading it. So, with that said, I will try not to compare The Hunger Games to The Twilight series in this review but I will begin by saying that compare the Twilight, the acting in The Hunger Games is far superior. Actors like Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Wes Bentley complete the older group of characters. These actors provide a real depth to the film and new comers like Jennifer Lawrence (who, at only 21, has already been nominated for her fantastic role in Winter's Bone where she plays a very Katniss-like character), Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson can easily play against these highly developed actors.

The film is gorgeous. Director Gary Ross does a fabulous job of depicting three very distinct world, District 12, The Capitol and the arena. The world he has created is all encompassing. I am so thankful that the film opted to remain 2D as opposed to 3D. Ross was adamant that the franchise would remain 2D but with Ross now out and a new director on the horizon who knows if this will remain to be true.

The only possible downside of this film is that it is not a stand alone film. It really works in conjunction with the books. There are a lot of innuendos that would be lost of viewers who have not read the book (this is also a widely criticized fault of the Harry Potter series). However, as an avid reader I would say that this is a positive for the book community because it will (hopefully) push viewers who would not otherwise read the book to pick it up.

Overall, I would say that this film is a fantastic depiction of The Hunger Games. It speaks to the audience of the books and, while not overly violent, it stays true to the violent themes in the book.

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