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The Hunger Games (DVD)
Member Name: beauty88
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Advantages: Interesting world, great acting from protagonists, fantasy combined with realism, gripping plot
Disadvantages: Poor acting from minor characters, possibly too scary for children in parts
The film is directed by Gary Ross and is based on the first of a trilogy of novels written by author Suzanne Collins. The books were written for young adults and the film has been given a 12A rating in the UK. It was previously given a 15 rating however certain scenes were removed in order to reduce this.
The film presents a future post-apocalyptic North America in which the control has been seized by a wealthy group leaving 12 other areas in poverty. These areas are called 'districts' and are cruelly controlled by the wealthy 'Capitol'. The Hunger Games is an annual event in which a boy and girl from each district are selected at random and are then trained in fighting and survival skills before competing in the games. The chosen children are called 'tributes'. The game involves the placement of the children in an artificial world controlled by the Capitol where they must all fight for survival, and ultimately fight to the death. The games are aired on television a bit like a reality television programme.
We follow 16 year old protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who volunteers as tribute for her district in place of her younger sister who is first selected. She is then joined by Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) who is selected as male tribute for their district. The plot then follows the training of the pair with their mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) The second half of the film is then entirely taken up by the games themselves in which the tributes are placed in a vast forest like land containing many natural hazards. We then watch the battles between the tributes and their fight for survival, and ultimately learn their fate.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, mainly because of the interesting storyline. I found the idea of a future world in which the rules we have now are literally turned over, really fascinating and very different. The film isn't fantasy as such yet is so far from the world we live in today that it borders on fantasy yet is very believable at the same time. The film came under criticism from some reviewers for being too unrealistic and some argued over how likely it was that such a world could be possible, even this far into the future. However this is a fiction therefore I think such close analysis of the likelihood of a future like this is a bit pointless.
Personally I enjoyed the fantasy element of the film and the fact that the world it presents is so far-fetched from our world today. But then the fantasy element is contained by the brutal reality of the rest of the film, which brings it back down to earth and makes is believable allowing the viewer to relate.
The storyline develops at a good pace, it is not fast paced for the first half but this is necessary as a good overview of the context needs to be given in order for the viewer to understand the situation. It allows plenty of time for introduction but without becoming boring, and I feel such an in-depth introduction was necessary. The second half of the film sees change in pace and the film starts moving very quickly which reflects well on the panic and rush encountered by the tributes when they are thrown into the games.
I also thought the film did really well in presenting a very dystopic reality, which I really felt while I was watching it. I genuinely felt sorry for the characters in the film who are victims to this harsh totalitarian regime. The story deliberately forces you to relate with the victims of the regimes by literally placing you in the shoes of Katniss allowing you to follow her every move and this meant I could really relate to her. This really added to my enjoyment of the film as I genuinely wanted her to survive and felt compassion for her situation.
I felt gripped by the plot and the time spent watching the film flew by so it hardly felt like I'd been there 5 minutes. I was also very curious about the ending which was conclusive but also had a sense of openness which I expected as there are still 2 more book-film adaptations to follow this.
There has been some coverage of the film in the news this week surrounding the outrage of parents whos children have been left scared and upset by the film. I don't have children myself so I'm not that aware of how they might react but I didn't find it to be a bit scary in parts and was quite surprised at its 12A rating. It doesn't directly show any graphic gore in great detail, however it indirectly shows some potentially disturbing scenes and in some cases features direct violence which it doesn't cover up in any way. For me this made it quite enjoyable, I'm not a fan of gore however this was minor and for me added to the film making it more sinister and scary. However I can understand young children finding it too scary.
The film also featured a few sub-stories for example the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, as well as the relationship between Katniss and a young tribute from another district called Rue, who become friends and protect eachother. The sub-stories give a softer element to the film and provide viewers with a few comforting scenes amongst the violence. However at the same time these scenes actually add to the horror of the whole situation, particularly because you know that ultimately only one of the tributes can survive.
The film deals with many issues however the most notable are those of death, loyalty and totalitarian regime. The film really makes you think and presents you with situations which you would usually avoid thinking about but forces you to consider what you would do if you were in their shoes. I liked this about the story and felt it made the experience more challenging and gave the story another dimension.
The main character in the film is Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence. I hadn't seen Lawrence in any films before so didn't have any previous opinions on her, but found she played this character tremendously well and was really impressed with her performance. I suppose the character wasn't exactly challenging as Katniss is essentially quite a normal girl, however I still think she did the character justice. As I haven't read the book I couldn't say if she does the book character justice, however I felt she suited the film.
I also rated the performance of Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket who is the Capitols controller of District 12. This was a more challenging character as everything from the way she dresses to the way she acts and speaks is odd and different, and I thought Banks played this out well. I also enjoyed the performance of Woody Harrelson who plays Haymitch Abernathy, the drunk mentor for District 12. He gave an amusing performance and was entertaining to watch.
However I wasn't impressed by the rest of the cast, I found Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Mellark a bit wooden and unconvincing. I found it difficult to relate to him and believe him so this spoilt it slightly for me. And I also found the performance of the other tributes embarrassingly bad, however fortunately they barely had any lines and weren't shown too often!! Therefore my view on the acting as a whole is mixed, however the main characters pulled it off really well and make up for the poor acting of the minor characters.
The majority of the film is set in the districts which really just look like underdeveloped housing in forest land, and the games which is also set in forest and park land. Therefore I doubt these landscapes required much work to re-create. However the scenes involving the Capitol where the rich controllers live shows an incredible future city which looks like nothing I've ever seen before. I thought the film created this world really well and it looked amazing.
I'm not a great fan of 3D films however I think this film would have quite suited it and am surprised that there wasn't a 3D version released.
I would describe this film as a semi-fantasy film which presents a world so different to ours yet so similar in other ways. I would recommend this film to anyone whom that appeals to. I thought the film presented a gripping storyline which revolves around a really interesting circumstance. It offers exciting action scenes combined with more emotional moments, giving it a perfect balance. I'll definitely watch it again and am looking forward to the next one!