Newest Review: ... Ross, Billy Ray Directed By: Gary Ross Running Time: 2hr. 22 mi Age Rating: PG, 13 Cinema Release: Mar 23, 2012 DVD Release: Aug 8, 2012 US... more
Happy Hunger Games!
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Member Name: louisechackett
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Advantages: gripping story which keeps your interest
Disadvantages: a few dodgy effects
The Hunger Games is a screenplay which is based on the novel with the same name written by Suzanne Collins. I can say I was completely unaware of the books until I saw a preview of the film and then seemed to notice book shops all over advertising the books in their windows.
The Hunger Games focuses on a brutal ritual in which two tributes from each of twelve different districts must be put against each other in a staged arena in which there must only be one survivor. This ritual has become an annual occurrence after people in the district rebelled against the Capitol and a war broke out which the Capitol eventually won. As a reminder of what may occur should the districts rebel once more and of their power the Capitol have a ceremony in which a boy and a girl aged from twelve to eighteen from each district must take part in the Hunger Games.
In district twelve Katniss Everdeen is a good hunter and after her Father died takes care of her mother and younger sister Primrose by shooting various birds and animals with her friend Gale and then selling them on to richer people in the district. She is a strong character and so when her younger and more vulnerable sister is chosen to take part in the Hunger Games Katniss does all she can think of and volunteers to take her place. She is accompanied by Peeta Mellark who is the baker's son and long time admirer of Katniss. Of course there are twenty two other tributes from the other eleven districts whom they must go head to head with in the arena in the Capitol and some of these people have been trained all their lives for this moment and volunteer to go to the Hunger Games knowing it is likely they will win. They are known as the career tributes. I do not want to spoil the plot or the ending of the film for people by saying much more than this.
Kaniss is played by Jennifer Lawrence who to me was completely unknown before seeing this film and I would imagine she is not well known by many people to be honest as she hasn't done much work prior to the Hunger Games. For me though she plays the part of Katniss so very well as I think it is clear to see that whilst Katniss tries to be so strong for her family she does have this element of vulnerability where I suppose she would just like to be able to have a normal sort of life rather than to care for her family following the loss of her Father and her Mother's depression. Katniss is initially very difficult to like as she puts up this hard front and seems almost arrogant at points but as you go on with the film she really grows on you and you can tell perhaps she just doesn't think she CAN be liked and so you are really rooting for her to do well so that she can go home. Credit must be given to the actress for portraying what I have read in the books so well as she gives a real insight in to what Katniss is actually like. The casting agent did an excellent job in choosing Jennifer Lawrence for the role as I personally think from reading the book that she is exactly how I picture Katniss to be.
Peeta Mellark is played by Josh Hutcherson and again this was an actor whom I was completely unfamiliar with but I like that because it gives me a bit of a blank canvas as I am not thinking "well he was like this in such and such a film". Again credit must be given to whoever cast Josh as Peeta as I think he plays the sweet yet focussed boy so very well. Peeta in the film has a bit of a thing for Katniss and plays on this for the people of the Capitol and at first Katniss is furious about this but as the audience we can see how it is genuine and how utterly heart breaking and unfair it is that they must be put in to the situation together especially as Peeta is aware that Katniss is better equipped than him to survive the games.
The only actor I actually knew properly in the film was Woody Harrelson who plays Haymitch, the drunk man who once won the games for district twelve and so is Katniss and Peeta's mentor for the games. Whilst initially you think that Haymitch is going to be a useless drunk you do come to realise he is rooting for those kids and will do all he can to make sure they are fully prepared for what they are about to face. There are some actors whom I recognised but was unsure where from. I was impressed with all of the casting and acting though throughout the film and this was more apparent as I read the book as I could totally see why a certain person had been cast in a certain role.
The film have certain similarities to Romeo and Juliet I have to say as it follows the star crossed lovers plot with Katniss and Peeta and whilst you start the film thinking how on earth can this possibly work it is nice to see how the film develops and you do kind of start rooting for them whilst they are in the Hunger Games arena. What I do find a little odd though is as much as I was rooting for Peeta with regards to winning the girl I was also thinking about a boy back in district twelve who despite being Katniss's hunting partner and friend I feel there is something more to come with her and Gale. I haven't actually started the second book yet so I don't know if I am completely off track with that but it was just something which stood out to me as I was watching the film.
What I found great about the film was the eccentricity portrayed by all of the people who reside in the Capitol. People in the Capitol are clearly very rich and actually have bets on who will win the televised Hunger Games. A perfect example of the kind of person who resides in the Capitol is Effie Trinket who is there to help guide Katniss and Peeta through the preparation for the games. The people living in the Capitol can be used as sponsors to send in relief for their chosen tribute too and so it is important to get them to like or root for you. I was quite bemused as I began watching the film to see people with gigantic green and black eye lashes, or men with multi coloured hair, or old ladies with the funkiest looking clothes and hair and make up that you could imagine but then I realised that this is simply going to show that they have all these lovely things and their lives are so far away from that of those living in the surrounding districts. This is portrayed nicely by scenes on the train on the way in to the Capitol where the tributes have access to all the most wonderful foods and drink that they could only dream of eating at home yet this is the norm to those already living in the Capitol.
As the film is a 12A it is censored more than perhaps it could have been but to be honest I still find it pretty shocking and gory in places when the tributes go head to head and so I would certainly advise you to be mindful of this. The film isn't all blood and gore though and varies from being quite slow paced at the start before the tributes get to the arena to some action packed moments once they are in there. It can be quite still at times though and there are nice moments with friendship and trust which split up the parts where you see the bad side of people who are faced with fight or die.
The quality of filming in the film for the most part is excellent and portrays well the almost sci-fi set up of the Capitol and its inhabitants as well as the poverty of some of the other districts. During the Hunger Games itself there is the odd bit of camera action which I found a little hard to watch as it would go very blurry or a bit erratic but I suppose this was to enhance the mood of things occurring on the screen at that time but for me it was a little unnecessary.
The film ends on a note which really makes you want to know what will happen next and so I have to say that I am quickly working my way through the last few chapters of the book so that I can start on the second one and find out what happens! It is not very often that a film grabs my attention so much and the last time this happened was when I saw Twilight for the first time and soon became hooked! I felt when I watched this film that I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen as it just felt so unfair that these children were being made to kill each other just to survive. As much as I know it isn't real life it does make you kind of think about what kinds of things go on that we aren't aware of in our own lives too.
I would certainly recommend that you go and see this film if not just to see something different to what you have seen before. For me, and all of my friends I have spoken to about the film so far, it is a great film which will have you wanting to reach for the books if you haven't already done so! It does last for 142 minutes which I appreciate is quite a long time but it doesn't feel like it lasts so long and I don't think it has been dragged out or that anything unnecessary has been included in there. Whilst I wouldn't say that you need to have read the book before watching the film to understand it I did find that on my second viewing I picked up on more smaller aspects which I had read about in the books and so it wouldn't do any harm to read the books too.
Thank you for reading my review!
Summary: A fabulous film!