Newest Review: ... which is a collection of 12 Districts. Each year the 'Capitol', who governs all 12 Districts holds the Games, in which a girl and boy age... more
Orwell's 1984 met Battle Royale and created a mediocre baby!
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Member Name: Kat1987
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Advantages: Association with book phenomenon, Woody Harrelson,
Disadvantages: Lack of explanantions, that are filled in by knowledge of the books.
The Hunger Games 
Released: 2012, Run-time: 142 minutes, Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction.
Film only review.
In a world divided into districts, governed by the Capitol and controlled by the Peace Keepers, 24 children, 12 boys and 12 girls will be chosen at random during 'The Reaping' and will fight to the death in a televised 'game show' designed to oppress the people and assert the authority of the Capitol. There can only be one winner of The Hunger Games.
It is the 74th Hunger Games and the children of District 12 anxiously await to hear their fate. Chosen at random, Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is announced as District 12's female 'tribute'. In an attempt to save the life of her younger sister 16 year old Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. An expression of love that appears alien in the totalitarian world of Panem. Katniss alongside Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), District 12's male 'tribute' head to the Capitol where they witness a lifestyle vastly different to the one at home. The Capitol contrasts starkly to the poverty stricken District 12. Everything in the Capitol glimmers, including the people and in particular their chaperone Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks). It is in the Capitol that Katniss and Peeta meet with their stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and their mentor, former Games winner and long term drunk Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). It is Haymitch and Cinna's job to prepare the duo for the realities of the battlefield but also to 'sell' the duo to the sponsors. Sponsors provide parcels to the tributes throughout the games and so how likeable you are or how well you sell yourself my play a vital role in your chances of survival. As Katniss, Peeta and the 22 other tributes prepare for battle there is only one question on everyone's mind. Who will win The Hunger Games?
I feel like I may get lynch mobbed but I didn't like this film. It has been massively over hyped and I found it a little bit boring. Having said that I am writing this as someone who hasn't read the books and from what I can gather this film is the set up for a much bigger storyline so I am being open minded about it and I will probably watch the rest of the films and will read the books as I feel that books are generally better than the films. My point is that I knew nothing about The Hunger Games prior to this film and this film didn't entertain me- I don't think the film was designed to get people involved in the trilogy, I think it was made for people already involved and that have read the books.
Why didn't I like it? I don't think it explained much about how this dystopian world was created, why everything is so different and who the capitol are. I felt like I was thrown into something I was expected to have knowledge of. I really enjoy a dystopian fantasy and I'm all about science fiction and so I've read Orwell's 1984 and seen Battle Royale and I feel like this was trying to be both but with none of the conviction. I know that the trilogy is classed as 'youth fiction' and I think this is where it falls apart. It has to be palatable for a youth audience but I think the concept of 'kill or be killed' and the exploration of what humans are capable of is an adult theme and so I feel it was dumbed down to fit the target audience. A great idea but I felt it was badly executed and has been done before. Knowing that this is part of a trilogy almost excuses it's lack of explanation as part of me is expecting the latter instalments to fill in the gaps. Anyone who has read the books or seen the film will know that there is a hint of a romantic storyline which leads me to think that is the direction in which the plot is heading and I feel that it may be jumping on the 'romance against the odds bandwagon' created by the Twilight enterprise and isn't something I would enjoy. So, my first impression of, The Hunger Games franchise didn't draw me in and I think the producers of the film maybe missed a trick there but it's not all doom and gloom some elements of the film were good.
I enjoyed the characters and although I would have liked more background, I felt they were believable in an unrealistic world. I enjoyed Elizabeth Banks performance as the slightly Tim Burton-esque Effie Trinket. I had only previously seen her in Role Models and this is quite a different role and I feel she did it well. A plus to not having read the books means that I don't have any preconceived notions of what the characters should look like however I felt the role of Katniss maybe a little off the mark. This is in no means disrespectful to Jennifer Lawrence, I enjoyed her acting and range of emotions she portrayed but she is very womanly in her figure for a supposed 16 year old and also looked very well maintained for a character living on the breadline. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was better cast. He was effortless at portraying Peeta's sensitive side but expressed the distrust that occasionally surrounds the character equally as well. Lenny Kravitz as warm-hearted Cinna made an impression and Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, the Parkinson of the Panem world, was very enjoyable and blended seamlessly into the bizarre world around him. I was excited about Woody Harrelson's role as I find him captivating and his choice of roles tends to be on the weird and wonderful side but I felt the character of Haymitch a little mundane. Harrelson played him well and accurately expressed the 'emotionally defensive but warm underneath' aspects of his character but I feel in general he was a little underused. I do hope he gets the chance to shine in further instalments.
The visual effects of the film were an interesting mix. I found the everyday aspects to be more enticing than the explosive elements. I enjoyed the views of the Districts and the Capitol far more than the explosive elements on the battle field. I found the 'big effects' to look a little fake and forced. I'm unsure if this was an intentional aspect of the 'game', another area where the film could have been clearer.
Overall I would describe The Hunger Games as watchable. It was a good concept but I feel it was made as an accompaniment to the novels rather than a film in it's own right. As the film explores themes of death, oppression, control and human capability for violence I would liked to have seen a little more 'uncomfortable' viewing to reflect the uncomfortable nature of the topics- and it's very rare I say things like that. I am aware that there maybe people reading this and screaming at me about how wonderfully this film fits in the larger picture and as I read the books and understand the rest of the story line my feelings in regards to this first film may completely change but as a film in it's own right I feel The Hunger Games was boring, predictable and underwhelming. It is the hype surrounding the trilogy that will encourage me to persevere not this film unfortunately.
Summary: Watchable but not particularly entertaining.