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A very good adaptation but the book is even better
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Member Name: helenc72
The Hunger Games (DVD)
Date: 04/10/12, updated on 04/10/12 (46 review reads)
Advantages: Action packed, emotional, quite true to the book, good effects
Disadvantages: A few elements of the book are glossed over quickly due to time
Most people reading this will probably already have an idea of what the Hunger Games is about but for those who don't I will summarise it very briefly. It is set in a dystopian future country called Panem which is split into districts led by the Capitol. Years ago the districts tried to rebel and failed. As a reminder of that now each year a brutal game show is held on TV. Two young people from each district, a boy and a girl, are randomly selected and put into an arena to fight to the death and only one victor may remain. Katniss Everdeen is the main character and she volunteers to take part in the games to take the place of her younger sister wo is selected. We see her progress along with the boy from her district, Peeta Mellark.
Obviously the film has to miss some bits from the book as it has time constraints and cannot possibly be as detailed. Bearing that in mind, I was pleased there was ample time devoted to the events before the actual games begin. For the first hour of the film, we see the "reaping" where the tributes (players) are selected, get to know district 12 and see where Katniss comes from, and we see the life in the Capitol where Katniss and Peeta are taken to train. I felt this was fairly true to the book. The stark contrast between the luxury and excess in the Capitol and the life of poverty in the outer districts was visually shown quite clearly as we see the sick excitement of those who see the games as a sport and entertainment, compared with the fear of all the district 12 children waiting for the reaping. District 12 is always shown in very grey and grim colours. The reaping scene is very emotional and we clearly see the bond between Katniss and her sister, as Katniss volunteers to take her place. The one omission which I have seen people complaining about is the story of how Katniss got her mocking jay badge. This was simplified to remove an extra character and make it shorter. Personally I did not have a problem with this.
There was some attempt to show the back story between Katniss and Peeta but I feel this may have been a bit unclear for anyone who has not read the book. In the book the past story about Peeta giving her some bread was very clear and often referred to but in the film there were just some slightly confusing flashbacks until it is referred to very much later. The relationship and confusion between the two, whether to trust each other, what they are really thinking etc was shown quite well, and the conflict between Katniss feelings for Peeta and her old friend Gale was hinted at but not developed in depth.
Once the games in the arena begin, the film becomes action packed. There are impressive effects such as the fire that sweeps through the arena after Katniss. Also we clearly see how the game makers are manipulating everything in the arena, by designing every detail e.g. moving a tree into Katniss' path, setting the fire, placing obstacle in their way. I think it's quite a shocking idea and it works well on film.
Some of the other tributes are not developed as much as in the book but that is to be expected. The most important relationship in the arena, apart from with Peeta, was that with Rue and this was done well. Rue is a little girl who is picked as tribute and she forms an alliance with Katniss. Katniss seems to take to her as she reminds her of her younger sister. It is quite emotional how this relationship is shown and it came across genuinely. I was impressed with Jennifer Lawrence, the actress who plays Katniss.
As Katniss and Peeta start to work together, we see their potential relationship developing more. The action continues and there is suspense throughout up until the end.
I would definitely recommend this film, although as it is quite emotional at times and deals with death and violence I would say it is not really a children's film and is not suitable for younger children. The film is classified 12 with I think is about right. There is no bad language or sex or anything in it and I think the rating is purely for the subject matter and violence.
I preferred the book but I do think this is a very good film adaptation of it.
Summary: A good film version