Movie Review: “The Hunger Games”

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games won’t leave you starving for more.

This wildly popular young adult novel turned movie adaptation needs no introduction now. With internet memes and a $155 million opening weekend draw, the whole world knows the powerful draw of this new, now surefire, movie franchise with the very marketable, important and awesome image of a “mockingjay” (a genetically engineered bird) holding an arrow as a pin.

The Hunger Games movie is based off of the first book. This is where the audience is introduced to Panem, the new post-apocalyptic country people inhabit in twelve different districts, and then the Capital. It is never described what kind of apocalypse occurred but as a result the Capital gained control over the twelve districts each with their own class distinctions, where twelve is one of the lowest classes. District 12 is where our heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) calls her shabby home.

This district is very poor and pretty much everyone is starving. Katniss learned how to hunt from her deceased father so she is well prepared to get food for her mother and younger sister Primrose. Her bow skills come in handy later during her volunteered entry into this country’s “Hunger Games” when her sister’s name is drawn from a jar. These are games run by the Capital essentially to remind the districts who is in charge and to prevent another uprising that could lead to another end-of-the-world scenario.

 

These “games” consist of two children aged 12-18 from each district who fight in a battle-to-the-death until there is a single winner. The subject matter is dark, incredibly disturbing, but handled with such ease, it leaves you astounded. It’s a near perfect recipe to a perfect movie.

1)      Add a dash of violence.

With a PG-13 rating many concerns revolved around the fact they would have to tone down the violence from the book and what kind of effect that would have to the story. I can tell you, it had no effect at all. In fact, the quick cuts from children stabbing or slicing each other made the scene more grisly as it made your imagination picture the horror within the battlefield.

2)      Mix in some crazy effects.

The audience is first introduced to a taste of the Capital through the emergence of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) in an outfit that looked like it was stolen from a costume used in a whimsical Tim Burton movie. It turns out the entire Capital dresses like that. (See above photo with the lady in pink and tell me that isn’t something that came from Tim Burton’s imagination).

The Capital’s technology that can control the battlefield from a safe distance is also spectacular. It makes you understand why they’re in control because if they are able to create giant, wild dogs from a computer to attack people in the battlefield, what else would they be capable of?

3)      Crack open a love triangle.

It seems love triangles are the latest trend in young adult fiction. This one is much less irritating than another popular love triangle in a successful movie franchise (the movie that shall not be named). We see Katniss and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) together first. He is a friend who likes to hunt with her, and well, they have good chemistry. You know who else has good chemistry? Peeta and Katniss. And there’s nothing that brings two people closer than fighting for their lives together…I would imagine. I’ve never experienced such a thing.

4)      Blend some of the best casting choices made this year.

Every single actor in this film was great. They suited their role to perfection. Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth (the brother to Thor’s star Chris Hemsworth), and Josh Hutcherson are now stars and they deserve to be. Hutcherson and Lawrence fit their parts perfectly, but I can’t just single them out. Stanley Tucci as the creepy but charismatic talk show host Caesar Flickerman, Elizabeth Banks as uptight Effie Trinket, Wes Bentley as the head Gamemaker, and Woody Harrelson as the damaged alcoholic sponsor Haymitch are stellar. May I also add there is no way anybody could be as good at being Haymitch as the always fantastic Woody Harrelson.

At 2 hours and 22 minutes this movie went on a bit long, but it was worth it. It’s a well blended movie that’s a definite must see for everyone. Not just kids 13 and above. The implicit allegory about society and the authentic relationships within this great story is something everyone can enjoy.

My Rating: 8/10

 

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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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