The Hunger Games
Runtime 142 mins.
Disclaimer (I am a huge fan of the novels. This review is more or less to enlighten those who are not familiar with the books but curious about seeing the film adaptation. Yes, there are people who have not read the book! Let's not judge them.)
Based on the widely popular novel series by Suzanne Collins, the long awaited movie adaptation directed by Gary Ross finally hit theaters this past weekend. And rightfully so, the Lionsgate’s film has already broken box office records bringing in an impressive $155 million in ticket sales, the third-best debut ever for a film, behind the $169.2 million opening for 2011's "Harry Potter" finale, and the $158.4 million opening of 2008's "The Dark Knight."
With that being said, I shall release the inner fangirl - The movie was awesome!!
However, objectively I understand there are two distinct audience group: those who have read the novel and those who have not. I must stress that in many cases, feel that one need not to have read the graphic novels or books for any movie adaptation. But, in this rare instance, do believe that this film was not a separate entity to live and breathe on its own, but a true companion to the books - and for those movie goers who are not familiar with Collin’s work, may find themselves somewhat unsympathetic to some of the deaths or the progression of the plot in its entirety. But let’s break it down, regardless.
The setting is sometime in the future, after the fall of the United States, a dystopian society of sorts. Originally, there were thirteen districts, each contributing a vital resource, all delivered to the capital Panem. But after a rebellion was ignited in District 13, the area was extinguished and the remainder of the Districts forced to pay the consequences. As a reminder of District 13’s defiance, each District must now send two tributes, children from the ages of 12-17 chosen in a raffle to participate in a deadly game of survival where only one child will survive. It is here that Katniss Everdeen from District 12, volunteers in place of her younger sister Prim, who found the odds unfortunately in her favor. From here, things become a whirlwind of mayhem, as Katniss and the other tribute, Peeta Mellark, embark on their adventure to the capital to participate in the 74th Hunger Games, an event that is televised for the entire nation to watch. Without getting into every logistical aspect to the Hunger Games, think Rome in its height - The decadence, the immorality - People rooting for a gladiator, captivated by the blood sport. While they lead privileged lives, others suffer at the expense. This is much like the world in which the film is set in. You are not supposed to agree with the plot, nor should you feel that children murdering each other are an appropriate form of entertainment. But it is the underlying antagonism to the entire story and only the beginning. These games are the fuel to the small burning embers that will inevitably ignite and by the end of the film; you will have a better understanding of the direction of the story.
For those not familiar with the novels, I can only offer this. The film did a pretty good job of explaining things necessary to the plot. There are technological advances in this society, mixed with the same poverty that you see deep in the heart of the Appalachia Mountains. The acting is superb and heartfelt by the entire cast. But credit must go to the actress who held everyone’s heart throughout the movie. Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss Everdeen was nothing short of amazing. Her character is strong but nurturing and these qualities were very evident in Lawrence’s performance. I was mesmerized by her ability to capture the heart and soul of the novel. And since a majority of the film is spent in the Hunger Games, might add that the filmmakers did a very good job of depicting the horrors. The action was quick when need be and delayed in others, a perfect balance that is not overwhelming for those who would find the subject matter otherwise disturbing. In the end, I strongly feel that even if you have not read the novels, the movie will make sense as it is exceptionally well done. And for those who have read the novels, well… I know you already seen the film! So I leave you with this – Go see the movie and “may the odds be ever in your favor”, The Hungers Games will not disappoint.
Casting and Credit:
Directed by Gary Ross
Jennifer Lawrence – Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson – Peeta Mellark
Willow Shields –Prim Everdeen
Liam Hemsworth-Gale Hawthorne
Stanley Tucci-Ceasar Flickerman
Wes Bentley-Seneca Crane
Elizabeth Banks-Effie Trinkett