The Hunger Games (2012): Review


Director Gary Ross had his work cut out trying to create a film which brought to life the startling realism of Suzanne Collins’ successful trilogy of novels and here we have the first, The Hunger Games.

This film has come at a time where movie fans have been released from the clawing hooks of the Harry Potter franchise and the finale of the Twilight Saga is now on the horizon. Some would say, it’s the perfect time to begin a new franchise and for the most part, they’re right. Move over witches and vampires, there’s a new, more mature kid ready to take your crowns.

I for one went into The Hunger Games trilogy blindfolded. I have not read the books so this review is purely based on the film I saw before me and I must say; I was mightily impressed.

The film is set some way in the future and the world is a much different place; in a place called Panem (a post-apocalyptic North America) is where we find 12 Districts full of variety with different races living alongside each other, just as we have today. However, there is a more sinister side to things as we learn that once a year; The Hunger Games tournament takes place.

For those of you not familiar with the event itself, here’s a brief description. Each year, one boy and one girl aged between 12 and 18 from each district fights to the death until there is one winner, showered with riches for the remainder of their lives.

Jennifer Lawrence of X-Men First Class fame stars as Katniss Everdeen, a plucky young girl brought up in the coal mining community of District 12. After her young sister is picked to represent District 12, she decides the only thing to do is nominate herself and save her from certain death. Her male counterpart is Peeta Mellark played by a mature looking Josh Hutcherson of Journey to the Centre of the Earth fame.

Once the pair have been selected, they are taken to Capitol, a city brimming with the wealthy, a stark contrast to the coal mining community our District 12 heroes come from. Woody Harrelson stars as a previous winner of the games and the District 12 mentor, he takes it upon himself to train the ‘tributes’ and prepare them for the task ahead.

Once in battle, all chaos ensues and this is where the film begins to partially unravel. The actors and actresses all do excellent jobs, in particular Lawrence plays Katniss exceptionally well, her soft side comes through but you never forget her harsher, hunter like persona. Unfortunately, the action is held back by the ridiculous 12A certification the film has been lumbered with. It has become the case, as with The Woman in Black earlier this year that films based on best-selling and well known books or with teen stars have to be given this frankly dire classification. The violence is toned down to such a level that it becomes unrealistic and from what I have read, The Hunger Games is a much more brutal and unforgiving experience as a novel.

Other negatives include some shoddy CGI and too much hand based camera work, the battles at the beginning of the games are messy and not enjoyable to sit through. It’s a disappointing lapse in a film which is actually very good indeed.

Thankfully, the lengthy running time allows the final third to pick up nicely to leave you with a lasting impression.

The Hunger Games had the unenviable task of being on the receiving end of comparisons to Harry Potter and the Twilight franchises, and to an extent it has done its source material proud. Does it live up to the much-loved world of Hogwarts? Probably not. Does it live up to the lust and romance of the Twilight Saga? Most definitely. It sits, right smack in the middle and that’s not a bad place to be.

Gary Ross has produced a fine blockbuster with excellent performances from the cast and some fabulous design choices. Yes, it’s a little too long, there are some shoddy special effects and the character development lacks depth, but for fans of the series and newcomers alike, it moves the game on and is an enjoyable experience.

Category

Scoring /10

Story/Plot

7

Acting

8

Special Effects/Cinematography

6

Soundtrack

7

Costume Design

7

Script/Dialogue

7

TOTAL /60

42

Overall: A wonderful treat for fans of the books.

3 thoughts on “The Hunger Games (2012): Review

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