Somewhere in the future where humanity lives in 12 Districts (sadly the 9th District does not have aliens) after an apocalypse of sorts, there is a televised reality tournament fighter called "The Hunger Games" where young people from each district are chosen and made to fight one another to the death, the victor will win a questionable prize. In District 12, a sixteen-year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to fight in the place of her sister along with the other competitor, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). They are trained for the death match by former drunken victor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) as they must not only fight to survive but also to make themselves sellable to receive supplies from sponsors to stay alive. With dangers all around in the competition, only one can survive…and thankfully for us it's nobody we can give a rat's ass about.
Coming off from the successful end of the Harry Potter franchise and the nearing end of the Twilight movies, Suzanne Collins' popular series of teenage novels have sold astonishingly well. I myself have never read them but from what I heard, they are really good books. I went into this film with low expectations, the high praise from critics about this film, and a theatre full of noisy talkative Jr. High schoolers (it was the only way to get into the theater without paying a dime, don't ask how). So, does it hold up?
To sum it up: it's "The Running Man" meets "Rambo."
Good night everyone!
Oh all right, I'll go in depth.
The Story: The whole "people chosen to fight in the games" felt very Running Man to me. The whole film felt really predictable for me; I felt I could predict before the scene even happened what would occur. An example of this is where this crazy knife bitch goes after Katniss and threatened to slit her throat and, what else does she do? She talks about it of course! Film cliche #28: if you're gonna talk about killing the main character, that just gives the main character ample amount of time to fight back. I was practically counting under my breath in the theater when the knife bitch would get killed off. and just after counting down from 5; surprise! the knife bitch dies. Oh joy, like we never saw that coming. What was her name again?
But to be fair, the pacing is not too bad. As predictable and cliched as I've made it sound, it's intense in it's action, it's flat in it's political message (at least to me, but from what I hear, the third book is heavy in politics) but I think for people who haven't seen films like "The Running Man" or the dismal 2009 rip-off "Gamer", this might appeal to them.
Characters: The majority of the characters in this film are boring as asparagus, I mean, hell, I don't even know their names. But with names that are silly enough to begin with; Katniss, Peeta, Kato: maybe it was a good thing I didn't even know who these people are because their names probably would have been just as stupid or even stupider. Even the characters that we're supposed to care for, like the small girl named Rue; I really didn't feel anything for her. I know she was suppose to be the 12 year-old character to represent Katniss' younger sister but I really felt like I barely got enough time to connect and know her. The most that we get is this scene where this ethnic-heavy district rebelling against their government because of her death, which is supposed to be allegorical, but for me, just made me say "woah, dude, calm down! you got one more guy in the game! Chill out!" You might say it's something important for the future books, but I'm focusing on the now than the future.
Katniss was okay, but I felt Jennifer Lawrence was channeling more of her character from "Winter's Bone" from the beginning of the film than an original character that I've seen before. Gale was as dull as a butcher knife, everyone else did what they had to for what the script called for. I barely know their names and I barely feel for them. Moving on.
Production: Cinematography looks nice. Music is all right. Costumes are like a strange mixture of something from "Moulin Rouge!" or rejected Marilyn Manson costumes.
My biggest gripe I have with this film is the shaky camera-work and editing. I actually had a long tirade about the camerawork and editing ready but I was notified by someone who read the books that that was how it was written, so I can accept that, to an extent. But I will say, the editing wasn't as hectic as "Gamer" was, but there were moments I wanted to yell out "tripods are your friend cameraman!"
Overall: I really wanted to like "The Hunger Games." I never read the books, which I hear are amazing, and I wanted this film to give me a reason to do so and it never gave me the same strong prompting that the Harry Potter films did back then. The acting is nothing really brag-worthy but it's enough to get the actors to where they need to be for what the story (which could be better adapted from book to film in my opinion). It's just a film that perfectly fits the "okay" ratting for me. It may appeal to others, but it just didn't do it for me. If you're a fan of the book, this may or may not appeal your appetite. If you're looking for the next line of teenage movies based off books to get into, check it out. If you're a casual movie goer, wait till DVD.