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Jan 17

The Hunger Games

hungergamesGenre: Action / Sci-Fi
Year: 2012
Country: USA

Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth

 

The games will change everyone

 

The Hunger Games is an annual competition where a young male and female are recruited from each of the twelve districts of Panem to fight against each other until there is only one survivor left. These events are broadcast and manipulated by the television company throughout the entire country.

From District 12, the poorest of them all comes Katniss Everdeen. She becomes te first volunteer, something she only did because her little sister was originally chosen for the part. She, together with the young boy Peeta Mellark are taken to the Capitol for training, presentation to the audience and eventually to fight for their lives.

Out of these seven popular 2012 blockbusters, this was the one I had the biggest expectations for. The only thing I knew about it was that it had some sort of Battle Royale premise set in the future, making me think that I might have a Battle Royale meets The Running Man film on my hands. And if it perhaps didn’t capture the dramatic sense of such a violent premise, perhaps it could be as entertaining as the Schwarzenegger film.

Sadly, this has neither. This future North America is hard to actually believe in. The rich are dressed up in some of the most laughable futuristic costumes I have seen since The Fifth Element. The poor have gone back to wearing outfits from the 1800’s and live out in the woods where they struggle to get food but fancy TV projectors are common. It’s not made clear if these over the top costumes are made that way on purpose, but I’ll give the filmmakers some benefit of the doubt on that part and hope they just wasn’t able to show that it was meant as a comment on our fashion loving world of today, whatever comment that would be.

It’s also not very clear exactly how this violent game keeps the peace in the nation. It’s said that the games provide hope, hope of what exactly? Such things are of course overlooked when you enjoy a movie and I did not enjoy this film that lasted around two and a half hour, at least a half hour too long than it needed to be.

Gary Ross is the director behind this film and he had directed Pleasentville and Seabiscuit before this one. Neither of which I have seen. I think he did a poor job here, he couldn’t get anything out of his actors and the action sequences are done poorly with very shaky camera everything something happens. That way of filming makes it easier to get away with violence regarding young teenagers, but it’s a violent premise and it should show more, or rather anything than the confusion shots we get to see here.

The entire film is shown from the perspective of the main character Katniss, played by the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence. I haven’t seen her in anything else yet, but I have read that she is an up and coming actress that might be the next hot thing in Hollywood. She is very easy on the eyes, but I don’t think she did much with her role here. She has the same facial expression throughout the entire film and she gets by with her natural charm.

I also thought her character was a cheap and easy way to make a hero. We are supposed to cheer for Katniss simply because she comes from a poor area and she sacrificed herself for her sister. But what about the other teenagers? Why aren’t we supposed to care for most of them? Some of them are made out to be sadistic villains, but what about the rest? Why weren’t they important enough for us to get to know? The film sure runs long enough to make us know every one of the participants and it would also make their deaths more heartfelt for the audience if their parts actually meant something.

Instead they tried to add some romance to the film, setting up for a potential drama between one girl and two men in the upcoming sequel. Before the games start, the participants are also warned on how they are most likely to die of starvation, infections or stuff like that. The games go on quite quickly and very little starving is actually seen in this film, something that is quite funny considering the title of it.

The Hunger Games was sadly a huge disappointment for me. It fails on having a social commentary, it fails in its directing and acting and when the credits run the only thing that came to my mind was that this is a waste of time. It’s based on a book and even though I haven’t read it, I would still recommend to go read that one instead of seeing this film.

 

 ★½☆☆☆ 

 

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