Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Hunger Games - Review

Director: Gary Ross

Certificate: 12A

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci

Rating: 4/5

Most people would find it difficult to kill someone, but what if you were thrown into a survival of the fittest, fight to the death game of extreme slaughter in the wilderness that was used as a means of entertaining the masses in the future? I imagine you’d probably be ok with it. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games has been adapted by director Gary Ross, which tells the story of such a world where twenty-four children from across the twelve districts of a dystopian America are placed into a last-man-standing fight to the death competition. The twenty-three losers die; the winner obtains their life – very simple. The story follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who enters the Hunger Games as a volunteer in order to save her younger sister from the brutality of the competition and almost certain death. She, along with the male contender from District 12, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), leaves their impoverished district to head for the wealthy Capitol where they are to be trained by former Hunger Games champion Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). Attempting to gain popularity from the audience prior to the games, the cold and emotionless Katniss must learn to get the public to like her and obtain sponsorship and be provided with assistance during the games if she is to ever survive.

As a viewer who has never read Collin’s novels, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed the film. The exhausting action sequences combined with the isolation felt by the competitors was brilliantly depicted on screen. I didn’t initially warm to Katniss as a character, which I suppose is intentional, as she is meant to seem distant and independent, however, as the game progressed and we saw her true character, I thought that Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant in the role. Woody Harrelson was hilarious and powerful as the former champion come mentor who has become an alcoholic mess due to his retirement – similar to many sports celebrities when you think about it. Other that the cast, the energy of the film was brilliant: despite a few long drawn out sequences of romances between Peeta and Katniss which allowed the viewer to breath, the action sequences and combat scenes of sword play and archery were very impressive. With reported increases in the sales of toy bows and arrows, along with an interest in archery schools and shooting range visits the film obviously triggers the adventurer and the Legolas gene within each audience member.

My only criticism of the film is that despite being a 12A, I actually found The Hunger Games a big too violent for the certificate. I mean it is not bloody violence, but breaking a child’s neck and watching other young adults get killed in imaginative and brutal ways is potentially off putting for some viewers. It doesn’t personally bother me, I still thought the death scenes were creative and well executed, but I just feel that caution should be advised when showing this film to children. Saying that, I loved the film and for the first time after seeing novel adapted to the screen, I am actually eager to read the original material. With a sequel planned for the near future, I will be raiding my nearest book store to purchase Collin’s Hunger Games series to be able to enjoy the future films as a viewer who is a true fan boy of the series.

So have you seen the Hunger Games? Are you looking forward to the sequels? Has the film made you want to become a real life warrior? Comment below or contact me via twitter

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