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Mike Wilder brings you movie reviews. Each week a Selection of reviews for new releases and older films plus movie comparisons.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Review of The Hunger Games (2012) by Mike

Title: The Hunger Games (2012) (Minor Spoilers)

Original UK Release Date: 23rd March 2012

Original US Release Date: 23rd March 2012

UK Rating: 12

US Rating: PG-13

Director: Gary Ross

Genre: Action/Drama

Plot: In a future society, 12 districts are forced to send one male and one female between the ages of 12-18 to the Capital to fight in the Hunger Games until only one is left alive and declared the winner.

Mike's Review

            This was an interesting film, the marketing was excellent and I wanted to see it even though I knew almost nothing about it. I knew it was based upon a novel but I hadn’t read it. Jennifer Lawrence plays the lead of Katniss Everdeen and in my review of X-Men: First Class, I put her as the stand out performance of the film. I could see that she had something special, but would she be up to the task of carrying the whole film? Would my prediction about her be right?

            The film is about a girl Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who volunteers to fight in the Hunger Games taking the place of her younger sister. Competitors in the games are forced to fight to the death until only one is left standing.

            There have been many films about people hunting people from Hard Target (1993) with Jean-Claude Van Damme to Surviving the Game (1994) staring Ice-T. The one that is most similar in style is the Japanese classic Battle Royale (2000). It also has youths forced to fight to the death, but where that film was purely designed for adults to shock and horrify you, Hunger Games is based on a book for teenagers and so is the film.

            This was a very good film and for the most part it was beautifully shot. The actors in this are perfectly cast which includes Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Wes Bentley, Paula Malcomson, Amandla Stenberg & Elizabeth Banks. Once again Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding, this time as the lead. Her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen is captivating. She has a great skill in drawing the audience in and making a connection with them. As with her performance in X-Men: First Class, her skill in portraying emotions comes over amazingly.

            The film is a great visual treat, with a good story. However as good as the film is, the film makers failed in the transition from book to screen.

Minor Spoilers

The book is set from the perspective of Katniss who is telling the story. However this is not the case with the film. It is just a story. The film really loses a lot from changing the format. With the book you get a lot of the history of the Hunger Games and you understand what they are all about. With the film this is missed out and barely covered in a small written intro. All the film needed to do was to have Katniss telling the story at least up until the point where her sister is chosen. Her giving a background narrative over the start of the film would have made a perfect introduction. The way it was done left me as a viewer without the necessary information I felt was needed to create an emotional connection to the characters and the story. Fortunately for me I started to read the book the night before the viewing as I had read that the film was a little vague during the opening scenes. This gave me the background that unfortunately the viewers of the film wouldn’t necessarily have.

Minor Spoilers end

The intentionally shaky camera shots get a bit too much at times and the lack of blood and carnage is a little too unbelievable and while overall this is a good film, it could have been a great film. If you have already read the book you should enjoy the film more than if you haven’t.

8 out of 10 if you haven’t read the book

9 out of 10 if you have read the book.

Additional Information

Stand out performance: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen


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