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The Hunger Games Review (2012)

The Hunger Games Review

 

  The Hunger Games is the first movie in a planned trilogy based on the Suzanne Collins novels of the same name. I would like to preface this review by acknowledging that I have not read any of the novels in the trilogy. My review is solely based upon my experience with the movie.

 

  The movie is set in the future after an unknown apocalyptic event that has left the world in ruin, sometime after the apocalypse the nation of Panem rose up in North America consisting of thirteen districts.

 

  Less than a century ago the nation of Panem experienced a terrible civil war which leads to the destruction of District Thirteen. The Hunger Games were created to commemorate the end of the Panem Civil war, and as a reminder of the governments control over the twelve remaining districts.

 

  Every year twenty-four contestants (known as tributes) between the ages of twelve and eighteen compete in The Hunger Games. Each district participates selecting one male and one female citizen of the appropriate age at random to compete. The Hunger Games is a televised survival/fight to the death over a two week period with only one survivor being crowned the victor. Think of the game show as Survivor on steroids.

 

There can only be one survivor

There can be only one survivor!

 

  After a few minutes of exposition we are taken to District 12 in the Appalachian Mountains, were we meet our protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who is trying to calm down her sister Primrose (Willow Shields) who has just turned twelve and is terrified of being selected for the games.

 

  Katniss goes off hunting to find food for her family when her best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) comes along scaring off the first deer that she has seen in a year, they discuss the coming Hunger Games and how they wish they could just run away, but they both know that any attempt to run would be futile.

 

Katniss and Gale

 

  After her sister is randomly selected for the games, Katniss volunteers to take her place, while another local boy named Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutchherson) who once showed kindness to Katniss is also selected to represent District 12 in the games.

 

  With the tributes from district 12 selected for the 74th annual Hunger Games, the film continues on to a scene where Katniss is given few brief moments to privately say goodbye to her family and friends before heading out to the capital of Panem for training.

 

The original Hunger Games

The original hunger games.

 

  On the train ride to the capital we meet a former District 12 champion of the Hunger Games named Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) who is brought in to mentor both Katniss and Peeta.

 

  The transition from District 12 to the capital is quite startling, little has changed in the intervening centuries for the poor coal miners of the Appalachians, you could visit one of the poor towns in that region now and get a very real sense of what District 12 life would be like if food was scarcer.

 

  Once we reach the capital we are introduced to a modern city straight out of a Final Fantasy game, the style choices and visuals for the city itself are very well done, however many of the citizens of the capital look like they took their style and color cues from an Anime series.

 

The Hunger Games style

Style in the future varies... a lot.

 

  The arena for the games is set in a forest, but it was hard to tell if the Hunger Games took place in a real forest or if in fact they might have been placed into a holodeck like device, this assumption is due to the way that the broad cast team are able to manipulate both the environment and predators present within the arena.

 

the director

 

  Much like a season of the game show Survivor, we see groups of competitors forming alliances to eliminate other contestants. Can Katniss survive this deadly game and return home?

 

  I have seen a lot of press comparing this series to the Twilight series and about the only things these two seem to have in common thus far, is that there is a love triangle and that the novels where originally written for young adults.

 

  The acting and direction in the Hunger Games is far superior to anything seen in the Twilight movies. Jennifer Lawrence is able to emote quite effectively, while Kristen Stewart on the other hand...

 

Kristen Stewart

I would like to thank the Academy for not giving her an Oscar.

 

  Although Woody Harrelson does not have a ton of lines or scenes as Haymitch Abernathy, this maybe some of the best acting I have seen from him.

 

  Well Hollywood was counting on this one to be a success and I do believe that they got the formula right this time. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to keep up the highs that this film featured throughout the rest of the planned trilogy.

 

   Final verdict for The Hunger Games 8/10. May the odds ever be in your favor.

 

 ~Professor

 

 

 

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