Movie Review: The Hunger Games

In recent years, kids have generally stopped reading as much. With the constant distractions of social networking and television shows, our generation has really shied away from leisure reading. You could debate this point, arguing that tools like the internet have provided kids with a wider array of accessible texts like: magazines, newspapers, blogs, and online books. However, when you think of your average weekend, chances are the majority of your time was spent watching sports or chatting with friends on Facebook.

One of the new reading ‘revival’ series, so to speak, is the Hunger Games Trilogy. Since the nineties, several similar series have been tremendous successes, such as: Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, The Eragon Series, and more. Even though these books will probably not show up on the average American Literature curriculum (Harry Potter is a dream for me, though), these texts have marked a monumental change in this technological era, bringing kids back to books.

The Hunger Games movie adaptation hit theatres Friday, March 23, earning a $155 million opening weekend, certainly an impressive feat. I was fortunate — or perhaps unfortunate — enough to have been able to get tickets and see the 9:30 pm showing two Saturdays ago. From the perspective of a movie critic, and not a reader, I thought that the Hunger Games was disappointing. Granted, I never got around to reading the series, but strictly from a cinematic point of view, the movie lacked several key components that I believe are essential for a classic film.

For starters, I think that this dystopian, post-apocalyptic society is mysterious and enthralling, but seriously lacking in explanation. What events had preceded this new nation, or series of districts as they are called, and how had things become so desolate in this world? Instead of taking a minute or two, which is not a lot to ask from this two hour and twenty two minute long film, to explain some of the background, the Hunger Games launches into the story with convoluted swiftness. The confusion ensues when Effie Trinket, the announcer and escort for the district 12 tributes, walks on the drawing stage in something close to full jester regalia, resembling a French noble in 17th century Mardi Gras garb. Perhaps the author Suzanne Collins described her as such, something I don’t know, but if not, IMDB needs to add ‘comedy’ to the movie’s categories, especially as these outfits become the clear fashion of the Capitol.

I will say that Jennifer Lawrence, playing the protagonist Katniss Everdeen, does a very good job in her role (did anyone notice her resemblance to Anna Popplewell who played Susan in the Chronicles of Narnia movies?). Her realness and interpretation of the part was believable, a crucial necessity for any movie. As a young and resourceful girl, Katniss identifies herself as a hunter-gatherer and an individual who cares deeply for her younger sister. On the other hand, Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, seems to struggle to radiate any sort of convincing acting. The son of a baker in District 12, Peeta reveals his adoration for Katniss, publicly, before the games even begin. You may remember Josh Hutcherson from the 2010 film “The Kids Are All Right” where he managed to accurately create a young, confused, and angst-filled teenager. But in the Hunger Games, this 5’5 ft, 19 year old just doesn’t fit the profile. Peeta still seems like a strange choice for Katniss’ lover (yes I know the relationship isn’t mutual!) even when multiple high school girls have recognized Gale Hawthorne, friend of Katniss, as the drastically more handsome character (at least in the film.)

I think lastly, the conclusion of the actual fighting was anti-climactic. The so-called “Gamekeepers” tinker constantly and meddle to such a large extent that the Hunger Games is less of a contest of strength, intelligence, and killing capability, but more of a controlled Coliseum gladiator battle.

These may all seem like nit picking comments, but it is crucial to critique a film that is so popular. Again, the book, so I’ve heard, provides great background for this film, but non-readers are launched into this blood-filled movie with a lot of confusion. Perhaps the next Hunger Games movies will be a little more interesting, with more focus on important background details and, of course, a conclusive battle to the death.

-Tommy Champion, Staff Writer

 

Posted by on April 3, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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