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Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
My husband and I went to see this when it came out at the cinemas. We were both a bit unsure about what to expect as we felt that the trailer that we had seen didn't really tell you much at all. (The trailer above I hadn't seen till today, and may have put me off the movie).
I found it really easy to get into, despite not knowing much about what to expect, and after just a couple of minutes I was fully hooked into the movie. Some movies I can get through about half before my mind starts to wander just a little (and I have to pull myself back into the movie) but this was one where that didn't happen.
All the characters felt real, and ones that you could care about (or hate) easily. Each tribute had something that was unique to them. Katniss and her archery, Peeta and his disguises, the young girl who could hide and climb really well, the boy and girl trained from a very young age for the games....
The special effects were awesome but to go into them and the effects that I really enjoyed would give too much of the film away.
All in all I really enjoyed this movie, I really wanted Katniss to win, and now I just can't wait to see the next two in the series. I was lucky enough to win this, saves me money, but I would have bought this had I not won it.
The first thing you need to know is that I read all three books before seeing the movie and I adored them, so this review is going to be at least somewhat influenced by that. That said, I think The Hunger Games did a good job of staying as true to the book as possible and I genuinely enjoyed the movie overall. I could nitpick on a few small points, but with the exception of the gifting and exchanging of the Mockingjay pin, I found it very easy to let those small points go.
The movie definitely managed to capture the important elements of the book and the overall feel of the world the characters are living in. I really appreciated the depiction District 12 and The Capitol and I think the movie mostly hit the nail on the head regarding building a visual world from the book. I especially loved Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. As far as casting goes I think he was the best and played Haymitch wonderfully.
The plot was engaging and interesting and even though I knew what was going to happen I still managed to watch it without my attention drifting much at all. In my opinion that's a sign of a good movie. The pacing was generally very good and while it is not going on my favourite movie list I would definitely recommend it. Though if you can, see it before you read the book.
I don't get of the house much in the evenings this time of year. The cold wind plays hob with my arthritis and causes me to be a bit of a hermit who reads a lot. I don't often enjoy movie adaptations of the books I read but this is one I was curious about. The Mokopuna all went to see this on the big screen and raved about it so I thought myself lucky when I was offered the chance to review this DVD.
The first thing you need to remember is that this is the movie adaptation. very important word there - adaptation. This is not the book, it is a version of the book, with bits added, removed and changed to suit the different media. Anyone who complains about how "the book was so much better" is being a bit short-sighted. The book can impart a lot more information, including inner-monologues and thought-streams, that a movie can't offer unless it resorts to cheesy narratives or 'deep inner voice'-overs. So putting that aside, I decided I had to look at this as a separate thing to the books. That made a lot of difference really.
The casting was amazing, with a lot of familiar faces, but also some very impressive new talent like Jennifer Lawrence who, despite only becoming 'visible' 6 years ago, pulled off the character of Katniss with such passion it was hard not to fall into the screen and join the world. I was dubious about Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy. The last time I saw him in anything was as a skin-head lunatic in 'Natural Born Killers' and that really put me off him, though after seeing this I was impressed at his range. He does a very good alcoholic. It must be the influence from his days on "Cheers". I was also taken with Donald Sutherland's interpretation of the Panem President, at once a genial and friendly face that could suddenly turn predatory with terrifying smoothness.
The movie was both entertaining and thought-provoking. The special effects were top of the line, and clearly great care was taken on this aspect of the movie, and the very high level of technology highlighted by the effects raised a lot of questions in me about the world it portrayed. With the ability to remotely manipulate matter and energy and even create a semblance of life customised to need, as shown in the Games arena, why do the 12 districts fall to what is clearly a state of slavery? Is The Capital just a dictatorship disguised as a district, an urban spider with a cadre of elite as controllers, preying on the 12 districts and keeping them in a state of near starvation in order to maintain total dominion? Clearly, that is what it is, an example of what happens when the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" grows to epic levels and the elite are near godlike in their power over the far more numerous masses. The movie disturbed me in a way the book didn't, because of how clearly it brought the difference to light. Well worth seeing for many reasons.
Alright, I thought that this movie wouldn't be very good, but when I went to see it with my parents, I wanted to watch it again! I must point out that this film is not good for young kids, for it contains violence and there are many parts where there is blood. I think that a good target audience would be anyone 10+. I lost track of time quite easily, and call me crazy for saying this, but the effects were great, and if anything like what was displayed in the movie happened in real life, I would say that it was possible.
Unfortunately I didn't get to see the first few minutes of the movie, we got to the cinema a little late, but after a few minutes I just tossed that thought aside, I was just too locked into the movie. At first I thought that the movie was based in the old days, but soon came the big metal airships and the Las-Vegas-on-steroids capitol city. Like many other films, my emotions followed the story, there was even one point where one of the tributes, a young girl, was killed with a spear, and I almost cried, it took me a bit of effort to stop the tears flowing.
I don't think I will be able to see the movie at the big screens again, but I most defiantly hope that we can get it on DVD or at least rent it, but I most certainly want to see the movie again. All things taken into consideration, I think that this is a fun film, enjoy!
When a massive movie franchise comes to a close, often a hole can develop in the highly competitive market of Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. Perhaps never before has that hole been as large as the abyss left by the HARRY POTTER series, given the rapid release schedule of those films. It's 2012, and there's no new POTTER. Some might argue that the TWILIGHT series fills the void, yet not only is that franchise little more than a punchline to all but the hardcore fans, it too is set to (hopefully) wrap up this year. Enter THE HUNGER GAMES, seemingly a sure thing based on the POTTER formula: hugely successful series of young adult novels? Check. Talented cast of young leads and respected character actors as support? Naturally. Large scale production and, crucially, marketing budget? You bet. So is THE HUNGER GAMES worthy of taking up the POTTER mantle?
Amazingly, it might be even better.
While no-one would suggest that THE HUNGER GAMES is the most original new property coming from the Hollywood machine, Lionsgate and director Gary Ross adapt Suzanne Collins' source material in just the right ways, jettisoning un-cinematic elements and focusing on the meat of the story right from the opening frame. Rather than build the world of Panem through tedious exposition and backstory, Ross instead drops us directly into the grim life of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her journey to the Hunger Games, a perverse spectacle inflicted annually on 24 unfortunate teens. While the POTTER series certainly headed in a darker direction as it went on, THE HUNGER GAMES is horrifically bleak right from the get go, and Ross' decision to show instead of tell, through the use of wonderfully expressive, fluid camerawork, paints an ugly picture indeed. There are so many refreshing elements at work here, with an active, independent, and strong female protagonist and a startling absence of overblown CGI, but it's the nastiness that makes this film unique. Delivering a family appropriate experience while retaining the majority of the violence and unpleasantness of the novel is a delicate proposition which Ross mostly pulls off, but one can't help wondering about the potential for a much harder, R-rated cut of the film. It's an understandable issue to be sure, but an issue nonetheless.
Where THE HUNGER GAMES perhaps doesn't fare so well is in the internal strife faced by Katniss, particularly in regards to potential love interests Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Collins' novel has much more freedom to explore, and even dwell on, Katniss' emotional state through inner monologue, but given the nature of film, particularly a mainstream blockbuster such as this, much less room is left for introspection, and some of the character dynamics and relationships suffer in comparison. Katniss' independence is unfortunately undercut by the franchise building mentality of the film, setting up an inevitable love triangle to be explored in two potential sequels. That said, she's still a much more positive, appropriate female role model than TWILIGHT's limp and passive Bella Swan, or indeed any young female character in recent memory. THE HUNGER GAMES is an important film at many levels, one which heralds the birth of the next big Hollywood franchise, and if the quality of the first installment is maintained then the sequels can't come soon enough.
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