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The Hunger Games Review

The Hunger Games (12a)

Reviewed by Rachel Geeson

Score: 4/5

The Hunger Games is an action sci- fi thriller film filled with drama. It is directed by Gary Ross, based on The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins.

The first book of the trilogy was a success as it was a Number One Bestseller for The New York Times. Many other well-known authors agreed.

“One of the best written and most thought- provoking books I’ve read for a long time” – Anthony Horowitz

“I was obsessed with this book . . . The Hunger Games is amazing” – Stephanie Meyer

“Constant suspense . . . I couldn’t stop reading” – Stephen King

As well as with the books success the film has exceeded the expectations, especially after reaching $460m (£290m) worldwide box office after three weeks. And that’s the ratings for the first film; there are still two more books to be adapted into movies which may turn into three more movies if they split the finale into two like Twilight and Harry Potter.

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem. Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, when the Dark Days came, there was an uprising of the districts against the Capitol. Twelve were defeated and the thirteenth obliterated. As a reminder that the Dark Days must not be repeated, the punishment for the uprising was the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is televised annually and the rules are that each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The tributes are picked at a ceremony called the reaping and the twenty-four tributes are then later put in an arena and must fight for their death to survive. The last tribute standing wins.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a sixteen year old girl who lives in the poorest district, District 12. Her best friend is Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) who hunts with Katniss to provide for each of their families. On the 74th Hunger Games Primrose Everdeen is picked as the girl tribute, she is just 12 year’s old and is Katniss’s youngest and only sister. Shocked that her sister has been chosen against all odds Katniss sacrifices herself to be tribute, instead of her sister becoming one. This scene is just as touching and emotional as it is in the book as you see the loyalty of love that Katniss has for her sister, she’d rather die than see her sister be a tribute. The second tribute that was picked was Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the son of the district’s bakers. Peeta is also sixteen years old, throughout the training session for the Hunger Games that take part over 4 days before the tributes enter the arena, Peeta shows of his vulnerable side. He knows that Katniss is the stronger of the two of them as she has been through a lot in her life and has learnt how to hunt to survive. However Peeta has a secret that could change the Hunger Games putting the odds in his favour.

The plot of the film centres on the tagline “May the odds be ever in your favour”.  When the tributes are in the training session and in the arena of the Hunger Games they must continue to please the audience with their talents and personality in order to get sponsors which will give them appliances to help them when they are struggling to survive. The tributes each have a mentor to help them get sponsors and to teach them the secrets of how to win. The mentor for Katniss and Peeta is Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a victor of the 50th Hunger Games who turned to alcohol to try and escape the nightmares of the Hunger Games. Haymitch is barely helpful towards Katniss and Peeta until they reach training and he knows their skills. He favours Katniss for her attitude towards the head Gamemaker and to the other tributes. Although he notices that Peeta has strength, Haymitch uses Peeta’s secret in order to get an advantage for the sponsors with Katniss’s help.

Looking at the other characters in the film, they each bring different attributes to the film. Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) only appears at the beginning of the film but she still has a part to play. Effie wants to make sure that ­the Tributes are looked after so that soon she could be promoted to a better district. She’s embarrassed by Haymitch’s drunkenness which is quite amusing. Also her appearance is adapted well from the book along with another two characters Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci). Cinna is a close friend for Katniss from when she first arrives at the Capitol and is there for her right until the last seconds before she is raised into the arena. Caesar is one of the presenters for the televised programme and interviews the tributes before the game begins and provides commentary to the viewers. His character is very light hearted and friendly towards the tributes. I’m not going to ruin the film by talking too much about the other tributes but they were a remarkable bunch of people showing of many different skills and a variety of emotions such as bravery, sadness, fear and vulnerability.

There are many scenes in the film that stand out to me. As I have already mentioned the reaping is obviously an emotional scene and the aftermath was also heart-warming. You see the emotional side to the character of Gale as he seems just as stunned that “Prim” Primrose Katniss had become a tribute but understands why Katniss volunteered. Throughout the film when there are short scenes shown away from the Hunger Games, you see Gale’s softer side. Another two scenes that stand out are when Katniss and Peeta are presented to the Capitol public in their customized outfits and when the pair show of their skills.

This film has been adapted very well. All the cast, the costumes, the sets, the locations and the pacing of the film are replicated well from the book. And the small differences that were added just give the film more insight for the audience to see the world around the Hunger Games, for example showing that the Head Gamemaker has a camera control room. However for the sequel, Catching Fire, the director of The Hunger Games, Gary Ross may not be returning. The studio gave a statement from the director saying that “As a writer and director, I simply don’t have the time I need to write and prep the movie I would have wanted to make because of the fixed and tight production schedule.” With this statement Gary Ross is probably making a mistake, as Hunger Games for me is the film of the year.

I recommend watching The Hunger Games as it is full of action and excitement that will keep grab your attention from the beginning. However I enjoyed the film more as I have read The Hunger Games book which gives far more detail and makes you feel more connection to the character.

So if this review makes you want to see The Hunger Games, then remember “The World Will Be Watching”.

Categories: Film Reviews
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