The Hunger GamesYear: 2012
Runtime: 2 HR, 22 MIN
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Paula Malcomson, and Donald Sutherland
Film Rating: 3 out of 5
Saying an upcoming film is going to be the next Twilight series is a lot like saying wiping your butt with your hand is better than wiping it with sandpaper. That’s exactly what's been said for the past year concerning The Hunger Games. Thankfully for everyone The Hunger Games is a much more enjoyable film that looks poised to eventually blossom into an entertaining film series.
In the distant future, the country known as Panem (aka North America) hosts the annual Hunger Games as a warning and reminder of a costly rebellion against the government over seventy years ago. One girl and one boy between the ages of 12-18 from each of the twelve districts of Panem are chosen to compete in a last ‘man’ standing deathmatch for the entertainment of the audience at home. This year’s entrants include a sixteen year old girl named Katniss, who volunteers to take the place of her twelve year old sister who was chosen to compete in the games.
If the plot of The Hunger Games sounds familiar, it should since it shares many similarities with Japan’s Battle Royale, the WWE’s The Condemned, and the Schwarzenegger classic The Running Man. For better or worse The Hunger Games is more accessible to young American audiences than Battle Royale, its message isn’t as laughably executed as The Condemned, and isn’t as silly as The Running Man. Even though it’s aimed at teenagers several mature themes straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fahrenheit 451, and Lord of the Flies are addressed but not dwelled upon with the social commentary never getting in the way of the adventure aspects of the story.
Not having read the any of The Hunger Games books initially understanding the world its set in can be intimidating. It offers a strange juxtaposition of blue collar workers living in poverty and a world of the rich and beauty filled debutants that want for nothing. Give it some time and you’ll quickly settle into the strange world filled with 1950’s ‘coal miners’, government oppression, ‘Amadeus on crack’ styled costumes, a futuristic Graham Norton Show starring Stanley Tucci in his best hair piece yet, and a society that accepts a program where teens brutally murder each other for sport like it’s an episode of Survivor.
What helps keep The Hunger Games believable are its performances especially from Jennifer Lawrence. She’s been in her fair share of films recently like The Beaver
read more: The Hunger Games Review