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The Hunger Games

A film directed by Gary Ross based on the book by Suzanne Collins

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A social commentary adapted to a fantastic vision.

  • Apr 21, 2012
Rating:
+3


There's something about this movie that makes me like it more than I should. I don't know what... but I know it's there. I've never read the books so when I saw it I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately for me I was pleased with the product and it's like it became one of my guilty pleasure movies.

The Hunger Games strives away from the usual and synthesizes elements that are rarely common in movies like these. The story serves as an open letter to not only hope, dedication, love and bravery but also to the general revolt of the unfortunate. It's almost like a social commentary adapted to a fantastic vision. The story follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a pair from the same poor district, as they enter in this life and death contest where only one could survive it and provide joy to those at home. As they leave their district and are taken to the arena, they are treated like gladiators receiving plenty of food, sweets, drinks, a very nice suite and even a "stylist" named Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) who would take care of their image during the tournament. On top of that, they also get a mentor, a former winner of the tournament from the same district by the name of Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) who's job is to serve as a guide and adviser regarding the competition inside the arena. The story is shaped up pretty well and gets really intriguing avoiding plastic cliches. It's emotional when it needs to, cold when it has to deliver that sense of brutality and even political when you have behind the curtain scenes of the games.

The main characters are tridimensional and force you to root for them. The dynamics of their relationship is too gentle at times and slippy but it still serves as a good emotional arch. The other characters are pretty typical. Vanguardist looks and fastidious behaviors in a world which seems to be dominated by the assertive and pretentious upper class. There's a honest balance between the moments with a high grade of emotion and the thrilling and suspenseful ones. The games are a combination of fast paced action and the slow paced process of a deer hunting. A moment that could seem to flow so hard could turn to be a run for life at any moment under unexpected circumstances. There are some issues though with these scenes but the fault is on the direction and not as much on the writing.

What impressed me the most was not the story but the acting which is extremely good for a movie like this. Besides Jennifer Lawrence who's wonderful to watch although not the Oscar-worthy performance everyone was hyping it to be, you have all these wonderful colored characters like the slick and preposterous TV host Caesar Flickerman played by the talent Stanley Tucci. You have the euphuistic escort Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks, the drunk mentor played by Woody Harrelson, and then you have Wes Bentley playing Seneca Crane which is the Head Gamemaker of this particular edition of The Hunger Games. Surprising acting that exceeded my expectations.



Getting back to the movie's issues in directing I could simply say that the movie could have looked much much better. It seemed rushed and unfinished. A lot of poor choices in the use of shaky-cam when you didn't need to use it at all especially if you're so bad with it. A lot of poor choices in editing... going from fast handled shaky cams to really wide shots or areal shots of irrelevant scenes to me is the definition of a messy editing. Now I know that they had a much smaller time to finish this movie but that's not an excuse to me. On top of that, you have some really horrible CGI. The green screen was screaming at me the entire time. There is this great idea of using natural lightning for the scenes inside either the district or the island itself and artificial lightning for the scenes which included the rich and glossy preparations for the competition but this idea was poorly executed as well. Technically, everything about this film could have been better except the costumes, make-up, and the wonderful score by James Newton Howard, one of my favorites composers of all time.

With the good and the bad together, The Hunger Games is a refreshing movie with well-developed story and characters, surprisingly great acting, and with a good mixture of suspense, action, and drama. It's not the "masterpiece" some are claiming it to be but It is a movie you will enjoy nonetheless and you will appreciate the effort put to make it different than all the other clicheic typical similar project.

Storyline/Dialogue: 8.0
Acting: 8.0
Technical Execution: 7.1
Replay Value: 8.0
======================
Overall: 7.8

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April 22, 2012
Yeah, I guess as a trilogy, this would feel incomplete. I agree with you on the acting, and my issues with it stem from the screenplay and the direction. I actually wanted to like this--I liked the first 2 acts. The 3rd act just killed everything for me. Have you seen "Battle Royale"?
April 22, 2012
I haven't seen it. Remember I said I'll write more reviews? This is the first in 2 months. Sometimes not everything goes the way you planned it and I wrote this in a bit of hurry... there are some thing that I left out and some thing that I think I didn't explore as usual but the rating is on spot. Hopefully I'll get back on track. Thanks for visiting my review. Appreciated.
 
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More The Hunger Games reviews
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Decent...But I Liked This Premise Better When It was Called
“The Hunger Games” had been getting a lot of press and ‘hype’ when word had gotten out that Suzanne Collins’ novel (published in 2008) was going to be adapted into the big screen. Director Gary Ross adapts this dystopian world along with screenwriters Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray into an action-drama. I have to admit the book had garnered quite a following, and this film has been heavily anticipated. I have seen several threads about the controversy due to its similarities …
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    "The Hunger Games" is based on the first book in the best-selling young adult self-titled trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins. I have never read any of the three - "The Hunger Games", "Catching Fire", and "Mockingjay" - and the film really does me no favors. Based on fan feedback, I will not for one second believe that this adaptation reflects the quality and depth of the novel; because the film falls short in both departments. But as always, I'm here …
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Hunger Games is the first of three books written by Suzanne Collins, the other two being Catching Fire and Mockingjay. With a huge opening weekend predicted there is little doubt that the studios will green light the other two movies to have them made as soon as possible. For those who have not read the book I suggest you do as not only is it a quick read but frankly this movie is made more for fans of the book than it is for someone going in knowing nothing about the series. …
review by . May 02, 2012
Full disclaimer, I've not read the books that this movie is adapted from. Before going in I had no idea what to expect from this film except teenagers killing teenagers in a dis-utopian world sometime in the future. I had no knowledge of the story, the characters, the world this film is set in, nothing at all.    Now that that's out of the way, I would like to also state that going into this film I had my reservations. When people you know have probably never read a book in their …
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
There were few novels as striking and unique as The Hunger Games when it debuted.  When I first read the book a couple of years ago I'd have never thought it would become a phenomenon... much less become a movie.  Not only did I ever think it would become a movie (my first thought was, "How would they do it?") but I certainly didn't think it would become one of the finest films I've seen in some time.  It is a movie that tackles big themes.  Asks big questions.  …
review by . March 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'The Hunger Games' 'Two Jews On Film' Go To Battle Over This Futuristic Dark Fantasy (Video)
               By Joan Alperin Schwartz      I'm sure by now almost everyone is familiar with the story of 'The Hunger Games'.  The book was the first in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins and all three novels have been on the bestseller list for several years.      But for those people unfamiliar with the story of Katniss Everdeen, the 16 year old girl who competes in The Hunger Games...   …
review by . March 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Tasty.
THE HUNGER GAMES Written by Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross Directed by Gary Ross Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth   President Snow: Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.   Having just finished reading the incredibly addictive Suzanne Collins novel, and having fallen completely in love with the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, in the process, I could barely breathe before seeing Gary Ross’s film adaptation of THE HUNGER GAMES. I was downright giddy …
review by . March 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         That The Hunger Games is so timely and intelligent is precisely the reason why it’s also so frightening. It depicts a time and place in which the failures of mass society are exploited for the entertainment of the privileged few. In this case, it’s in the form of an annual competition to the death, one that’s captured via hidden cameras and aired for the rest of the world to see. Whatever they call it in this alternate reality, …
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  • The Hunger Games
  • Opened March 23, 2012 | Runtime:2 hr. 22 min.
  • PG-13
    Intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens
  • Information for parents: Common Sense Media says Iffy for 13+. Read More
  • Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the 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. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister's place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she's pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. 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.
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
  • -fandango.com
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    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

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    "Tasty."
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