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The Hunger Games

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

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No payoff for huge hype

  • May 2, 2012
  • by
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 life they weren't forced to read start raving about a young adults novel than you know something's up. Leading up to the release of this film that is exactly what happened. People I know to never read came to me telling me how great this series is, how exited they were for the film, how edgy, deep, and emotional it all is. Warning flags went up in my head. This had Twilight written all over it. A young adult series about teenagers fighting to the death might sound edgy and original, but unless done right it can be neither.

Sometime in the future (near or far, we're never told) a war breaks out within "The Country" where 12 districts rebel against the central government and are brutally crushed. Little back story is given to this war, but we are told that it was bloody. The Country, from its capital aptly named The Capital, wins "The War" against "The Districts" and imposes upon these humbled and defeated people a treaty that states every year a boy and a girl ages 12 to 17 will fight to the death in "The Hunger Games" as punishment. Cause you know, making the kids of conquered people fight to the death is a real fine way to pacify them. The absurdity of this premise is plain enough to see. Taking the children of your defeated countrymen and forcing them to kill each other is not a very sane strategy of pacifying the population. As demonstrated in the film itself all it does is lead to riots and anger towards "The Country." Unlike in like-minded stories such as Stephen Kings "The Running Man" or "The Long Walk" these games do not carry universal appeal; they are not used primarily as a means to entertain the masses and keep them happy but to punish the treasonous districts even 72 years after the fact, long after those who started The War have passed on. From what is shown the Districts have no love for the games, and indeed hate them as they should, so they serve only to arouse hatred and anger against the government. Why, after 72 years even a totalitarian government would risk riots and revolt every year just to put on a set of games defies logic. Much harsher punishment is inflicted every day in the form of starvation, terrible working and living conditions, and an electric fence system that herds the people into towns like cattle. The games are unnecessary as punishment and only incite violence towards the government. I can see it now, the heroes of this film rising up against the bad guys to take them down, all because of some idiotic games.

The plot does indeed sound edgy, but it is hardly the only work of art I've seen to depict children being killed for sport or killing others. Stephen Kings "The Long Walk" and the anime series "Gunslinger Girls" have similar premises but execute their respective idea's in a much deeper and emotional fashion than does Hunger Games. At the end of the day both those works of art were written for a much older audience while Hunger Games was written for teenagers, and it defiantly shows. In a movie like this you expect to see carnage and brutality that not only tugs at the heartstrings but also shows us the real evil of such a system. The actual games take up about a quarter of the film and even then very little actual violence is shown. The opening fight scene is a slow motion blur of kids running around, screaming, and smearing the camera with terrible looking fake blood. The film pussyfoots around its brutal premise in order to avoid the R rating it by all rights should have received, which, in the end, effectively negates the shock and horror I should have felt while watching. I felt that horror while reading The Long Walk; I had that shock when I watched Gunslinger Girls; all I felt watching The Hunger Games was boredom. The fights weren't even exiting. I'm sorry, but blurry and dark close up fights where I can't even tell what the hell is going on is NOT exiting. Give me a break.

And don't even get me started on the love story. It's as if the makers of this film thought their audience too shallow and stupid to fully grasp the deeper implications of the main plot and so they through in an idiotic teen romance to spice things up. No it does not reach Twilight bad, but at least Twilight was a romance from the start and wasn't advertised as anything different; The Hunger Games are a complete different beast entirely. Reading reviews and descriptions of this film I was led to expect a tale of defiance, of fighting back against incredible odds, of sticking it to the man. None of that happens. No one fights back, no one speaks out against the system or comments on how terrible killing children is. No one defies the government or anyone. Instead we are given a cliché teenager romance. In fact, hardly anyone seems to have trouble taking another person's life in this movie, not even the main character. Twelve to seventeen year olds murder one another like hardened criminals with little regard for life and hardly any fear. Grown men would be pissing themselves at the prospect of being murdered gladiator style. Most of these kids hardly blink. The entire movie I was waiting for our hero's to resist, to fight back, to do anything really that the establishment didn't want them to do. SPOILER: Trying to commit suicide at the end doesn't exactly count.

The movies not all bad though. For the most part the acting is pretty decent, although most characters besides the lead stick mostly to stereotypes and cliché's at least the stereotypes and cliché's are decently acted. They all wear ridiculous costumes and make up, live in idiotic looking houses, and love watching kids kill each other. What a world, what a world.

I honestly don't understand the love for this movie. It's okay I guess, but hardly worth all the hype and love its received. Just another silly movie aimed to please silly teenagers. Nothing to see here folks, carry on.

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May 04, 2012
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 . 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
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, …
review by . April 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
      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 …
About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #118
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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About this movie



  • 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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