Thursday, 29 March 2012

Kiwi Film Review: The Hunger Games

IMDB: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Roger Ebert: 3/4 Stars

Release Date: March 23 2012

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harelson, Lenny Kravitz.
Written By: Suzanne Collins(Book & Screenplay), Gary Ross & Billy Ray (Screenplay)
Directed By: Gary Ross

Described by IMDB as "In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives."

My review for this film is going to be pretty all over the place because I've read the book and I'm being slightly picky. I'll start by saying *SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD* as I don't think its possible to do a review without talking about specific parts of the story. 

I want to start with saying that I actually really enjoyed the movie itself, as what it was. But if you are going to see this movie without reading the book, I beg you to stop and read the book first. It is infinately better. They did a pretty decent job and keeping close to the book, and I even enjoyed the parts that they added in, but I really did not enjoy that they left a few of the things out, and they did leave a lot. I'm really truly trying not to be one of those awful people who nit-picks everything about the movie, but there were a few things that just didn't make any sense to leave out. 

I'll start from the beginning I guess, I think they did a pretty good job capturing the bad conditions of District 12, but MAN I'm I pissed at how Katniss(Jennifer Lawrence) ended up getting the Mockingjay Pin. Why on earth would they leave out Madge?! She's so important in the second book, why would they leave that out!? I understand you can't include everything but that was one of 3 things that actually bothered me. I think they did a good job showing the relationship between Katniss(Lawrence) and Gale(Liam Hemsworth). They also did a good job with the reaping, and how I pictured Effie (Elizabeth Banks). I wish that they had spent a little more time on the train then they did, as they spent many days on the train in the book. I loved the choice for Haymitch(Woody Harelson), and Caesar(Stanley Tucci). I also thought they did a great job at casting Katniss(Lawrence), Peeta(Josh Hutcherson), and Gale(Hemsworth)

Now comes the downside.. I hated what the did with the Capitol, it looked SO fake. I also thought the fire on the clothes looked horrible. Besides that I thought the did a good job keeping close to the book for the rest of the time in the capitol. Once they get to the game,  the cornucopia was nothing at al like I pictured. I pictured this giant horn-shaped object with supplies falling out of its mouth. Also, they left out the part where she nearly dies of dehydration, but you can't include everything, so I dealt with that. I think they did a good job with the Rue scene, I cried so I suppose that's a good sign. Right after that comes my second pet peeve; when they find out that there can be two victors and Katniss(Lawrence) whispers Peeta's name instaed of yelling it. She literally spoke the exact same words that she would have anyways, why couldn't she have said it louder. I realize this is a VERY tiny part of the book/film, but I just felt like it really showed that she actually did have some real feelings for Peeta(Hutcherson) in the book. The next part I understood had to be cut short because of the time limits of the movie, but even if they had just added an extra 10 minutes of  them being in the cave it would've added so much more real feeling to the film. I really felt like anyone who hadn't read the book wouldn't have cared about the love story between Katniss and Peeta at all. Katniss is also supposed to be seriously injured at two points in the story. First her ear is supposed to be destroyed and then her head is supposed to be deeply and seriously cut. I think even adding one of those would've added a little more suspense in the story. The end of the games had some minor changes, but they managed to make it pretty sufficient. Here comes my final and biggest pet peeve from the movie. The fact that at the end of the film, Katniss doesn't tell Peeta  that she doesn't actually love him, and that it was all an act. That is CLEARLY a pivotal moment in the book, and series, and is extremely important in the second book/film. I can't wait to see how they fix that one.

Overall, as I said, I enjoyed the film. I liked how they added all of the behind the scenes stuff in how the Hunger Games are fun, and the commentary with Caesar. I do wish that they had fixed my pet peeves, as I do feel they hindered the story, but alas here we are. I also think they lacked some character development, but I can't say for sure.. I'd like to hear what a person who hadn't read the books thinks.

I give this film a 7.5/10, definitely not as good as the book, but a solid film on its own. A definite must see!

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