Posted by Mark Bridge On March - 26 - 2012 0 Comment

While watching The Hunger Games, a thought hit me.   If this was an original film and not based on the trilogy of novels from author Suzanne Collins, I don’t think this film could be easily marketed to the fans.  A lot of the film had this “art house” style to it.  The flamboyant design of the costumes and the way the narrative flowed added to that feeling.  I never read the books but I like many others were aware of the hype surrounding this film.  I tried not to let it cloud my judgement in trying not ask myself what the big deal is.  I allowed the film to “wash” over me so to speak.  Well I can say it turned out to be an enjoyable experience.  I had some minor issues which I will get into later.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss, a teenage girl in District 12 who volunteers for “The Hunger Games” after her little sister was drafted.  The Hunger Games is an annual blood sport in which children between the ages of 8 to 18 fight to the death.  Also chosen from her district is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a boy whom she had a brief encounter with in the past.  The scenes leading up to the games involves introducing some very colorful (Literally) characters.  Among them are Effie (Elizabeth Banks),the district 12 representative, head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane(Wes Bentley),  Katniss’ stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravits)  and Caesar Flickman (Stanley Tucci), the master of ceremonies of the games.  Also joining Katniss and Peeta in a mentor capacity is Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). All the actors brought something to their characters that made the scenes they were in feel less like fillers to the main event and made for a more enjoyable experience.  The only actor I feel wasn’t consistent was Lenny Kravits.  Some scenes he was in were acceptable but others just fell flat.

The second half is were the film truly takes off as the contestants go to battle.  Director Gary Ross manages to make the scenes of the children killing each other not too disturbing but making it still as gritty as you think kid on kid violence would be.  The only flaw of his direction is the dreaded “shaky cam” for the action sequences.  I understood its use in the scenes with kids killing kids, but the last battle posed a challenge for me in understanding the placement of the characters involved.  As enjoyable as the film was, it did feel like a “part one” when it was over.  I understand its the first of a trilogy but I wish it had a more self contained design to it.

This film has been branded as the next “Twilight” based on the love triangle of Katniss, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  I have to say that the comparison is unwarranted.  For one, the dialogue in this film is no way near as corny as that film and the the love story in this film is a small part of the film (At least for now).

So aside from some minor issues this was a solid entry in a sure fire franchise.  I may just read the other books before the sequels come out.

Rating: ★★★½☆ Good

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Categories: Movie Reviews, Movies