I was concerned before seeing The Hunger Games movie if I would actually enjoy it since the film isn’t for me. I was worried too, not having read the books, and hearing about the plot, if young people should be seeing a film with violence as a primary plot device. Luckily I was wrong on all accounts. The Hunger Games is a young adult film that was actually good and the violence wasn’t as graphic as I feared. I recommend it.
I hadn’t read any of the books in the trilogy but knew enough about the plot that I was concerned the violence would be on par to the trashy horror movies seen recently like the “Final Destination” series. The film used all kids of tricks to get the sense of the violence without actually seeing buckets of blood or guts. That’s good for those with kids in the age range this film is targeted.
The other themes that I think aren’t seen much in young adult films these days like self-sufficiency, altruism, poverty, starvation, and fascism, are some things we should explore, warts and all, although I’m not quite sure if younger people will understand those on first watch. I do think those ideas will seep into their heads and come back when they are much older. This is a film that lends itself to discussion between parents and children afterward.
Jennifer Lawrence who played the main character Katniss Everdeen, has been on my radar since she was on the Bill Engvall Show on TBS (2007-2009). I also enjoyed her performance in Winter’s Bone in 2010 which got her an Oscar nomination. She has a very expressive face and her bright blue eyes give her a gravitas that most young actresses have to grow into over time.
The rest of the cast was great. I really liked Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman (the TEETH!) and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna (that guy starts at Cool). The only person I thought seemed out of place was Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch Abernathy. I think it was his wig. It seemed too fake.
Being an old guy I was disappointed there wasn’t a lot of actual game play. The game didn’t start until half way through the film and then not a lot happens action wise. IMHO. I wanted to see more game play from Katniss. She is portrayed as very smart with natural survival skills and except for the scheme to destroy the supplies of the professional tributes, she didn’t do a lot game playing. I was wondering if she would even be able to kill anyone. That was probably the point.
There was a love story, well actually a triangle if Gale is included, and that is the main focus of the film. That story plays a major part of the plot and I expected it. Luckily it isn’t as sappy as I thought. It seemed real and natural and not contrived.
Another great part of this film is the protagonist is female and not one of those vain ones that need to be saved by a man that we tend to see in films written by men. I liked that Katniss actually saved Peeta. I think our film industry could stand more of this kind of female roles and not the usual brooding comic book buttheads.
The only real problem I had with the film was the stakes weren’t high enough. We know how it would end even if you hadn’t read the books (it is one of a trilogy). I know they couldn’t significantly change the story so I was disappointed with the ending. But overall that’s a minor quibble. It would be more of a problem if it was an original story.
There has been some chatter about how the Hunger Games seems to rip off the story from a Japanese film. No matter if that is true or not I just remember what my writing teacher told me years ago: all the good ideas have been written – judging a book (or film) is how that old idea is presented.
In other parts the film reminded me of other films I had seen like Blade Runner, Star Wars, and even Romeo & Juliet. I think this film does a great job with the story even if we’ve seen it before.
I recommend “The Hunger Games”.