The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games: set in a dystopian future, teens from 12 impoverished districts must fight to the death in a custom-built arena, where only one can survive, and it’s broadcast live. The biggest problem is the overlong setup – even if it is kicking off a franchise, a totalitarian, elite ruling class keeping the rest of society in the pits doesn’t need to be explained or dwelled on for over an hour (it also makes the ending feel majorly rushed). The Capitol – imaginative name for a city – itself is pretty stupid; granted it’s unique, but the clothes / hair / beard and furniture designs were all beyond silly and ridiculous. The acting roster is great, there’s a few shaky characters (sister / mum / BF) but once it leaves district 12 it’s mostly decent from both young and old. Woody and Hutcherson in particular are magnetic presences – Katinis is also decent, but you learn far more about her in the games than the actual character building nonsense. Other than the pacing issues, CGI dogs, and a few poorly edited, bloodless, fight-scenes the film’s petty solid, and looks great. The difference-maker between The Hunger Games being received as good or great will depend on age; anyone old enough to have seen the dozens of movies with sci-fi city-scapes, morally bankrupt quest for ratings, or organised deathmatches, will no doubt feel that this is retreading old ground. But if I was 12 and seeing all of that for the first time, I’d probably shit my pants with excitement.

Score: 6/10

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5 comments
  1. I hesitate to call it a really “Great” film… but I enjoyed it a lot. I agree with a lot of your points (Boy, the people of the Capitol did look silly, didnt they?) I also agree that the fight scenes were bloodless and poorly edited, and that was a detratcion…

    But I didnt think the setup was overly long, I enjoyed it. I thought it really built a great foundation for the rest of the movie and for the future!

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  2. Jaina said:

    Mostly finding myself agreeing with you. It’s hard to watch a film set in a dystopian future, for me right now, without thinking back and recalling other films and comparing. Why can’t dystopian futures not have wacky hair-do’d, make-up’d people?

    My biggest grip with this film was lack of character development. They were just there, almost like chess pieces, being moved around the board throughout the film.

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  3. The over-long setup didn’t bother me at all, in fact I think it added to the larger scope of the film, rather than just rushing to the last-man-standing scenario. I agree that dystopian futures are nothing new in movies, but I still really enjoyed it, probably due mostly to a good performance by Lawrence. I agree about the daft hair though, as I said in my review, that’s the thing I remember most!

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  4. Eric said:

    Well said. This was an enjoyable enough movie, but I’m with Jaina in that the lack of character development was a major problem.

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  5. I loved the movie and, I’d have to disagree with you, I think one of its biggest strengths was the prolonged exposition, giving us time to absorb what was at stake not just for Katniss and Peeta but for the other kids chosen for the competition as well. If I have to point at a criticism, I wish we knew more about the other Tributes, even the not-so-nice ones. In a way, it was kind of like watching two movies, the second half functioning as a straight-up action picture while the first half was more like a drama. The science fiction concept connected the two camps. I’m looking forward to watch the franchise flourish.

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