The Hunger Games
Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old girl who lives in the country of Panem in one of its 12 districts. She happens to live in District 12 which is the poorest of the twelve districts so she has learnt to hunt with her friend Gale, to feed her mother and her sister Prim. Every year the country of Panem puts on a bloody battle to the death called the Hunger Games, in these games one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 are selected from each district to be put in an arena to fight to the death until there is one child standing. These games are a reminder of a rebellion of the districts that happened long ago. On the day of the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games Katniss’ sister Prim who had the lowest odds of being chosen was selected to be the female tribute for their district. Upon witnessing this Katniss volunteers, herself in her sister’s place. After Katniss is now deemed the female tribute for the district, Peeta Mellark is selected as the male tribute. The two are whisked away on a train towards the Capitol, the main city of Panem, where they then meet their mentor Haymitch who had won the games but has since become a drunk. Once they arrive at the Capitol the tributes are paraded around for the pleasure of the citizens and then after a few days of training it is time for the Games.
The main character of this movie is Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss is a determined girl from District 12 whose primary goal is survival. Through her interview and time with the Gamemakers, Katniss holds a lot of anger towards the Capitol and does not respond well in national television. On the contrary, the male lead, Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, is a baker’s son with a big heart. In contrast with Katniss, Peeta is a natural in front of the camera and has a very likeable television persona.
The main strength of this movie is the attention to detail from the source material. The movie accurately follows the novel and allows readers of the series to enjoy the movie. The movie also takes advantage of the premise of the Hunger Games. Since the Games are a constant source of action, there is never a dull moment between action shots, psychological plays, and romantic scenes. This movie can encapsulate all those feelings. Another advantage of the premise is that since the Hunger Games is set like a reality television show, the narration can be given through announcers, which is a frictionless way to provide viewers with information without breaking any tension.
The main weakness this movie suffers is the shaky camera. There are instances where the shaky camera used is too excessive, which can leave viewers with a sense of motion sickness.
This film’s strengths lie in its attention to detail such as following the novel and also in it actually being a film. Due to this being a film that is not in a first-person perspective it has an advantage that it can flash to the Capitol’s or the districts reaction to an event which you don’t see in the books and read about in later novels. The film also adds the commentators to the game that give insight to the viewer about certain things during the Games. In terms of attention to detail the film does a good job worldbuilding and character building like including facts mentioned in the book that some films wouldn’t include. The film also has the benefit of being released after all the books had been written so then they could set up things in this film that will help with later films.
My only real weakness in this film comes not from its story but the shaky cam during the arena scenes as it can be distracting and nauseating for viewers that can make those scenes harder to watch.
This movie is very entertaining and it kept me on the edge of my chair for the entire two and a half hours. The plot moves along very smoothly, and it plays with the emotions of the viewer. While the movie does contain high levels of violence, the gore is not over the top for a more mature audience.
The characters are very well written, and the actors do a good job of representing each character. From the main protagonists, Katniss and Peeta, to the tertiary characters, such as Rue or Cato, every character is giving a sufficient back story and it feels like you know each character.
The main weakness I have found with the movie would be the dialogue. While the plot flows quite smoothly, and the characters are very well developed, the dialogue lacks originality from time to time. The dialogue seems to lack the same effort and detail found in the plot and the characters, and as a result it disappointed me.
Personally, I found this movie quite entertaining from start to finish, with many ups and downs that will keep you on the edge of your chair. The plot moves quite smoothly, and the characters are quite easy to become attached to.
This movie does a fantastic job sticking to the novel. The characters are quite similar between the novel and the movie, and almost every single event is the same. The movie does a better job of describing The Capital, but the novel dives deeper into the death of Katniss’s father. The movie stays away from his death, which is a major part of Katniss’s character. Aside from the lack of details surrounding her father’s death, this movie is one of the best movies based on a book that I have seen.
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Ross, Gary, director. The Hunger Games. Lions Gate Home Entertainment, 2012.