The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games
By Wilson Morales
If you haven’t read any of the books, and you’ve been caught up in the media’s theory that ‘The Hunger Games‘ will be good and better than the ‘Twilight’ series, you may be right. Based on the books by Suzanne Collins, the first film of the trilogy should have fans craving for more and under the skillful direction of Gary Ross, they will enjoy his well balanced adaptation.
With a cast that includes Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as its heroine, Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutchinson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, along with other veterans and newcomers, ‘Games’ is paced with solid acting, solid writing, and decent action.
If you’re into foreign films and are familiar with the 2000 Japan film, ‘Battle Royale,’ ‘Hunger Games’ has almost the same premise, where kids are put together in a central location to kill each other, but it’s not as forceful and bloody.
The Hunger Games is an annual event where one female and one male, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are chosen from each of the 12 Districts to fight to the death. Katniss (played by Lawrence) comes from District 12 but is the first person to ever volunteer for the games. She decided to stand in place of her younger sister Primrose who was chosen from a random pool. Peeta (played by Hutcherson), who’s the he baker’s son, is the other representative. Having hunted in the woods with a bow and arrow back home with her best friend Gale (played by Hemsworth) gives Katniss an edge that most of her competition won’t have.
Taken to the Capitol where the games are held, she meets the others reps from the other Districts and also meets her half-drunk mentor Haymitch (played by Woody Harrelson), who’s also from District 12 and a previous winner of the games. With Cinna (played by Lenny Kravitz) as her fashion guide, Katniss is presented on stage to delight the crowd, score points and increase the odds of winning. When Peeta gets his chance to talk on camera, he admits he’s had a long crush on Katniss for years, and that sets the stage for the “star-crossed” lovers dilemma.
When the games begin, it’s survival at the fittest for everyone, but there are some, including Cato (Alexander Ludwig), Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman), Marvel (Jack Quaid) and Glimmer (Leven Rambin) that have bandied together to get an edge. Killing the others on site and mercilessly has Katniss hiding in the woods to get a grasp on the situation. With the help of Rue (Amandla Stenberg), there is hope, but it comes with a price. Will Katniss and Peeta survive and if so, is there love in the cards for the two of them?
With so much material stemming from the books in terms of characters, clothing, and action, Gary Ross has made an effective moving film. While that there’s certain lack of character development of some of the cast, knowing Katniss and Peeta’s background make up for the well paced delivery of the film. Ross sets the stage for the audience to care for Katniss and when you throw in too many people, you start to get confuse as to who’s one we’re supposed to be cheering for. Stanley Tucci, who plays Caesar Flickerman, the lead announcer, basically gives in the same performance we see in his other films. Woody Harrelson was ever the scene stealer of the film. As for the leads, it’s Jennifer Lawrence who holds the fort. Her presence is commanding and attention worthy. Hutcherson was a bit resigned in his role, but it sets the tone for the upcoming sequel.
From ‘Battle Royale,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Running Man,’ there are moments from each of these films and TV shows that are presented in ‘The Hunger Games,’ but what Ross has done is make a unique and enjoyable evening’s entertainment that will please fans of the book.