Directed by Gary Ross
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Behold, the time is finally upon us. The long awaited release of The Hunger Games was today, and as promised Amateur Reviews was there at the first showing. In the first 60 seconds the story is set and the audience learn of the wealthy (who live in The Capitol) and the impoverished (who live in 12 districts). They live under rule as a punishment from some uprising in the past. Set in this futuristic North America, The Capitol select a boy and a girl from each district to participate in a televised fight to the death: The Hunger Games.
Based on the supremely successful series of books by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games are teen staples on booklists world wide. Although, this is more than an adaptation and this is where Gary Ross proliferates where others have failed. Instead of merely retelling the book on screen, the film is as original and innovative as the book. Similarly, unlike a whole load of recent adaptations, this movie doesn’t rely on pragmatic knowledge from the book to make sense.
Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) is our heroine of the piece. Lawrence pulls from her character in Winters Bone and manages to portray a young individual who is brave enough to do anything for her family and is not scared to get her hands dirty. There is little sweetness in Katniss’ character and it is perfect for the role. Her onscreen chemistry with Peeta (Hutcherson) will set teenage hearts a flutter as he is more sweet and incapable than her. Woody Harrelson is fantastic as the pair’s mentor and he brings some lighter moments in what would otherwise be an intensely nerve racking experience.
The majority of the action takes place in the arena where the Games are played. It’s a massive forest where the children essentially hunt each other equipped with bows, arrows and knives. The violence is handled well, the quick camera work flashes across the action and never gives you long enough to realise quite what is happening. However, the film may have benefitted from being a 15, giving Ross license to choreograph some more gory sequences which would have definitely enhanced the terrifying situation Katniss finds herself in.
Although The Hunger Games is clearly aimed at a teenage market, it is definitely a lot smarter and a lot more powerful than you may first give it credit for. We see The Capitols puppeteers controlling the Game and inducing certain situations which is a chilling thought on top of the already barbaric concept. You question whether the poor really should do what they’re told when the rich show no regard to the consequences despite the whole games being senseless and pointless in the first place. What’s more, it will genuinely make you think: would I watch it? The Hunger Games is exceptional, and for once, lives up to the hype.
Check out the trailer!