The Hunger Games $$$ 1/2
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson.Director: Gary Ross
That is the word that kept coming to mind while I watched Hunger Games. I haven’t read the books (yet), but I can tell you that someone sure knows how to tell a story. Based on the comments from those who have read the books my bet is that Suzanne Collins, the author of the novels, is the one responsible for putting together such a gripping tale.
In the future, after a devastating war, a strong government has emerged that keeps the population under control through a brutal contest known as The Hunger Games. A boy and a girl are selected from each district to participate in the games. They are loosed in an outdoor setting where they fight to the death until only one remains. To the winner goes fame and fortune and the rest received the honor of having died to represent their district.
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers for the games when her twelve-year old sister is selected during the lottery. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is drawn as the boy from district twelve that will participate in the games. They are taken to the Capitol and prepared for the event.
I want to recognize the performance by Woody Harrelson who plays Haymitch Abernathy. He does a great job as the trainer who must train Katniss and Peeta to survive the game, knowing that the best he can hope for is only one of them to return.
This story is filled with wonderful dramatic tension. Peeta has previously been kind to Katniss. There is also a young girl whose participation in the game draws a parallel to Katniss’ sister. How can Katniss bring herself to kill either of these other children.
The cinematography complimented the story being told. At times it was bleak to emphasize the poverty of the people in District 12. In other places it was brilliant and vibrant to display the decadence of the rich citizens of the Capitol.
There is a drawback to this story. It is brutal. I don’t mean that they have fountains of blood painting the landscape with red gore. The scenes of children killing children were a bit much for me. The film editors did a wonderful job of splicing some choppy action scenes that really brought out the viciousness of the battle at the start of the game.
I gave The Hunger Games a three-and-a-half rating, but I think that deserves further explanation. I have a very hard time watching scenes of children being hurt. The mental and physical anguish of children is at the very heart of this story. I understand that this is meant to be a precautionary tale and it does not glorify the violence. For those who are less squeamish than me consider this a full four cinema bucks film. It is a powerful story that I encourage people to see. Just be warned that you can expect some heart-wrenching scenes of children dying.
Randy’s Rating System
$$$$ = Full Price See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.$$$ = Matinee Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$ = Discount Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$ = Rental Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0 = No Sale Don’t see this movie at any price.