Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Hunger Games Movie Review
For years I have heard the highest praise for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, but had never gotten around to reading it. I think I was afraid to commit to a trilogy or maybe I was unsure if the story was too dark. Silly me! After seeing the movie this past weekend, I now understand what all the hoopla is about -- action-adventure; thriller; drama and even a bit of love story -- it is all here!
The movie opens sometime in the future in the country of Panem; a society born out of the residents’ long ago quashed rebellion. Although there is no more war in Panem, life is pretty grim (think 1930’s Depression Era) for everyone except the residents of the capitol city. Katniss Everdeen’s family, like most others, is barely getting by. They must survive on the food that Katniss can kill with her bow and arrow. Fortunately, sixteen year Katniss is an excellent shooter.
As if things weren’t bleak enough, every year, as payback for the long ago rebellion, Panem hosts the ultimate reality show: The Hunger Games. The game is composed of 24 children; one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts of Panem. The children are selected in annual lottery held in each district called “The Reaping.” The Hunger Games is part pageantry and spectacle with a big pre-production ceremony, but is mainly a “survivalist” game which is played in the woods until all, but one of the participants are dead. The lone survivor is crowned the victor.
When Katniss Everdeen’s young sister, Prim, is chosen as the female representative from District 12, Katniss quickly volunteers in her place. Going along with her to represent District 12 is Peeta Mellark a local boy who helped Katniss years ago. They form a friendship as they try the survive The Hungers Games.
As someone who is unfamiliar with the book, with few exceptions, I was able to follow the movie quite easily. The few parts where I was lost (such as what happened to the 13th District) I suspect will be answered in the future films. Again I have no comparison to the novel, but in my opinion Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss Everdeen! I was also struck by the depth of the story which draws on both literature (Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” comes to mind) and ancient history (the Roman Empire held similar “to the death games” for entertainment purposes). Additionally, while the film is a lengthy 2 hours and twenty two minutes, it went by rapidly. In short, I loved this film!