The Hunger Games Review

Rey Carpio

A majority of us at St. Joseph read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for our Summer Reading in 2010. The Hunger Games was an incredible book and has been finally been created for the big screen. The film made box office history, making $155 million on it’s opening weekend. It’s the third most successful behind Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Dark Knight. The plot revolves around a futuristic world made up of twelve districts called Panem. A male and female tribute, between the ages of 12 and 18, are sent from each district to a worldwide broadcasted death-match known as the Hunger Games. When a young girl’s name is picked to be entered in District 12, her older sister, Katniss, volunteers to take her place.

The acting in this movie was fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence, an Academy Award Nominee, plays Katniss doing obviously an amazing job. Josh Hutchinson plays Peeta, the boy tribute of District 12, and he was good enough for the part but Jennifer Lawrence is who stands out in every scene. Other well-known stars in this movie are Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks. Woody Harrelson plays Haymitch, a man who won the Hunger Games years ago and is now Katniss and Peeta’s mentor. He does a great job and is everything I thought of Haymitch as when reading The Hunger Games. Elizabeth Banks plays Effie, the woman in charge of making Katniss look pretty and likeable. Effie is extremely enthusiastic about the Hunger Games and Elizabeth Banks does a terrific job playing the role.

The director, Gary Ross, did a fantastic job. He has only directed two other movies prior to The Hunger Games, and deserves the recognition for the success of the film. His other films include Pleasantville and Sea-biscuit. Ross had a way of making the duller portions of the book come alive in the film. Such as when the tributes were interviewed on talk shows while trying to gain sponsors who can help them in the games by sending goods and necessities. Ross made these scenes gorgeous to watch with his directing and I must give a hand to the costume design, makeup and set design as well. Elizabeth Banks’ makeup was so well done and I feel I wouldn’t have recognized her hadn’t I known before seeing the film.

Once the games get started, there is an amazing amount of violence for a PG-13 film. Although entertaining, at times the Director struggled with trying to create a greatly violent and bloody scene appropriate for PG-13. Being he couldn’t make an R-rated film, the Director used a lot of shaking of the camera in order for the scenes to appear more violent, where at one time I thought it was perfect but at another it felt very sloppy to where I had no idea who was who. But overall I understand why he had to use it and I think the shaky-cam added to the grittiness of the story, although at times it got annoying.

Other problems I had with the film were that it didn’t show much of Katniss’s sister and mother watching the Games. Although Gale, Katniss’s best friend in District 12, had a solid role in the story, I felt he was more important in the book. Another important character Katniss meets in the Games is Rue. In the book, you really like the character but in the movie, you don’t really feel that attachment. I’ve only read the first book so I’m not sure how Gale’s character fits in later, but the movie sets up a love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta which I really didn’t like because it’s been done a million times and can easily cheapen a great film. Speaking of, this film is compared a lot to Twilight because it is based on a book and appeals to teens. Although I’ve never watched them, I have heard horrible things about Twilight Series and in no way can think that The Hunger Games trilogy will be at all like Twilight. This movie is an amazing adaptation of the book. The characters, the locations, the Games, were all how I imagined them to be while reading the book. I will give the Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a great film and is similar to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo where you like the ending but it clearly wraps up nothing, leaving you wanting to see the next two films.