Film Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

After seeing the trailer and checking out a few reviews of The Hunger Games movie based on Suzanne Collins’s book, my interest level wasn’t too high, since most of the reviews claimed that the film was a step down from the book and left out a lot of the social commentary, but now that I’ve seen the film, I can only say that I was pleasantly surprised with its quality.

It was marketed toward teenagers, but honestly it’s just as worthwhile for adults. In other words, if you enjoyed something like Harry Potter, you’ll like this too. I have not read the book, so I can’t comment on how close the story stayed to the source material, but for what it’s worth, I feel I grasped the essence of the book well enough in the film to be able to recommend it at least as a stand-alone adaptation.

My only complaint with the film is that the shaky cam is used too frequently during chaotic scenes, pulling punches from the violent parts of the film. It’s not that I’m so eager to see teenagers get ravaged, it’s that the shaky cam can be nauseating and feels like a cheap way out of getting an R rating and showing everything that’s going on in the scene.

With that said, the other aspects of the film are highly enjoyable, and Jennifer Lawrence carries the film on her shoulders flawlessly from start to finish as the homely protagonist Katniss Everdeen. I first saw Lawrence in X-Men: First Class as Mystique, and later in Winter’s Bone, and she has proven that she is a fine young actress that is worthy of recognition.

The supporting cast includes an ensemble of veteran actors such as Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland, and all of the young actors do a fine job amidst some physically and emotionally demanding scenes.

The dystopian setting is well-crafted, the emotion between the leads feels real and palpable, and the story flows effortlessly without any hitches or confusion. The make-up and costumes are also worth noting, as the citizens of the city dress in a unique and eccentric style reminiscent of a lot of other futuristic films, one in particular that comes to mind is The Fifth Element.

The Verdict: For anyone interested in films with dystopian settings, survivalist combat, or an emotional story, The Hunger Games is a worthy production that is entertaining throughout its entire running time.


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