Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Hunger Games (2012)


“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.”

            Last year all my friends were telling me to read The Hunger Games. A few years ago I made the mistake of reading the Twilight series so I was not keen on ever reading another young adult series again. My one friend told me The Hunger Games are all about love and the main character is great. Another friend raved about them. So I borrowed the books from one of my friends. I liked the story but I was not thrilled with them. I wanted to see the movie but some people told me it was really good and others said it sucked. Well I thank the retail gods for putting The Hunger Games movie on Blu Ray for only $7.99 because I bought it and thought it was awesome.
            If you do not know what The Hunger Games is all about here is a synopsis:
            In the future in a place called Panem there are twelve districts with District One or The Capital being the wealthiest and District Twelve the poorest. Many, many years previously there was an uprising and with this uprising came the destruction of District Thirteen and its people. In honor of this uprising and to teach the people a lesson every year The Hunger Games are held. The Hunger Games takes a boy and a girl from ages twelve to eighteen from each District and makes them all fight to the death until only one is left. Many of the Districts after Three never have a chance since they are poor and cannot train. The ones in Districts One through Three are called “Careers” because they can spend their whole lives training.
            The story focuses on a young girl named Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) from District Twelve. Katniss and her friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) keep their families fed by hunting in the woods. They sneak out beyond the electric fence. Katniss is skilled at using her bow and arrows. Her younger sister Prim is now eligible for the Games. Katniss tells Prim she should not really worry since it is her first year and her name is only entered once.
            Unfortunately Prim is chosen for the Games. Katniss runs up to the front yelling that she volunteers to go in Prim’s place. The boy that is chosen is Peeta Melark (Josh Hutcherson). Katniss and Peeta are taken to The Capital to take place in a huge ceremony and interviews. All of the people that have been chosen get to train and work on their skills. On the day they are to show their skills to the sponsors Katniss messes up on a shoot and the sponsors laugh at her and do not pay attention to her. To get them to notice her she shoots one of the arrows directly into an apple in a pig’s mouth. All the sponsors are impressed and she receives the highest score of eleven.
            During the interviews Peeta reveals that he and Katniss are in love. They really are not but he does that so they can get sponsors. Katniss is not happy about what he has done without her knowing but she eventually plays along knowing sponsors will love it.
            The contestants are thrown into an arena made by the Game Makers. The arena is Katniss’s strength. They are all throne into the woods. Katniss thrives in this environment. She teams up with a small girl from District Eleven named Rue. Rue reminds Katniss of Prim. Unfortunately Rue is killed. Katniss makes a sign to the people of District Eleven and sparks the people there into a frenzy of revolt.
            The Game Makers want to play up the “star crossed lovers” angle so they make the announcement that if a boy and girl from the same district are left they will both win. Katniss and Peeta are the only ones left alive. The Game Makers change their minds and now only one person must live. Neither Katniss or Peeta want to kill the other. Katniss gives Peeta some poison berries so neither one will live. The Game Makers have no choice but to accept them both as winners.
            Katniss’s action has set off a chain reaction she had no intention of ever setting.
            All the actors were perfectly cast. Jennifer Lawrence is just brilliant. Katniss is an emotional, loving, strong willed girl and Lawrence was perfect. Josh Hutcherson was alright but I think it is the character of Peeta I was not crazy about him in the books. My favorite casting was Lenny Kravitz as Cinna Katniss’s costume designer. He had the look and the attitude of a designer. I really liked his chemistry with Lawrence too you can tell they had a great love for each other as friends. Elizabeth Banks is just awesome. I have seen her in plenty of films especially her comedies and I think she was perfect as Effie Trinket. I am glad to see that she was cast in a big movie like this. Liam Hemsworth was total eye candy in his scenes. He made a good Gale.
            I really liked the direction by Gary Ross. It almost reminded me of a surrealist film the way it was filmed. It was an interesting choice to film a teen movie in this way. I liked how there were some scenes that were filmed from unconventional/different angles. Ross’s direction is more than half the reason I liked The Hunger Games so much.
            The Hunger Games is a great movie with a great story. I like stories where the character comes from a normal/humble background and something extraordinary happens to them and their life and their world just completely changes. Highly recommend seeing The Hunger Games whether you have read the books or not especially for the cast and the direction.