The Hunger Games: "I Don't Want Them To Change Me. If I'm Going To Die I Want To Still Be Me"

Director: Gary Ross
Writer:    Gary Ross
               Suzanne Collins
               Billy Ray 
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence
               Josh Hutcherson
               Liam Hemsworth
               Woody Harrelson
               Elizabeth Banks
               Lenny Kravitz
               Stanley Tucci
               Donald Sutherland
Rating:  ***

Release Date: Out Now

The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a girl selected to represent the people of her region in a televised fight to the death. The epic event is organised by the Capitol, the ruling power of America (known as Panem), as punishment for the people's rebellion years earlier. This is a story that is inspired by ancient Greek mythology and today's current obsession with reality TV.

I personally felt that despite the directors hard work, the film really fell short of the hype that has been building around it. There is no doubt that it is an exciting and enthralling tale from beginning to end, but despite the adrenaline fuelled plot, it lacked the heart and depth to match the fast paced flow of the story.

At the heart heart of the tale is Lawrence, as bow and arrow-wielding heroine Katniss, who bravely steps in for younger sister Prim when her name is pulled out to be the tribute for District 12. Through director Ross's rough and ready handheld camerawork you're with Katniss for every blood-flecked moment of her ordeal in the combat arena. I honestly found Lawrence's portrayal of the character extremely unlikable and there was just something about the actress that annoyed me, a kind of arrogance which I felt didn't it the character.

Fighting for survival alongside her is Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), a working class boy from her district who declares his love for her live in front of the Hunger Games audience. He is the movies underdog, and the pairs budding romance satisfies the audiences reality TV fix through the movies exciting narrative.

At first it appears that Katniss is playing this for the cameras , but as the finale draws closer those feelings begin to turn mutual. Unfortunately, the rules of the games state that there must only be one tribute left standing. So, it's kill or be killed for Katniss and Peeta.

This story of young love is watched in agony by Gale Hawthorne (Hemsworth), the boy who hunted with Katniss back in her district. It's a pretty small role for Hemsworth, but from what I can gather he will feature a lot more in the imminent sequels.

The film packs in a colourful cast of fantastic supporting actors, too, with Woody Harrelson providing some knowledge as former tournament champ Haymitch, Lenny Kravitz helping Katniss throughout the games as stylist Cinna and Elizabeth Banks stealing scenes as Effie Trinkett, a district escort who's floats around in a Tim Burton-esque manner.  Of course I can't go on without mentioning the fantastic Stanley Tucci as the smooth-talking interviewer Caesar Flickerman. I have to say that the older supporting cast are what really made this film watchable for me, as the younger actors lacked something that I just can't put my finger on.

The Hunger Games paints an extremely intricate picture of severe contrast, poverty and wealth, oppression and freedom, fear and hope. It's these opposing forces that make this world such a thrilling one. I had gone in there expecting a lot more than I felt I was given, but with a well written script, clear and vivid world and a brilliant set of supporting actors it wasn't a complete failure for me. Hopefully the sequel will see the younger cast step up their game, and maybe I will find myself liking Jennifer Lawrence in that one...fingers crossed.

The Hunger Games - Trailer


  1. Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review James.


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