How do I start a review like this? Well first, I've only read the first several chapters of the book. Yes, I'm going to finish it later, but I won't waste time making comparisons. Second, I think NOT having finished the book yet will give me a fresh perspective of the story. Third, I will probably finish the trilogy of books before the second movie anyway.
Unless you've been hiding under the rubble that's located under the rock, The Hunger Games is about Katniss Everdeen, a girl who volunteers in place of her sister Primrose to participate in a fight to the death competition called "The Hunger Games". As seen in most trailers, Katniss comes from District 12, which is the lowest of the barrel out of all 13 districts. The 13th district is as glamorous as depicted in the book. The futuristic architecture gave a strong vibe of the emerald city from The Wizard of Oz. The movie didn't waste time pushing the story forward, which is always a plus for me. Since this movie is mainly targeted towards teenagers as well as young adults, the futuristic look of district 13 is portrayed as artsy and bling-bling as posstble. The eccentric residents,the colorful clothes, and the sleek, colorful design of the tributes' living quarters looks like IKEA sponsored this entire film. The movie gave a great contrast between district 13 and the cold, dark world of Katniss' home which reflected the harsh life she's had.
Now lets get to our stars. Jennifer Lawrence is a cutie. She was born to play Katniss. It's not easy portraying a tough girl while maintaining your innocent, girl next door qualities. Lawrence brought Katniss to life in a way that made you cheer for her throughout the movie. She was the underdog. As a fan of Rocky, you know how I feel about underdogs! The character of Katniss has an appeal that everyone can relate too. She displayed a nurturing, sensitive side to her family and Peeta throughout the film, yet displayed a strong will to survive and win. Although Katniss' bow and arrow talents are the trademark of the film, it's rarely displayed but leaves an impact in each scene. The mocking jay emblem that's seen on every poster and trailer isn't very relevant to this story. This is just the beginning, so there were many setups that should be explained in the latter films.The other characters including the tributes weren't as three-dimensional as Katniss, but had extreme personalities to illustrate their backgrounds. Throughout the movie, every privileged tribute and citizen was portrayed as mean, eccentric and cocky, while the impoverished characters were loving, caring and helpful. As Kat's male colleague from district 12, Peeta's character was a major jerk, and should've been punished more for his behavior. Despite the weakness of his character, Hutchenson was okay but was clearly outshined by Lawrence's performance. There could've been a little more diversity than just two black tributes from district 11, but that's just a minor gripe. To move the story along, the characteristics and backgrounds of most of the other tributes weren't explained as much. Each of the symbols that represented each district were hardly featured either. I was surprised because the symbols were a major part in the movie's promotion posters. I let these small idiosyncrasies slide.Katniss(Lawrence) and Peeta(Hutcherson)
However, the scene stealer is none other than Woody Harrelson. You can google or watch the movie to find out about his character. But his gruff performance and his presence kept the movie from being to goody-goody. Lenny Kravitz was okay. His role didn't do much for me other than just the 'cool black guy'. Donald Sutherland contributed his veteran acting chops as President Snow. Speaking of being goody-goody, it's no secret that there's plenty of scenes that involve children getting slaughtered. If this is a shock to you, shame on you. Most of you know that only ONE tribute survives this contest, right? But the killing scenes are done with taste, and leaves much to your imagination. There isn't even as much action as expected. Most of the violent scenes are sparse, and executed quickly before you get emotional. However, there's one death that's a possible tear-jerker, because you become emotionally attached to this tribute then gets killed unexpectedly out of nowhere. To alleviate sympathy for the victims, the most deserving tributes get the most gruesome deaths. As family oriented as this movie seems, those who don't like the concept of children violently killing should proceed with caution. I wanted to see more of Gale in the movie. The book gives more detail about him and Kat's relationship. I'm sure there's plenty of material on the cutting room floor. We shouldn't expect too much from the first movie in a trilogy series.
Like I said before, I understand the mass appeal of this movie, but you know I'm a superhero buff. I was mostly drawn to the underdog concept as explained before. The Hunger Games is definitely one of it's kind. But this is just the beginning. I'll be more critical on the next two movies, especially since I'll have the books completed by then. But this is a awesome start to a creative series that already breaking box office records!
The Hunger Games has successfully owned up to the anticipated hype that's been stirring up for months!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars