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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 7 months ago

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Unlike ‘The Watchman’ or ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ – I never read ‘The Hunger Games.’ So all I had were crash courses from nephews, friends and even Ba-Ba-Booey (The Howard Stern Show) about how awesome this best-selling novel is. Now we all know beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder, so what works for some, may not necessarily work for “The Prinz.” The premise seemed cool, and when aware of it having been adapted into a film, for some crazy, distorted reason I quickly thought of it being along the lines of ‘The Running Man,’ with a wee bit of ‘Lord of the Flies,’ smeared with a little ‘Truman Show.’

Well, with the little I had taken in based on info versus what I saw, I could care less if I have anything to compare it in form of “literature,” however, when it comes to a film – holy shit was this beyond what I was expecting. Oh, sure, it did mirror a little of what I had in mind, but this film really took me by surprise and had me reassess what teenage turmoil may actually be!

Before I begin, not only are the odds ever in this film’s favor, but I’d say franchise as well!

For starters, if you’re one of those obsessed fans/readers, you know the deal, if you’re not, well, here’s the plot: A well-into-the-future society, life has had a pretty harsh turn due to war-based actions. With the inevitable, results are always based on divisiveness – those who have it all, and those who don’t. Wealth obviously traces an environment of goodies, while the poor inhabit 12 different Districts, each defined by their environmental region. Annually, for purposes of imposing its power on the low-end Districts, the rich force children chosen at random to compete in the ever so intense “Hunger Games,” which consists of physical battles until death becomes them and there’s only 1 survivor.

Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), sets the film’s tone as a tough-girl and fierce hunter from District 12! Her sharp-as-a-knife skills pertain to a bow and arrow, which provides her talented abilities to help feed her emotionally shot mother (Malcomson) and younger sister, Prim (Shields). On the day where kids are chosen (The Reaping) to represent their districts in ‘The Huger Games,’ Katniss leaps to her sister’s aid when she hears her name called by Effie Trinket (Banks)…stepping to the plate, demands to fight in her sister’s place – with only an idea of what, where, when and how the game is played, there’s more than she anticipated and then some!

Having dabbled in the movie business for some time now, I’ve always heard how “casting’s 90% of the film.” In defense of that phrase or saying or whatever you want to call it, I couldn’t express how much the cast of ‘The Hunger Games’ served well in this film. It was beyond me how precise every character was defined – especially with Lawrence. She is/was a charm and perfect as Katniss. A lot in the script requires Katniss to morph several times due to lots of unforeseen struggles to keep her heart pumping, and does it perfectly!

A lot of her objectives shine on their own, but much to their successes, a lot of it is dedicated to her supporters! Josh Hutcherson’s style and charisma serve him well as Peeta Mellark, District 12’s other representative (or Tribute) who like Katniss, holds a pretty cool power of his own. Effie’s tea-and-crumpet attitude was quite entertaining and fun played by Elizabeth Banks, but where I find myself a bit tied up when wrestling on personal favorites upon characters, it would be between Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch Abernathy, a Games survivor serving as mentor to Katniss and Peeta, and Stanley Tucci as the game’s vibrant commentator, Caesar Flickerman. They were both unique and carried the film on a different level!

However, as much as I may be going gaga over the cast, I must say even with such pros, ‘The Hunger Games’ wouldn’t have been the film it turned out to be with such a well-crafted story, structure, style and form of approach. On more than one occasion, we get to see where budget was imposed in the sense of scenery and affects, however, there are many times where there’s somewhat of a pull-back which gives off realism in form of a documentary-like approach, with rough, crude and as-you-go independent style. The grittiness and texture of many of the film’s shots where quite realistic and enhances a lot of how the film plays and resonates within a viewer – almost as if you’re in the same fields as they are.

The film’s engaging magic surly makes it one of my tops this year! I can’t compare it a book and start ripping on what worked or didn’t, but that’s irrelevant. The core of the film’s existence entails dedication, will, heart, love and courage – well played and presented, it’s no doubt there are more in store for the franchise. ‘The Hunger Games’ is open enough with a visceral symbol of what these kids go through for adults to chew on, but pretty tamed for its idealistic audience pertaining to teens.

Definitely a must see in my opinion!



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