Amazing how the technology in this flick ranges from the 1800s to the control deck of the Starship Enterprise.
“The Hunger Games” is set in what can be described as a post-apocalyptic future where the main country where the story takes place is divided up into 12 separate districts and one large capital city. In the Capital resides the government and the richest of the population, where as the 12 separate districts are where the poor live.
To keep order and peace in the country and stay in control, the government created ‘The Hunger Games’ where one young man and woman would be chosen from each district and compete in a survival/fight-to-the-death competition. Our main character, Katniss (Lawrence) was originally not suppose to participate in the games however her sister gets picked and because of this she volunteers herself to take her sister’s place. The movie then follows Katniss’ journey of learning about the capital and fighting in the hunger games itself.
“The Hunger Games” does a fairly good job of introducing the audience to this alternate reality and moves along at a nice pace. For most of the film, it never feels rushed, taking time out to develop it’s characters. The climax of the story however did go a little too fast and also lacked a certain “Luke blowing up the Death Star feel.” Plus, the ending felt a little too complete. By the end mostly everything has wrapped up and it left me not really needing or even wanting a sequel.
The acting was strong, with my favorite being Woody Harrelson who played a really fun character. He was very charismatic and added to the enjoyment of the film. I’ve also heard that Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss just how she was in the book which I haven’t read. That being said, she carried the role of the protagonist well and was convincing. Donald Sutherland was good as President Snow as well, being a major step up from his phoned-in performance from “The Eagle” last year.
The special effects is another area the filmmakers got right. The high level of tech that the capital was using from the aircraft to the holographic projectors all looked great. The film also was good in terms of style and setting, from the clothing to the capital city to the battle forest where the games take place, everything has an either gritty or very realistic feel to it.
The camera work however left a ton to be desired. For many moments of the film, the camera was shaky, which isn’t bad in small doses, but it was getting to the point of being frustrating. Also, there were way too many close up shots going on during the battle scenes which made it very difficult to see who had the upper hand, let alone what the heck was going on. This was the part that really hurt the film since these moments of battle and survival seemed so integral to the story and yet could barely be seen.
“The Hunger Games” is a film that can definitely hold one’s interest, be exciting and engaging at times however the scenes that are suppose to show the raw survival didn’t seem very impactful and the ending was lack luster. High 3 out of 5.
This review was first published in the Minnesota State University Moorhead student newspaper The Advocate.