The Hunger Games Review

It’s impossible to avoid The Hunger Games at the moment; cinema attendance for the first installment in the new franchise is practically mandatory. The film has engulfed the US box office and taken astonishing initial figures of $460million in its opening weeks worldwide.

The Plot

In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts, ruled by a ruthless Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised gladiatorial contest forces the young participants to fight to the death.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s little sister, Prim, is selected as District 12′s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

The Good

Fans of the original books should be left absolutely satisfied with a dutifully faithful adaptation of Collins compelling story. Those unfamiliar with the books should also mostly find it easily accessible and enthralling.

Former Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence is a superb fit for heroine Katniss Everdeen; clearly capable of delivering a convincing emotional performance she also brings a physical credibility to the role. It’s simply difficult to imagine any of the waifish Hollywood IT girls in the role.  As in the book the film is almost entirely built around Katniss. It was vital the film and audiences could rely on this character and Lawrence’s performance allows them to do just that.

There are no obvious deficiencies in Josh Hutchison’s performance as Peeta, but if he does seem to carry a little less presence on screen then perhaps that’s a symptom of the character not the actor.  The supporting cast does breathe extra life into Hunger Games though with Woody Harrelson, Rachael McAdams, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland all on very fine form.

The Bad

For some people the noticeable lack of blood and gore in the deliberately restrained action sequences will perhaps be a slight disappointment. However this was always going to be a necessary compromise as the studio understandably pushed to keep the rating as low as possible to make sure younger fans weren’t restricted from watching the film.

There is perhaps also a special sensitivity shown when handling the film’s violence because by definition the fatal action sequences exclusively involve children.

Anyone left craving more of a graphic adolescent bloodbath would be happier watching Battle Royale, the blood drenched Japanese film that follows a similar plot to Hunger Games but has a much nastier tone.

The Ugly Truth

Whilst people may readily compare the scale of fan excitement and global audience figures for The Hunger Games to the Twilight saga it’s a fairly superficial comparison.  There’s no real connection between the two in either quality or tone.

The Hunger Games is a well-paced action film free from the clunky romantic melodrama and stilted performances that fiercely divide opinion on the Twilight saga. It largely deserves its huge box office success.

Leave A Comment