Movie Review – The Hunger Games

by Donald Hanson • March 30, 2012 • Entertainment, Movie ReviewsComments (0)1545

The Hunger Games is kind of like taking ‘Survivor’, ‘The Running Man’ & ‘The Truman Show’ and rolling them all into one.

The story takes place in a future where adolescents are randomly selected to fight each other in a televised battle to the death until only one remains. The nation of Panem is broken into 12 districts and a boy and girl is chosen from each to make a total of 24 contestants. The film shows how the process works by focusing on the girl and boy from district 12, her family and boy friend and their PR person and trainer.

This is a great movie in all aspects. The characters are well developed and acted. The fight to the death is engrossing from the moment it starts. The tension and suspense is very effective and real. The story is thorough and does a good job at exploring the premise by showing us many different angles with characters in different levels of society.

Elizabeth Banks serves as the district 12 contestant’s Public Relations Expert, Woody Harrelson as their trainer, Stanley Tucci as the talk show host/television commentator, Wes Bentley as the director of the game, and Donald Sutherland as the President in charge of everything.

I knew very little about this movie going in except that it was based on a series of books like the Twilight or Harry Potter films. The balanced cast as well as the darker tone set this film apart from movies like the Twilight series. In those films, the leads are all teenagers with some older characters in supporting roles. Here we have to teenage leads with a variety of adults in a better balance. And they are not just there to serve a purpose, they are characters with personalities and agendas.

Jennifer Lawrence has a great screen presence and easily caries the film. To anyone who has seen her in previous roles such as X-men, this should be no surprise. And Josh Hutcherson is very good as well, both of them creating characters that are three dimensional, smart and real. One of the best things about this film is that there really aren’t any stupid or one dimensional characters and that is a huge relief in light of other films that have them on a routine basis.

The only thing the movie left me wanting was more background on exactly how this society came about. At 142 minutes this is longer than your average movie but I wish it were longer. There is a short video explanation by the President but I didn’t feel it was enough to answer the questions that popped up in my mind as the film progressed. Obviously this movie is the first in a franchise and hopefully some of the future installments will use more flashbacks to explain more about the past.

All in all, this is a very entertaining, intelligent & unique film.

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