Movie Review: THE HUNGER GAMES (2012)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Director: Gary Ross
Studio: Lions Gate
There is always a little hesitation when a well-loved book is made into a movie. While it is almost always the case that the book is better, there is still hope that the film will capture its essence and deliver. Will it do the characters justice? Will the actors embody the traits you envision? The answer to all of the above is YES. Author Suzanne Collins must be proud.
The Hunger Games did a fine job of selecting a good mixture of familiar faces and relative unknowns. Jennifer Lawrence was perfectly cast as Katniss Everdeen; strong, tough and naturally beautiful. She and Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) shared great chemistry. In my opinion, Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) stole every scene he was in. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) rounded out the outlying characters. Both of them were quirky, compelling and quite like the characters I had created in my mind while reading the book.
For those of you who have not read the book, this is a story set in Panem, a post-apocalyptic future nation constructed out of the ruins of North America. Collins said she created this world by fusing news coverage and reality TV. There are 12 Districts in Panem. Each District offers up one male and one female Tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 years old to represent them. The 24 Tributes are then tested, trained, interviewed and ranked for 2 weeks before “The Hunger Games” begin. They are transported to an arena where the world watches. They are all injected with tracking devices so the Games’ producers can create obstacles or force scenarios for each Tribute. Not unlike real-life reality TV, it is all about having a good show.
The movie stayed very true to the book with a few subtle changes that worked. There is never enough time to have every detail unfolded, but The Hunger Games did a great job of conveying its message. The only negative for me was the camera work in the beginning of the movie. While I understood the message of the fast and unfocused frames, it was jarring. Thankfully, it settled down and moved on with the story. The costumes and settings were wonderful. The fact that it was filmed in North Carolina was a bonus for this NC-based website.
Jennifer Lawrence is smack dab in the middle of a pretty impressive film career. When it comes to that and the success of The Hunger Games, as well as its inevitable sequels, I believe that the odds are ever in this movie’s favor.