‘The Hunger Games’ Review (Book Fans Will LOVE It)

by on March 23, 2012

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Wondering if The Hunger Games is as fans expect it to be?  Will it track as close to the book as you hoped, or were there some creative additives to the story?

Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games (movie review)

The answer is yes.  A wonderful yes.  Come on in and find out what Brusimm has to say in this Hunger Games movie review.

The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross, and starring Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) and more, is based on the book series of the same name, authored by Suzanne Collins.

It’s about a future world where the Capitol of Panem selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts of Panem to fight to the death on live television, as the Capitol shows or demonstrates their superiority over the districts.  A reminder of the war fought, and lost, by the districts.

It has a run-time of two hours and twenty-two minutes.

The Hunger Games opens with much like the book does, as we get a sample of Katniss Everdeen’s (Lawrence) life in District 12, as she goes off to meet her friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), in restricted territory where district citizens aren’t allowed.  But it’s how they get the extra food they need to survive.

Today is the day of the reaping, when the Capitol sends their representatives to pick one girl and one boy to participate in the Hunger Games.  When Katniss’ little sister, Primrose (Willow Shields), is chosen, Katniss volunteers to save her from the games.

From there, we see Peeta (Hutcherson) also chosen, and they’re whisked away to the Capitol to be prepared for the Games.

In the Capitol, you find yourself disgusted by the lavish lifestyles and glee derived from the reality TV of their life that is about to snuff out 23 young lives, for what looks like their entertainment. (It’s good to live in the Capitol, where all the other district toil to create your goods)

It’s in the Capitol that they meet their coach, Haymitch (Harrelson), a previous victor of the Games, and their stylist, Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz.

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Gary Ross, director of The Hunger Games

As an entertainment venue to movie-goers who have not read the books, The Hunger Games will probably work its magic and entertain despite some skirting about the development of a few of the characters.  For what Gary Ross has to cover and deliver, it felt right to me, but I’ve read the series back in September, and have prior knowledge of the various characters.  Ross glazes over much and that might leave non-fans guessing.  I’m fully expecting mixed-reviews, depending on the critic.  But above all else, the movie stays on top of the primary story, which is the games, Katniss and her situation.

For the fans of The Hunger Games book, not only was this adaptation dead-on, but they added a few things to spice up the experience… or more specifically, kept it fresh for those familiar with the story from the book.  And that was nice.

Readers also know the back stories and will probably feel fulfilled by what made it to the screen.  But there were moments that felt more flat on-screen than they did in the book.  They felt less explained, hence, seemingly empty or unmotivated.  But there weren’t many and you get over pretty fast.

My other issue was the blasted shaky-cam shooting style for the action scenes…  it’s been awhile since I’ve been subjected to that style of filming and almost forgot how much I hate it.

Most of the cast NAILED their roles/characters.  Jennifer Lawrence felt like the verbally repressed character of Katniss, while I was on the fence a bit about Josh Hutcherson.  Stanley Tucci was a superior pick for games announcer, Caesar Flickerman, while Elizabeth Banks pulled off her role of Effii nicely.  Harrelson was a bit more subdued than the book character, but being as how little time we had in the movie, I thought it was balanced nicely.  Lenny Kravitz made me believe and I think delivered Cinna to us better than the book did.  And considering how much was cut out from Katniss’ prep time in the Capitol, that’s impressive.

So how did I feel about The Hunger Games?

'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne CollinsMy money nor my time was wasted and it was awesome to see the story come to life on the big screen.  I will go see it again if asked.  How does that rate on a scale?  I’d say a ‘4 out of 5‘ if I had to rate it.

If you want to make it a 5 out of 5 movie experience, I’d almost recommend reading The Hunger Games and then going to see the movie.  That way, those other things that get glazed over, will make sense.

The Hunger Games is rated PG-13, and runs for 142 minutes.

(I’m working on a spoiler-filled entry for later posting, so stay tuned here.)

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