The Hunger Games - Review

"The Hunger Games" is the hyped adaptation of the popular novel of the same name. Before the movie's release there was a lot of speculation whether it would turn out just as well as the "Twilight" films, which made me a bit worried. Are we going to get another overly melodramatic tween-s**t? Well, as i watched the first trailer, i was pretty suprised by the concept. Instead of whiny stupid b****es we get a mix of "Battle Royale" and "The Running Man". And with Jennifer Lawrence as the leading actress, i was quite optimistic about this one.

The plot:
Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.

As i already mentioned, "The Hunger Games" seems to be heavily influenced or at least partly inspired by previous classics like "The Running Man" and "Battle Royale". Although this time, the logic behind the hunger games themselves is not that precisely explained. As far as i understood, the purpose is mostly just entertainment and intimidation towards the districts to prevent rebellion.
Therefore, it also has some parallels to "Metropolis" with the movie's big showcase of the differences between rich and poor. I know, overall it's just killing for food, but strangely enough they all don't really look like they got starvation problems. They look pretty healthy to be honest, but anyway.
Regarding the atmosphere, "The Hunger Games" starts off very impressive with a depressing and desperate mood all around (set to a great score) but quickly turns out to be a strange mix of "Schindler's List" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when the rich people from the Capitol appear for the first time.
The story is supposed to be some kind of metaphor for kids being forced to fight in war. If so, i would have taken another style than the willy wonka-esque stuff.
You can say that this willy wonka fashion style is supposed to be regarded as some kind of society satire but in my opinion it takes away a lot of the realism and subtlety.

The first hour/ first half of the movie completely consists out of build-up for the big battle. It shows how the tributes get celebrated like superstar gladiators and the gameshow side of the hunger games. The teenagers get literally thrown into the superstar-lifestyle which they don't know how to handle. It's interesting to watch them being excited and then suddenly scared as hell again when they see the other teens train for killing each other later. The build-up is really good.
The main battle starts at roughly about an hour into the film (movie length: ca. 2h)

Why this movie is so often compared to "Twilight", i have no idea. Probably because of an upcoming love triangle in the next movies.

Jennifer Lawrence gives an expectedly superb performance in the leading role as Katniss Everdeen. Her successful carreer nowadays is well deserved. While the movie itself is not really that strong considering the dialogue, Lawrence and the rest of the cast do a great job expressing the emotions through their faces.
With that said, the rest of the supporting cast like Josh Hutcherson as Peeta do well too. He does great in delivering a character that is both scared but tries to force himself liking this strange kind of fame that is most probably destined to end with his death.
The only weird casting choices are Woody Harrelson, whose small performance is pretty shallow, and Lenny Kravitz who FOR SOME REASON thinks he is an actor now. His music is awesome but i am just so sick and tired of musicians thinking that they are automatically actors when they are famous.

The main battle is pretty ok considering the action. It's fairly nothing for action-junkies and it's not going to blow you away. Yet still, it's pretty intense most of the time. I mean, it's kids killing kids. The violence is not very graphic though. Occasionally you will see some splashes of blood but no gore or anything too heavy teens couldn't handle. I guess it's the exact right amount of graphic violence for a movie aimed for a teen audience. It doesn't glorify violence in any way. When one of the kids/teens has to kill the other, it's a sad act. And the film does great in treating the teen audience in an adult way (not like the "Twilight" movies -.-).
The battles are more interesting in the way of how the teenagers behave, form alliances and try to betray each other just to survive.
Yet, there are still some flaws like the overuse of shaky cam and (in my opinion) the watered down violence (because probably the novel was more graphic about the violence).

Overall, "The Hunger Games" is a quite a bit overrated but a well done, entertaining adult movie for a teen audience. After several comparisons with the "Twilight" movies, i was prepared for something just as stupid and bland but this was actually quite good. I would watch "The Hunger Games" over ANY of the "Twilight" movies any day. The concept of "The Hunger Games" alone is better than "Twilight". In my opinion, it is still a bit too lighthearted for my taste regarding the theme and concept of teens killing each other, but well, it's a book for teenagers, therefore they can't really show that much blood. Also, as i already mentioned, i absolutely don't think that the willy-wonka-ish futuristic style is apropriate. Could you imagine that those weird purple wearing people really want to see actual blood and gore in their freetime?!
While the concept itself definitely is NOT new and the movie might not be as deep and groundbreaking as most people say, the novel/movie has enough new twists on this fairly classic sci-fi concept to keep things fresh and interesting. Additionally, Jennifer Lawrence's performance as well as the ones from the supporting cast help this movie avoid being forgettable.

Fans of the novel definitely should check it out, while others will probably be entertained but not blown away by "The Hunger Games".

Final Verdict: 6 out of 10


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