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1,026 of 1,330 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece! An excellent film about courage, hope and human dignity facing the all powerful totalitarian tyranny!
"Hunger Games" is certainly the best film I have seen since many many months, and it is a very successful adaptation of an excellent book.

In my personal opinion, both the book and the film are much deeper and much more ambitious, than what most critics and reviewers would make us believe. After reading the reviews in "New York Times", "Le Monde" and on...
Published on March 22, 2012 by Maciej

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217 of 296 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too pretty, too santized -- the film has none of the emotional impact of the novel
Director Gary Ross's version of Suzanne Collins's HUNGER GAMES manages to sanitize the entire concept of kids-killing-kids in order to produce a PG-13 blockbuster that's sure to rake in the big bucks. But what was devastating and heart-wrenching in the novel is glossed over and prettified here, leaving me feeling none of the emotional impact I experienced in reading the...
Published on March 24, 2012 by kacunnin


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1,026 of 1,330 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece! An excellent film about courage, hope and human dignity facing the all powerful totalitarian tyranny!, March 22, 2012
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
"Hunger Games" is certainly the best film I have seen since many many months, and it is a very successful adaptation of an excellent book.

In my personal opinion, both the book and the film are much deeper and much more ambitious, than what most critics and reviewers would make us believe. After reading the reviews in "New York Times", "Le Monde" and on "Msn.com" (to cite only few) I was surprised that they mostly missed everything that is important in this film. With a kind of amused superiority, which people from Capitol in this movie would immediately recognize, the "professional" reviewers pointed at the obvious allusions to gladiator fights, the reality shows, the importance of trashy entertainment in today's TV, the search for a new franchise able to replace "Twilight", etc., etc.

But they almost entirely failed to see, that this film is first and above all about much more important things: how to keep hope, not lose the courage and preserve humanity and dignity under a totalitarian oppressive regime.

I believe that almost everybody now knows that when writing "Hunger Games" Susan Collins attempted basically a modern (even futurist) retelling of the old Greek myth of Theseus and Minotaur. According to this ancient tale, after losing a war, every year the city of Athens had to send a tribute of seven young men and seven maidens to the king of Crete. Once there the young people were locked in the Labyrinth, to be devoured by the monster Minotaur. This yearly punishment and humiliation lasted until Theseus, crown prince of Athens, volunteered to be one of the tributes and once locked in the Labyrinth he defeated and killed the Minotaur.

In "Hunger Games" what was once United States (and I think also Canada) is now called the Panem. It is a country divided in twelve Districts remaining under the control of the Capitol central metropolis. There was once thirteen Districts, but when they rebelled against the central power, the Capitol destroyed completely the District 13 with all its population and then defeated and submitted again the twelve others. In order to remind to its subjects how absolute is its power, the Capitol claims a yearly tribute - one girl and one boy of ages from 12 to 18 from every District. The tributes are then send to an arena and forced to fight, until only one remain alive. This yearly event is called the Hunger Games and it is shown live on TV to all the population of Panem. This film tells the story of what happened at the 74th edition of Hunger Games...

For Capitol the purpose of Hunger Games is to remind yearly how powerful is the central metropolis and how dire can be the consequences of its wrath, but also - and even more importantly in my opinion - to humiliate and degrade the people of the Districts by forcing them to become accomplices (even if under duress) of a barbarian custom in which some of their own children are send to the slaughterhouse. And as all bullies and abusers know, it is much easier to oppress, abuse and brutalize victims who lack self-esteem...

Well, in this film we can see how one of the tributes from District 12, an exceptionnal young girl named Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), manages to turn the tables on the Capitol and by allowing people of Panem to regain some of their dignity she will be the pebble which starts the avalanche. The exact way in which she does that will not be revealed here, but both in the book as in the film it is described in a very intelligent and very moving way...

This may seem a rather improbable thing that a 16 years old child can do something that will ultimately bring down a seemingly invincible and all-powerful tyranny, but let's not forget that in the real world, the great wave of revolutions of Arab Spring began on 18 December 2010 with a desperate gesture of a dirt-poor 27-years old Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire after having been robbed and beaten by the corrupt local police one time too much... Less than two years after, the opressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya already collapsed, the seemingly invulnerable dictator of Yemen had to resign and the Syrian brutal regime is facing a massive armed rebellion..

Bottom line, this film is first and before all a story about how even a seemingly powerless person can horribly hurt a tyrannic regime with a magic potion made of lots of courage, an ice-cold determination, a great personal dignity, a little compassion, a handful of flowers, a couple of tears and one defiant and powerful gesture...

The powerful message and excellent scenario are not the only reasons why I consider "Hunger Games" as a masterpiece. Actors were selected very carefully and they perform well. Jennifer Lawrence is simply perfect - there is no other word to describe her performance! However, after seeing her in "Winter's Bone" and "X-Men: First class" I didn't expect anything less.

But the real surprise in this film comes from Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Mellark, the boy tribute from District 12. His character is more difficult to play, because Peeta is in the same time more limited but also more complicated than Katniss. Josh Hutcherson could have very easily fall in one of the many traps which are build in Peeta's character. By overacting or underacting he could have make him a wimp or a passive follower or an immature kid, but he avoided those snares with grace and his Peeta comes out of this film as a surprisingly complexe and also a very likeable character. He is certainly not a hero and a fighter like Katniss - but until the very end he preserves his honor, in a deadly place where he shouldn't ever be send...

A special mention goes to little Amandla Stenberg, who plays 12-years old Rue, the youngest of all the tributes. Her character is both secondary and in the same time incredibly important - and this little cute pixie played it perfectly!

Other, more known actors contribute to the success of this film. Woody Harrelson is excellent as Haymitch, the only person from District 12 who ever won in the Hunger Games and is now an advisor to Katniss and Peeta. Lenny Kravitz portrayed a perfect Cinna, the man in charge of image of tributes from District 12 in public appearances before the games begin. And finally there is the giant figure of Donald Sutherland, who plays the supreme ruler of Panem, President Coriolanus Snow. He is purely incredible. There is a moment in this film when he says to somebody "I like you" - and I believe that I have never heard such a terrible and deadly threat in one short sentence since the archifamous Schwarzenegger's "I will be back"...

I also absolutely adored the using of the cameras. In some moments of this film we have the impression of going after the characters with a camera, like a war correspondent following the fighters (this style was also very skillfully used in "The Shield" series). Of course not all the film is turned in this way, but mixing this kind of scenes with more conventional ones gives here an excellent effect.

The games themselves are very skillfully described and are a very dramatic tale, full of surprises and twists. I found them much much better than "Battle Royale", to which this book and film are often compared. The games are deadly and brutal, but there is only limited gore - I think this film is suitable for young teenagers, although not for children younger than 12. There is also absolutely no nudity, sex or strong language and I for one found it a most excellent thing.

There are still many more good things to say about this film, but I believe you should discover them by yourself. One more thing however about the book - it is of course possible to see and greatly enjoy this film without reading the book, but I believe that reading the novel first is a good idea. If reading the whole book is out of question, I would advise to read at least the first hundred pages. It will not reveal much about the games themselves, but it will allow for a better understanding of some of the key elements: the strength of the bond between Katniss and her younger sister, the history that Katniss shares with her hunting partner Gale, the complicated relation between Katniss and her mother and last but not least, the mysterious bond existing between Katniss and Peeta Mellark.

About this last point: if you did not yet read the book I do not want to spoil the pleasure of discovery so I will say just this - Katniss and Peeta lived for 16 years in the same village, but they never spoke one to another (except for an occasional "Hello") and they never touched one another in any way. And still, they share a secret as big as life and death, a secret which both bonded them together and in the same time separated them deeply... If you want to know the solution of this riddle you have either to watch very very carefully every scene of the film or simply read the book...

Conclusion: this film is a masterpiece! I loved it and I am going to buy the DVD as soon as it is available. And I am SOOO going to see the the second part, as soon as it opens!
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217 of 296 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too pretty, too santized -- the film has none of the emotional impact of the novel, March 24, 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
Director Gary Ross's version of Suzanne Collins's HUNGER GAMES manages to sanitize the entire concept of kids-killing-kids in order to produce a PG-13 blockbuster that's sure to rake in the big bucks. But what was devastating and heart-wrenching in the novel is glossed over and prettified here, leaving me feeling none of the emotional impact I experienced in reading the book.

[**SPOILER WARNING** I'm assuming readers are familiar with the novel, so some plot elements will be discussed in this review.]

Don't get me wrong, this is a slick and well-made film, with plenty of action and a sensational performance from Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen. The settings are well done, especially the Capitol in all its crazy-colored chic-ness and over-the-top luxury. District 12, the poorest district in Panem, is believably presented as well, complete with starving people dressed in rags and walking like zombies to their depressing jobs. The scene of the "Reaping" is chillingly done, and the scenes of Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) getting primped and trained in the Capitol hit perfect satiric notes (it's all so "reality TV," which is what makes it all so believable).

What doesn't work are the scenes of the Games themselves. From the start, Ross misses the mark. When the Games are seconds from beginning, the 24 teens are standing in a semi-circle, staring down at weapons and backpacks strewn about around the Cornucopia as they wait for the countdown to hit zero. We need to feel what they're feeling. We need to feel their terror, their horror, and yes, even their excitement. But Ross doesn't let us feel any of that. Instead, he keeps the focus almost solely on Katniss, and once everyone starts rushing forward, he cuts so quickly between scenes that it's almost impossible to see what's going on. We are aware that people are being killed, but it happens so fast and with so little reaction from the characters themselves, that it has little impact.

The same holds true for the rest of the games. Horrible things happen, but I never felt that they had much affect on Katniss or Peeta. Most of the killing in the film happens off screen, or the camera cuts away before anything brutal is revealed. That wouldn't be a bad thing if we could at least see some believable reaction shots. But we don't. On top of that, none of these characters look like they've been out in the woods for days, trying to kill each other. Close-ups of hands show clean, manicured fingernails, and everyone looks amazingly dirt-free (aside from Peeta, who camouflages himself with mud at one point - but even then, he's clean and chipper-looking a few scenes later).

Rue's climactic death scene is equally ridiculous. Rue (Amandla Stenberg) looks downright gorgeous, like she's on her way to a photo shoot instead of swinging in trees to avoid getting knifed (in fact, we don't get to see her swinging in trees at all, just peeking out from between branches). Her hair is perfect, there's not a scratch or bit of dirt on her, and when Katniss is holding her as she dies, it's impossible to imagine that they've been out in the woods for days without soap and water, fighting for their lives. It's just all too pretty, all too nice.

I walked out of the theater feeling oddly detached from what I'd just seen. That's not at all the way I felt in reading the book. The novel was gripping and gut-wrenching, and although it was certainly not graphically violent or bloody, the situation Katniss found herself in was chilling and horrifying and impossible to forget. At the end of the film, however, Katness seems almost unscathed by what she has just experienced. I didn't see any indication that she is the wounded, devastated young woman she is in the novel. In the final scene, she's more bothered by seeing Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in the crowd at the train station while she's holding Peeta's hand. Yikes, girl, you've just KILLED people and seen children covered in blood . . . surely you'd be thinking of something more than which guy you like better.

There are changes in the film that might bother the die-hard fans. The "Mutts" that attack during the final act are just generic beasts in the film (they don't have the faces of the fallen tributes), which minimizes their impact. The symbolic Mockingjay pin just shows up near the start of the film without explanation. But these are minor changes. Stanley Tucci is great as Flickerman, Woody Harrelson is terrific as Haymitch, and I enjoyed seeing Donald Southerland as President Snow (although his performance was so low-key I had trouble imagining him as a ruthless dictator).

This is a big movie, and it's going to be a huge success. I have no doubt a huge percentage of HUNGER GAMES fans will be thrilled with what they see on the screen. I just wanted to feel more. The whole idea of being forced to kill people for a TV viewing audience is absolutely horrifying - I wanted to see that and feel that in this movie, the way I did in the novel. You can't win a "game" like this. Haymitch is proof that you can't win (what happens to his life after winning the Games is evidence of what such brutality will do to you). In the novel, Katniss herself is torn apart by what happens. In the film, not so much.

HUNGER GAMES is not a terrible film. I'm glad I saw it. But it in no way does justice to the novel, and that's too bad.
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235 of 330 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book to flick., April 24, 2012
By 
I enjoyed this movie. Yes, I've read the books. People will always be upset because things are always missing from the story when you take a book and transfer it to film. I thought it was done well. Other people didn't understand the concept. This is a trilogy, you're not supposed to learn everything in the first book. Everything will come together, and there will be more understanding. Overall, it was a great representation of the book, in my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great action flick, January 17, 2014
Book characters well matched with actors/actresses. Quick changes in settings and action. Kept my interest, only draw back was I felt movie was a bit too long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie, January 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
Read the book and loved the movie. It could happen to us in the future, you never know. My next cat will be named Katness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what mom thinks about this movie, January 16, 2014
Great movie...the killings were very tastefully filmed. Not a lot of gore thank goodness when it came to killing people for sport. Looking forward to seeing second movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique!, January 7, 2014
Credible. Plausible, but no real evidence for such a season, YET! Could this happen? My answer is YES! Throughout the film I was reminded of a book from long before in my past that has a similar impact- Lord of the Flies. This film is captivating in a way most others from Hollywood are not, and will leave you thinking about it for weeks after, and wanting for more..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SPOILERS AHEAD!!, December 30, 2013
SPOILER ALERT….

How could an otherwise talented director take the most nail-biting, adrenaline-pumping, edge-of-your-seat story and turn it into one of the dullest, anti-climactic movies ever? The following are just a few of the wasted opportunities that made this one of the worst adaptations ever.

Katniss’s private session with the gamemakers. Dull. This was an excellent opportunity for some excitement. In the book, she shoulder rolls forward, lands on one knee and shoots out a light that explodes in a firework of sparks before she shoots the apple out of the pig’s mouth. This could have been a rockin’ scene with rockin’ music. Instead, they removed all the action, and lingered far too long on Katniss’s face as she stares at the gamemakers who are ignoring her. Ironically, the following scene where they discuss what she did was actually more engaging and entertaining.

The mockingjay pin. Wasted opportunity. “Here Prim, take this piece of tin I found at the flea market. It has mystical powers that will keep you safe.” Yet, five minutes after Prim puts it on, she gets picked at the reaping! How’s that for a bad omen? Is it too much to ask that the filmmakers put a little thought into the token that not only represents District 12 and Katniss, but the very movie itself? How about giving its origin some significance and not ladle it with bad mojo?

The Reaping. Dull and another wasted opp. The Reaping scene is just dull, and it’s not clear that the people’s refusal to applaud is a huge form of rebellion. If only they had shown us a couple of glimpses of other districts’ reapings, shown how the people are forced to applaud, perhaps at gunpoint, thus making the rebellious silence of District 12 more palpable. If only they had shown Cato and Clove brazenly volunteering. Maybe show a flicker of doubt cross Clove’s face as their district applauds whole-heartedly or shown Cato searching for his mother’s face in the crowd before the door’s close. Cato’s speech at the end would have been much more moving. I would have FELT something!

Speaking of Cato’s death, it was so anti-climactic, I think Katniss actually yawned when she killed him. I know I did.

The worst moment is at the end when they announce they are both winners. This is what we have been leading up to! It’s over! They won! I want to FEEL something! I want to feel relief, pride, excitement and conflicting feelings of hatred towards the Capitol. I want to have a cathartic experience. But instead I feel nothing, NOTHING. There is no sweeping music, no cheering crowd from the Capitol, nothing. Just…ok, ok, you both win. Then…crickets. It’s over. It is so disappointing! So anti-climactic.

Gary Ross and others are not Hollywood novices. They know how to make an audience feel something. So how come I felt nothing? Why, Gary Ross? Why? I know they didn’t have the biggest Hollywood budget, but I’ve seen homemade youtube videos that made me feel more than this one. Huge letdown.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good interpretation of the novel, but a bit flat, September 3, 2013
I was captivated by the Hunger Games novel series, a story so vivid, it was like watching a film when reading this saga of courage against tyranny. The film is a good attempt to interpret the book and the cast is perfect! I especially loved the young actress who played Rue, who is the most touching character in the first book; young, intelligent, resourceful and loving. I want to see more of Amandla Stenberg, that's for sure.

The film, however, comes off as slightly flat. The viciousness of the Panem system, where the districts are near starvation is played down. They look merely impoverished, not near starvation as the book vividly portrays. The excess of the Capitol is beautifully filmed, but it comes off as a fairyland more than a contrast and a decadent, selfish society. A few lines of script could have illustrated this.

However, "if it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage" holds true for "Hunger Games." A flat, boring script simply doesn't allow the beautiful cinematography and the excellent cast to show the deeper meaning of the film. It's a good interpretation and entertaining. The gore has been held down to let it be watched by children--there is no sex and the blood and gore is limited. However, the film fails to make that incredible impression that the book does--even with all the tricks of the filmmaker at their disposal. I haven't seen "Catching Fire", the sequel, as of yet. The director is new; perhaps there is more depth in the second installment. We'll see. Three stars means: by all means watch it, but it's not going to bowl you over the way the book did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't really care for these types of movies., July 6, 2013
By 
Garrett Yarbrough (Fitzgerald, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Pretty much a whole bunch of nothing. I still don't know how this movie got so much hype and fame, other than maybe the book itself. Some people like this stuff I guess. I watched the human centipede, as odd and weird of a movie it was, it had some good acting in it. But this movie here, eh.
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The Hunger Games by Gary Ross (DVD - 2012)
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