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The Hunger Games 2012 PG-13 CC

THE FIRST FILM IN THE HUNGER GAMES FRANCHISE. Based on the best-selling book, 16-year-old Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games.

Starring:
Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley
Runtime:
2 hours, 22 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Adventure
Director Gary Ross
Starring Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley
Supporting actors Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Paula Malcomson, Rhoda Griffis, Sandino Moya, Josh Hutcherson, Raiko Bowman, Dwayne Boyd, Anthony Reynolds, Judd Lormand, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Kimiko Gelman, Nelson Ascencio, Bruce Bundy
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maciej TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 22, 2012
Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
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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