The Hunger Games
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Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight to the death with one another until one survivor remains.Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Building on her performance as a take-no-prisoners teenager in Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence portrays heroine Katniss Everdeen in Gary Ross's action-oriented adaptation of author-screenwriter Suzanne Collins's young adult bestseller. Set in a dystopian future in which the income gap is greater than ever, 24 underprivileged youth fight to the death every year in a televised spectacle designed to entertain the rich and give the poor enough hope to quell any further unrest--but not too much, warns Panem president Snow (Donald Sutherland), because that would be "dangerous." Hailing from the same mining town, 16-year-olds Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, The Kids Are All Right) represent District 12 with the help of escort Effie (an unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks) and mentor Haymitch (a scene-stealing Woody Harrelson). At first they're adversaries, but a wary partnership eventually develops, though the rules stipulate that only one contestant can win. For those who haven't read the book, the conclusion is likely to come as a surprise. Before it arrives, Ross (Pleasantville) depicts a society in which the Haves appear to have stepped out of a Dr. Seuss book and the Have-Nots look like refugees from the WPA photographs of Walker Evans. It's an odd mix, made odder still by frenetic fight scenes where it's hard to tell who's doing what to whom. Fortunately, Lawrence and Hutcherson prove a sympathetic match in this crazy, mixed-up combination of Survivor, Lost, and the collected works of George Orwell. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Synopsis Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she’s pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
About the Author SUZANNE COLLINS first made her mark in children’s literature with the New York Times bestselling Underland Chronicles for middle grade readers. Her debut for readers aged 12 and up, The Hunger Games was an instant bestseller, appealing to both teen readers and adults. It has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 180 consecutive weeks/more than three consecutive years since publication. Suzanne Collins also had a successful and prolific career writing for children’s television. In 2010 Collins was named to the TIME 100 list as well as the Entertainment Weekly Entertainers of the Year list. In 2011 Fast Company named her to their 100 Most Creative People in Business.
Katniss EverdeenThe Tribute who becomes a heroine when she volunteers to take her sister’s place in the Hunger Games.
Peeta Mellark The male Tribute from District 12, who has long harbored secret feelings for Katniss.
Gale Hawthorne Katniss’s fellow hunter, rebel and best friend, who is heartbroken when she volunteers and departs for the Games.
Haymitch Abernathy Victor of the 50th Hunger Games, now the rarely sober mentor for Katniss and Peeta.
Effie TrinketKatniss’s elaborately-coiffed escort and PR handler for the Games.
CinnaKatniss’s personal Stylist for the Games who becomes her unexpected confidante and supporter.
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Regardless, I found the Hunger Games movies to be great.
Ok, I'm maybe picking nits here, but I do like the film. I'll just need to read the books to see if this issue is handled differently there. So, by all means, watch. Good movie. Not great. But good.
With such a big following and a lot of hype, The Hunger Games film was one of the most highly anticipated in 2012. The film lives up to the hype. It is clear that those responsible for producing and making the film come to life wanted to keep the spirit of the book intact, and they accomplish this. With The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins as one of the screen play writers and director Gary Ross as producer, they are able to keep the novel's vision of a disturbing and backwards society. The film works so well because it demonstrates what an Orwellian, futuristic, dystopian world would look like amid these mindless traditions like the Hunger Games, run by corrupted higher ups. It's a society and world where one must always look over their shoulder; no one is safe. The Games, projected onto society by the means of media and overblown television coverage, create a norm of desensitization to violence. Much like the book was a commentary and criticism of overblown reality television and sensationalism of media, the film follows a similar route, showing the brutality of war, a fight to the death with children as its main celebrities.
The film was also terrific from the standpoint of character casting. Jennifer Lawrence really steals the show, and is a perfect fit for Katniss Everdeen. She captures Katniss' personality so well. She is stuck between concern for family and friends close to her in District 12 and being forced to survive the Games. She's presented as a sympathetic character who is emotionally drained from the reality of war, but tries to stay mentally strong. I also thought that Josh Hutcherson did an exceptional job as Peeta.
The subtleties and other nuances are also presented effectively in the film. The build up and circus-like atmosphere leading up to the Games are handled perfectly. The mockingjay is introduced as a symbol that will comes into prominence later. There is a perfect blend of foreboding and surrealism both before and during the Games. Clearly, attention to detail was a high priority.
Over all, this is a fine adaptation to The Hunger Games, and hopefully Catching Fire will be as good. The quality of the DVD is also superb. Extras in the two discs include a "Making The Hunger Games" documentary as well as conversation with director Gary Ross.
Definitely recommended for anyone who loves the book, or is a fan of dystopian-based films.