Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Let’s get one thing clear from the start. I haven’t read the books (yet). I know, shoot me.Point is, I might have missed some things that were in the book, but not the movie. Secondly, this review will purely focus on the quality of the film and not about how it compares to the novels.

The Hunger Games is a movie based on the novels by by Suzanne Collins. It was first published on September 14, 2008. ‘The Hunger Games‘ is the first novel in The Hunger Games trilogy, followed by Catching Fire, published on September 1, 2009, and Mockingjay, published on August 24, 2010.

Now, time for a little back story (don’t worry, I won’t spoil … much!). In a not too distant future (you can tell because they all have weird names *wink*), several years after a great war we meet Katniss Everdeen, a teenager with a knack for shooting arrows through the eyes of squirrels. Times hard and things are bad. Food is hard to come by (hence the squirrels). To commemorate the great war, the people of ‘The Capital’ hold an annual competition dubbed ‘The Hunger Games’ with the slogan¬† “And may the odds be ever in your favor”. Every year, each of the 12 districts send 2 teenagers to compete in the Hunger Games.¬† They get elected through a lottery, and their names are not entered voluntarily. These 24 teenagers will fight to the death until 1 victor remains who brings eternal glory to his or her district.

Naturally, Katniss Everdeen’s sister, Prim, gets chosen upon which Katniss herself volunteers to go in her sister’s place. She and the boy from district 12 go to the capital to compete. I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to discover, it’s fairly predictable anyhow.

So, what did I think of the movie? Well, it was quite good actually though I was sceptical at first. At times, I found it a bit predictable but that wasn’t a major concern and did not blemish my movie experience. The setting, decor and style of the movie are more than satisfying and manage to display the striking difference between poor (Fallout 3 style) and the decadent capital very well.

The costumes could have sprouted from Tim Burton’s mind and the overall feel of the movie sits just right.

Suffice to say, director Gary Ross did an amazing job (which is reflected by the box office revenues). Jennifer Lawrence (X-men: First Class) plays Katniss Everdeen, and does so quite well. Josh Hutcherson‘s performance, however, isn’t as good in my opinion and pales a little next to Jennifer Lawrence’s. Furthermore, we see Wes Bentley (Ghost Rider, American Beauty); an actor most people seem to have forgotten about – unjustified in my opinion. Woody Harrelson (The People VS. Larry Flynt) brings the humourous undertone to the movie to lighten the atmosphere a bit (he plays his signature half-mad drunkard).

Conclusion: The Hunger Games is a very good and enjoyable movie that has the right feel and good acting overall. It doesn’t shy away from showing from the often harsh, graphic and slightly perverse decisions made in the story all in the name of good television. Go watch it if you haven’t yet, it’s worth your money.

Niels Van Hellemont