Film Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012)
starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson,
Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland

Watch the trailer for The Hunger Games


[Warning! ... for those who haven't seen this movie and don't want to be spoiled...]




Synopsis
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil 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.

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.
I saw The Hunger Games a week ago or so! I wanted to read the books first before the release date and seeing this movie, but I didn't get to and ended up watching the movie first without reading the books. It was actually good that I didn't get to read the books before seeing this movie as I loved and enjoyed watching it. Another good thing about not reading the books before seeing this was that I didn't have to compare the movie to the book (s). I enjoyed watching the movie so much more as I didn't know much about it nor did I know what to expect and what was going on. It made my viewing experience so much more fun and enjoyable. I only knew very little about this trilogy  (books) and only seen the trailer and was only familiar with the few lines I've seen on the many TV spots I saw online and TV. I only expected to see/hear Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen utter her memorable line from the trailer and TV spots, "I volunteer. I volunteer as Tribute!" or when Elizabeth Banks' Effie picked a random name "Primrose Everdeen," as well as when I hear Donald Sutherland's President Snow saying "Happy Hunger Games. May the odds be on your favor." Other than those, I don't know anything and it's nice to seat in theaters watching the movie and just have some fun...and it's always a good thing. Some of the movies I've seen had been pretty good thus far and a few of them were an unexpected surprise that I didn't expect I would see (which I also happen to not know much about...I love that) and when I did,  I enjoyed watching them. This movie was on my Must-See Movie list for 2012 and I'm glad to have finally seen it.

This film, I must say, had lived up to its hype. It was great, fun, entertaining, and makes you root for Katniss Everdeen to win The Hunger Games! Although I didn't have a lot of expectations, I loved and enjoyed watching it more than I thought I would. It didn't hurt that this film had a great ensemble cast that worked very well together starting with the always wonderful Jeniffer Lawrence as the protagonist Katniss Everdeen. Jennifer has always been impressive with her acting since I saw her in a few indie films she was in (ie. Burning Plains, The Poker House, and Winter's Bone...even though those movies were alright, but her acting was always good) and  the recent reboot of X-Men: First Class as Raven (aka Mystique), which I actually loved and enjoyed watching her in that film. So, I got excited when I heard that she was cast in this film. I must say, she was great in this film and she didn't disappoint here in her heroine role. She made me love, care, and root for her Katniss Everdeen character. She was great when she was with the other Tributes competing with fellow District 12, Peeta to survive and win The Hunger Games. Her emotional scenes at the forest especially with another Tribute, the young girl Rue (Amanda Stenberg) was sad and the most heartbreaking scene in this film. It was emotional and made me cry. I felt Katniss' pain when she was crying.  Her emotional scenes with Peeta were pretty good too. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark was pretty good. I love his scenes with Katniss. They looked great together. Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne was good too and I felt kinda bad seeing him jealous at seeing Katniss with Peeta and especially when she kissed him. That must have hurt as he looked liked he really liked and cared a lot about her (perhaps he was slow in showing his feelings for her?) , but they've been great friends and I guess he was shy to make the first move and before he knows it...Peeta entered the picture. Poor guy. Can't blame Katniss for going along with Peeta as they were dubbed "star-crossed lovers" on the competition. Not too mention, they've been through together so much. Whether she really loved him or not, that's her business...it's not like Gayle was her boyfriend...they were just old friends. Though she seemed to have forgotten him when she was with Peeta. Can't blame Peeta either, he said that he had been in love with her for so long since he helped her that cold, rainy day...which she had recollected as soon as she saw him. Woody Harrelson as the drunk mentor Haymitch Abernathy was funny as well as Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket. It was funny when Katniss mimic her (British) accent saying "May the odds be ever in your favor," lol.  Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was cool. Loved his scenes with Katniss and the cool clothes he dressed her with. Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, Katniss' little sister did good on her part. Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane was kind of a lil' villain here. I wonder if that last scene with him was his demise...was it? I don't know...he might still be alive (or not) in the sequel. We shall see (once again, I didn't read the book, so that part made me wondered what happened to him towards the end)... Stanley Tucci as Ceasar Flickerman was hilarious. He didn't have a lot of scenes, but he was ridiculously funny with his equally ridiculously cool costumes (I meant that in a good way, lol), and Donald Sutherland as President Snow was pretty good as well. Even the other Tributes were pretty good in their parts.

The story and script was written very well. It was nice to see that the author Suzanne Collins was very much involved with this film especially with the screenplay and being one of the executive producers too. So, it was nice to see an author like her that this film was adapted to, had a lot of input in the film as she wrote and created the story and characters. The cinematography of this film looks terrific with great editing and pacing too. I was on the edge of my seat on some intense and suspense scenes, and the director did a great job directing this film.

Overall, I thought The Hunger Games was a great movie! A must-see for everyone! Definitely worth watching. I highly recommend you see this movie, if you haven't already. Go see it!

My The Hunger Games Film Rating: (9.5/10; A)

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