If you’re a part of the Twilight fandom as we are, you’ve no doubt heard people/blogs referring to The Huger Games as the next ‘Twilight’. Usually followed by the typical ‘Character v Character’ battles, and the ever popular ‘Who’d Win In A Fight?’
Frankly, you cant get away from it. “Why is everyone comparing them???” you ask, “They’re two totally different things!”
I screamed and jumped at the chance to go to a screening. I decided to check it out.
The Hunger Games is the hottest property out there right now aimed at the teen crowd. It’s the big fan-base phenomenon we’ve seen before, so comparisons will be drawn, but that’s where they should END.
The dystopian trilogy about kids fighting each other to the death for reality TV couldn’t BE more different to the Stephenie Meyers vampire romance story we know and love.
In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.
Now we’ve cleared that up, what did I make of the film?
It’s been a while since I devoured the book by Suzanne Collins, but Gary Ross’ adaptation had a faithfulness to the original work that some fans will only dream of. It keeps the essence of the book and develops it, changing only what’s necessary for it to work on the big screen. At times it’s like reading the book all over again, replicating exactly what I had pictured in my head.
As much as PG-13/12A rating can allow anyway.
That’s not to say there isn’t any bloody violence, there is, and its just as powerful in the movie as it was to read about. It’s not done to shock, it’s necessary, it’s what the Hunger Games are about after all. As Jennifer Lawrence has said: “It’s the violence and the brutality (which) is the heart of the film, because it’s what gets the people angry to start an uprising and to start a revolution.”
Jennifer Lawrence herself is winning heaps of praise for her portrayal as Katniss, which is justified. She’s very believable as the much-loved heroine with her cold exterior, inner strength, determination and love for her sister.
In fact all the characters are bought to life beautifully, which is hardly surprising given the impressive cast list.
The Capitol costumes and make up are spot-on, imaginative. And we get a glimpse into the Games control room which was an added bonus!
The love story is a minor subplot. It’s hard to tell what Katniss is thinking without the internal monologue we’re used to in the book, but it’s there, and it’s sweet, and it doesn’t distract from any of the serious issues and survival theme.
Despite being almost 2 and a half hours long, the film flew by! Here are a few things that stood out in my memory:
- The emotional scene between Jennifer Lawrence and Amandla Stenberg (Rue). Wow.
- The shocking start to the games.
- The beginning of the uprising in the districts.
- The silent three finger salute.
- Peeta getting one of the biggest laughs for his disguise.
- Everything with Gale. (I’m a Gale fan, don’t hate.)
- Rue’s haunting 4-note theme. I swear I was hearing it everywhere the whole way home.
- Woody Harrelson & Stanley Tucci.
- Cinna being the voice of calm reassurance.
- Cato’s smirk
- Seneca Cranes final scene.
- Seneca Crane’s sideburns.
If I had to say, I guess my only gripe would be that the ending felt slightly anti-climatic. It didn’t go out with much of a bang. Having said that, it’s almost fitting, mirroring the hollow feeling of winning the hunger games themselves. I’m dying to see the sequel already.
This is one smart, gritty film that lives up to the hype. Go check it out!
The Hunger Games opens this Friday 23rd. Oh yeah, and if you still need a reason to go, the Breaking Dawn Part 2 teaser trailer will be airing exclusively before the film.