Friday, March 23, 2012
Movie Review: "The Hunger Games"
With The Hunger Games, audiences are treated to a dystopic sci-fi adventure that is suspenseful from the first frame to the last. A simple story of a fight to the death between twenty-four kids between the ages of 12 and 18 may seem like a gory blood fest, but the story never glorifies the violence and is more about survival rather than killing. Director Gary Ross keeps the story with heroine Katniss Everdeen through a clever use of close ups and out of focus background, rather than often revealing what is transpiring all around her. This is not an entertainment, and it is not intended as such, but rather as a harrowing journey of wills that ask the audience members to often wonder how would they respond if they were forced to kill to live. Sadly, certain character motivations are occasionally forsaken to keep the story driving forward, and so there is often a confusion as to why a character makes the choices that they do because the hows and whys of relationships are often skimped on. Overall, though, The Hunger Games is a well made sci-fi thriller that features larger than life situations with genuine suspense that does not let up, and really expands and visualizes the world of the novels by Suzanne Collins in a satisfying way that makes The Hunger Games worth watching for the thrills and thought it provokes.
I give The Hunger Games a B+!
SECOND VIEWING UPDATE: While I still understand what I thought the first time I saw the film, I was fortunate enough to see the film a second time through new eyes. Sometimes the first time you watch a film based on a book, all you can think about are the slight changes that they make in making this adaptation, and this is not reviewing the movie, but rather expecting the book verbatim and that is not how films are made. That is what happened to me the first time out. The movie chose to simplify the complex romance and made it more straightforward as to Katniss's feelings toward Peeta rather than complicating them as it is in the book. I was able to understand this a second time through, and it actually makes for a better movie than if they had left it all up to ambiguity, because the book benefited from being told inside Katniss' head, but you can't do that on film. Ultimately, I loved it the second go around, and I am sure that this grade will stand. I was wrong in my initial assessment, and I am sorry for that.
I amend my score to an A+!