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The Hunger Games [DVD]
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Gary Ross directs this sci-fi action film based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence stars as 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a citizen of the totalitarian post-apocalyptic country of Panem, formerly the United States. Every year, the all-powerful ruling agency known as the Capitol selects one boy and one girl from each of Panem's 12 impoverished rival districts to fight to the death on live national television in a contest known as 'The Hunger Games', in which the winner is given food to feed their entire district for a year. When her younger sister Primrose (Willow Shields) is selected as a contestant, Katniss steps up to take her place in the match. Under the tutelage of inebriated former champion Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Katniss goes into training for the fight of her life.
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 --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have to admit I didn't expect much from this movie. I have heard mixed reviews and a lot of people (not everyone) that HAD read the books were saying this was pretty bad compared to the books. Not surprising because movies adapted from books rarely are as good as the books. My perception of this movie was that it was going to be aimed at teens (as a 42 yr old the one sure way to put me off a movie is telling me it's cast are mainly teenagers). Many teen movies are sub standard and I've learned to avoid them. This movie though was based on a series of critically acclaimed books so I had to give it a go and I'm glad that I did. It has a brilliant cast (mainly not teens) but a round of applause for Jennifer Lawrence. She was fantastic and as the lead she drove the movie forward was charismatic, mature, sympathetic, exciting ... just plain excellent.
I am glad I got the movie, look forward to the sequels and those books are now on order to fit somewhere at the end of my long backlog (they might jump the queue a bit)....
In those other films the evil of society had been either, capitalism, socialism, the super rich, corporations, religion, or science. The irony of the film/book is that it makes fun of the viewer/reader for enjoying it. They are the problem with today's voyeuristic dummy down society, which like the movie can be divided into two groups" Those who see the movie/games as entertainment. And the intellectuals who realize the metaphor contained within. I'm loving it! (Pardon my pop culture response, but it seems apropos.)
There is a stark contrast in wealth and dress between those who participate in the games and the society who runs them. However, it is those who participate who ultimately empower those who run them, just like with war, the second message of the film which dates from Homer "War is old men lying, young men dying."
Jennifer Lawrence, who I thought was Oscar worthy in "Winter's Bone," immediately becomes our heroine when she volunteers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games. We don't expect her to die anytime soon.Read more ›
My only let down is that while the most vital scenes were in it, there were smaller parts I would have liked to have been included, such as in the book, the wildcats that we're sent after Katniss and Peeta were actually the dead contestants brought back and mutated?
(I'm positive I remember this being in the book, and I really think it should have been a scene)
Other than this, I loved the scenes between Katniss and Rue. Perfectly adapted IMO.
I found it difficult to engage with the pouty and aloof lead character Katniss, played by the too-old-for-18 Jennifer Lawrence. We were fed small scraps of information regarding her background as the film proceeded but by the end we still only knew that her father was a dead miner, she had a younger sister and was good at shooting squirrels with a bow. Her sector partner Peeta was a nice guy but a charisma free zone and there was a distinct lack of chemistry between them. It was left to Woody Harleson to provide the talent as their eccentric and maverick mentor Haymitch, but we have seen this character from him far too often for it to be novel and entertaining anymore.
The game itself was just ok to be honest but lacking in real tension despite lives at stake and survival at all costs. There were some pretty lethal blades on display but being a 12 rating, the violence was toned down and blurred out which reduced the impact of a group fight to the death. The producers must have deliberated over this as the books were written for teens but I think the average 14 year old would have been a bit bored to be honest and scenes often dragged. I certainly didn't sense much excitement in the cinema audience on our visit.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not an awful movie just a very poor one. Slow to the point of laborious. Characters that if viewed from side on would reveal their cardboard thinness. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by Robyn
ok film but flawed, final scenes show creatures being produced from thin air which shows a very high tech level yet half the population live in poverty, why when they can produce... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Mr. P. W. Broadway