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4.3 out of 5 stars1,366
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
All science fiction futuristic societies are written to have a message about the current day. This is normally contained within the text, or a line someone speaks. The movie starts giving us some background for the games, but we don't know why there was a rebellion in the first place, something that is in the book. The rebellion resulted in a lottery where teens from the various districts must now compete in a survivor battle to the death, all for the entertainment of the audience. Early in the film we hear, "If no one watches, we won't have a game." In other words if we stop watching reality TV shows, they will be taken off the air...not exactly a bad thing.

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. As the fighting begins I kept wondering if they were going to simply fight for everyone's entertainment or are we going to get a Captain Kirk/Agorn moment when he has defeated his opponent and refuses to kill him shouting, "You are going to have to get your entertainment elsewhere!" Or maybe we could end it like "Death Race 2000" where Frankenstein kills the president...but I am getting way ahead of myself.

The victims, or tributes as they are called, are paraded and cheered having done nothing...similar to reality show TV "stars." (Yes I mean you talentless Snooki.) People wildly cheer because...they can. Woody Harrelson helps to bridge the time from when Jennifer Lawrence is selected until the fighting begins. Donald Sutherland appears as an unrealistic unlikeable President Snow, a composite character representing the evil of society. There are interviews and pageantry prior to the games during which time we get to know more about Jennifer and very little about the other contestants. It would have been nice to have known some of the quirky combatants and have them killed in ironic ways to their character, but maybe that was too much to ask about a film about shallow entertainment.

Jennifer, with her honesty and rebellious attitude has become the fan favorite and our favorite because she is the only contestant that we know. She lacks the killer instinct...until she must. Alliances form and everyone wants to get the fan favorite aka Rambette Jennifer Lawrence, who did an excellent job to give girls a heroine being both a compassionate woman and a huntress. Like all reality TV shows, when the drama starts to fade the program directors add an element to push it in the direction that they want.

No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. "Safe" for kids to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2012
Ok, I'll admit I read the book before the movie and was entering into the movie theatre with a lot of expectations. But I'm not going to be overly critical in my review, as it was really well made and they hit up on the most important parts of the book.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2012
For starters I haven't read the books. I have too much of a backlog of books to read that there was no point before the movie came out. I have put them on the end of that backlog now....

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)....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2012
superb film. not gritty enough and a bit shallow in the futuristic perceptions at times but a terrific thoughtful thriller. not perfect, the US-led necessities mean its all too obviousl at times but a great film nonetheless. Blu-ray transfer is amongst the best and the HD audio is terrific. Honestly though, to give this a 1-star rating because its "not like the book" is pathetic.... hey guess what morons !! this was filmed from a screenplay NOT a novel !?!? great "ADAPTATION" and I put that in cap for the people who are too stupid to realise that a film is not a book. anyway rant over , this is a fabulous movie.
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on 22 November 2015
From Lionsgate Entertainment, The Hunger Games is about a girl’s survival in a fight to the death tournament for her district’s honor and to save her sister. Will the world truly be watching or will the film’s odds not be in its favor?

Katniss Everdeen lives in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed until war and catastrophe destroyed the land. Every year the poverty stricken 12 districts of Panem must offer up a boy and girl between the ages of 12-18 to the wealthy ruling Capital as “tributes” in a fight to the death. This televised tournament has become known as the “Hunger Games.”

District 12 where Katniss lives in, is the coal mining community. Other surrounding districts produce textiles, technology and other goods in order to keep the Capital rich. Katniss lives with her mother and little sister, Prim. They don’t have much for money, so Katniss has to use her bow and arrow in order to hunt squirrels and deer to barter with others in the community.

The day has come when each district has to offer up their tributes. Because the Hunger Games is a death sport, the young men and women of the Districts simply do not volunteer, so a lottery known as the “Reaping” is held. Each child’s name is put into a fishbowl. The number of times their names are put in the bowl is based upon how many times they have asked the local government for assistance like food. Katniss and Prim are dressed up an await the selection. To her sadness Prim’s name comes over the loudspeaker. She was drafted. But Katniss knows she is too small and weak and will never be able to survive. So she yells out and volunteers as tribute. Prim is released and Katniss takes her place. A boy is also selected, Peeta Mellark, the son of a local baker. Saying their final goodbyes to their families, Katniss and Peeta are whisked away by train to the Captial to prepare for The 74th Annual Hunger Games. Will the odds be in favor of Katniss?

I’m am going to go on record at the beginning of the review and say that I did not read the novels. I went into the film without knowing any spoilers and back story. With that being said. I enjoyed the film but not without its short comings. The entire first hour is nothing but set up. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance to the pageantry of the Hunger Games themselves. There are amazing costumes and orchestral score to really put you into the mood of the games. I’d say the best way to describe the feel of The Hunger Games is American Idol meets the Olympics and battle in The Running Man while wearing costumes ripped from The Fifth Element.

After the first hour, the games begin. And it’s not so much in your face blood, guts and violence as it is slo-mo shakey camera work to elude to the actual stabbings. In order to keep the film to a PG-13, the film shows cut-aways and blood splatter, rather than it actual stabbing, slashing, and gutting. You hear the sounds and screams, but then see the body. So if you are a parent of a young teen who has read the books and are questioning if you should take your son or daughter, I’d have to leave that to your decision. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem, there is more blood and guts in Gears of War than The Hunger Games. If your kids have read the books I think it’s safe to take them. I know a lot of local news stations are hyping up the violence factor of the movie, but there is as much death and killing in the Harry Potter series.

But this is where I get to the short coming of the film, the Hunger Games itself. There was all this set up to an ultimately anti-climatic let down. From the beginning of the movie, you already know who is gonna win. So you sit there and just wait to see how the other 23 contestants get picked off. I know in the book it emphasizes how starvation, injury and infection lead to more deaths than the contestants themselves, but the film really didn’t show their desperation. You never see Katniss hungry or thirsty. Most of her participation in the contest was her hiding in a tree. And when she did get injured, a floating care package from a ‘sponsor” magically healed her the next day. And speaking of sponsors, there was all this emphasis that sponsors were needed for survival, and only two packages were shown to be delivered. Also Katniss wasn’t that sympathetic of a character. Yes it was heart warming that she volunteered to spare her sister, but I didn’t find myself rooting for her. It was more rewarding to see Arnold Schwarzenegger win The Running Man.

Speaking of The Running Man, this movie is going to get a lot of comparison to it. Gladiator games to distract society from poverty and hunger when the real enemy is the tyrannical, wealthy, fascist government. Another comparison is going to be the Japanese cult film, Battle Royale which is about high school students who have to kill each other for a television show. Ultimately this is a theme that dates back to ancient Rome with films such and Ben Hur and Gladiator.

The cast is lead by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss who we last saw her play young Mystique in X-Men: First Class. She did a great job with the character. She portrayed Katniss as a poor girl who gets thrown into the spotlight of the big city and doesn’t know how to adapt well to her new popularity. Her counter part, Peeta is portrayed by Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island). Elizabeth Banks (Man on a Ledge) plays Effie Trinket who is District 12′s representation for the Capital. But in my opinion the show was stolen by the two performances of rocker, Lenny Kravitz who plays Cinna and Woody Harrelson (Friends With Benefits) who plays the drunken mentor to Katniss and Peeta, Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch was a previous winner of the Hunger Games for District 12 who offers the two advice and does campaigning to the sponsors on their behalf. Rounding out the main cast is Donald Sutherland as the President of Capital City and Stanley Tucci who plays a Richard Dawson type character as the Hunger Games commentator and spokesman, Caesar Flickerman. Honestly Tucci’s performance was quite forgettable.

The movie is Directed by Gary Ross who shares a writing credit in the film the with novel’s author, Suzanne Collins. The last film the Ross directed was Seabiscuit in 2003. T-Bone Burnett handled the score which is is known for winning awards from Crazy Heart and O Brother, Where Art Thou? The look, feel, sound, and music of The Hunger Games was very fitting.

The Hunger Games is a beginning of the trilogy, which may be why a lot of the back story was not told. But I felt it lacked in that part of the set up. The only thing to tell the audience about the past was a few text stills at the movie’s opening credits. And while the film portrays Katniss and Peeta as star crossed lovers, there isn’t much in story with Katniss’ real hometown love interest, Gale Hawthorne played by Liam Helmsworth (real life younger brother to Thor, Chris Helmsworth). Too many facts were eluded to which possibly only the novel readers will know everything. As much as I enjoyed the film, the film ended just so anti-climatically. The audience watches this whole tournament when they already know who wins. And because the movie is PG-13, all violence is eluded, which may not be a bad thing for young audiences, but it’s like dumbing down a porno just so kids can view it. I know that is a ridiculous analogy, but the premise is extremely violent, that seems like it gets a Disney whitewash as to not offend or scare younger viewers.

The Hunger Games is going to be a very popular movie no matter what I say. I’m not saying it’s a bad film, but I just wasn’t drawn into all the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it’s is enjoyable and I would like to see how the story and characters develop, but the film didn’t leave me wanting more. Audiences of the books should enjoy the adaptation no problem from what fellow movies goers talked about after the film but some also stated that from the trailer alone they could tell things were changed. I do recommend seeing The Hunger Games, just don’t worry about rushing out opening night. It will make a perfect afternoon bargain matinee.
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With few decent releases on over Easter, my 16 year old daughter and I succumbed to the hype and went to see The Hunger Games. Not having read the books we went in cold and with hopes fairly high but left slightly non-plussed to be honest.

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.

Outside of the games, things were a bit better with some excellent and far out costumery worn by the "beautiful people" in a kind of modern day Rome meets Dangerous Liaisons but it was a pity that imagination didn't stretch to the anorak-clad contestants' garb who looked like modern day kids on their Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Too much was also made of getting sponsors to like and help the competitors (in the excellent interview parody scenes) only for this thread to play no further part in the plot. Katniss and Peeta were only parachuted in a bowl of soup and some meds from Haymitch himself despite her being rated as an "eleven" in the public X-Factor style build-up. I was hoping for some skulduggery to add twists and turns to the contest but none was forthcoming sadly and the forming of teams was slightly weird in an event that could only have one winner.

Future death match games have been done better before (Running Man/Rollerball etc) and the director was obviously hampered by the 12 rating here but as this is the first in the trilogy I will be interested to see how the plot and characters develop in Catching Fire. Just not on the edge of my seat...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2012
Ok first I would like to say it came quickly so I was happy with that. Ok now on to the actual movie. I loved it! I was lucky enough to watch the movie first THEN get the books lol which Im glad I did. There is obviously a lot more detail in the books but thats expected. As for the movie I dont feel like it quite shows the love triangle that really does go on between Kat, Peeta and Gale but all in all the movies great. The books are great. The storyline is interesting and I actually surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. Get it. You wont (shouldnt be) disappointed :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2012
Panem is what is left of Earth. One continent, one government but a broken people. 12 districts populate Panem from the paupers in 12 to the richest aristocrats in 1. Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 and is called upon to take part in the annual Hunger Games ceremony where 2 children from each district will battle each other to the death and only 1 can survive. The odds are against her but Katniss will do all she can to win the Hunger Games and try to get her friend Peeta Mellark out alive with her.
An amazing story of love, hope and heart pounding action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2012
I try to always read the book before watching the film in cases like this. It makes for a much better understanding and that may have been very true in this case. Having read all three books I found I was having to explain things more thoroughly to my husband when the explanation in the film was either weak or fleeting. Even having not read the books, he enjoyed the film but I think I got more out of it. I really hope they plan to make the rest of the trilogy. This was one of the better book to film translations I have seen. Really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
This film is 5 stars along with the book. It practically replicated the book just as I personally imaginated it. I think the casting was good and the actors resembled the character descriptions in the book. There were some things overlooked in the film such as, the mutations in the book supposedly have the eyes of the dead tributes and their district on a tag. Also Peeta gets a prosthetic leg after his injury from Cato, I belive this is quite important, but it was missed out. Loved it and would recommend it to anyone
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