Customer Review

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good, but not great, 10 May 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (2 Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Warning: I will make no attempt to avoid spoilers here.

After all the hype about this new dystopia, I found it rather disappointing for the most part. This film is in 3 parts. The first is to show the condition of the fenced-in proletariat worlds, which house slave laborers to a distant city. It is realistic and well acted, a brutish existence with a great risk of chance, the games, which are designed to channel yet truncate hope. That they choose children to kill eachother off is almost believable.

Second, there is the new seemingly totalitarian aristocracy. This is the weakest part of the film. The collective baddies are walking caricatures, two-dimensional at best, but over-acted with an absurdity that isn't clever. It's just odd looking. Now a radically different future as parody, such as that in Fifth Element, can definitely work - what it takes is great imagination that weaves the details into a coherent vision, where questions have implied answers (think Dreyfus' bizarre behavior in Close Encounters). It fails to make sense on an intuitive level that the viewer can accept without question. Unfortunately, the "city" simply appeared insipid, like someone made it up without thinking. Perhaps I am asking too much, I had hoped for a masterpiece like, say, the heavily atmospheric Children of Men. Woody Harrelson's character, as a mentor to Katniss as she develops her gladiator skills, is the only redeeming feature that truly works in this section. It is a botched opportunity.

Third, there is the game. This is by far the strongest portion of the film, the core that brings out the strengths of character and body. Katniss here is absolutely wonderful, played by a gifted actress with psychological nuance and desperate intelligence. I was completely convinced by her plight and enjoyed her journey of self discovery. She keeps her human compassion, doesn't shed her emotion even when asked to kill, and is willing to risk everything for another. It is beautifully done. The surprise resolution was also excellent, with the boy from her district delivering a moving performance. This was worth the price of admission. The conclusion, which reveals some of the politics of the "city", is somewhat better than the earlier portion, but again, the characters are too weak to be truly interesting to the point that they would enter the viewers' imagination.

I would say this is a 3.5-star film. Recommended overall.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jun 2012 17:30:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2012 17:32:59 BDT
Have you read the books? The film is true to the first book. If you ever lived in a totalitarian society,you would understand. The characters did enter my imagination.
Excellent books,excellent film.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 06:49:35 BDT
rob crawford says:
No, I didn't read the books, which I hear are great. Yes, it is a good film, I just couldn't believe in the society as imagined.

Posted on 16 Jun 2012 15:07:35 BDT
HelgaCabbage says:
I disagree that the characterisations of the people in the Capitol were weak, but I think I would agree that this section was the weakest part of the movie, perhaps because it is also the weakest point in the book.

There is very little information given about the Capitol, the government, the history of Panam, etc. I think I am more forgiving of this than you because the story is told from the point of view of a 16 year old girl who's never visited the Capitol, and whose whole life and experiences are solely District 12 and the only information she gets from outside are the compulsory viewings of the annual Hunger Games on television.
Once she is chosen for the games we see only glimpses of what life in the Capitol must be, and so those characters cannot be fully fleshed out yet as Katniss's encounters with them are of necessity brief and artifical. I also think Donald Sutherland did an excellent job of portraying the sinister seemingly all-powerful President Snow.

I agree with you that Woody Harrelson was brilliant.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2012 23:44:07 BDT
This was the difficulty of turning this book into a film. As the book is told from Katnisses viewpoint the film must also stick to this to be a true adaptation. However, it is hard to convey to people who haven't read the book that this is what the film is doing. I think people do benefit from reading the book first as they then know Katnisses thought processes inside out and can appreciate the film is soley her story.
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