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Immensely entertaining, exhilirating and powerful,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (2 Disc) [DVD] (DVD)
Suzanne Collins books were a global phenomenon, they amassed a huge readership and have sold millions of copies. Therefore it was always going to be questioned whether the film could do the brilliant books justice. For the legions of fans and casual readers the answer to that question is yes. It consolidates the action and emotion of the first book in the trilogy into a perfectly paced two hours plus run time. Suzanne Collins ensures fans of her book are getting what they deserve by taking on the job of writing the creenplay, along with director Gary Ross, and because she had a hand in delivering her creation to screen she ensures the best and most important bits of the book are included. Thankfully the sometimes annoyingingly frequent references to the clothes and makeup Katniss goes through is slimmed down dramatically which saves more time for character development and, most importantly, the games themselves. The only problem with the script is the brief first fifteen minutes, it would have been better to see more of Katniss' life in her district.
But, other than that this film is awesome. The cast have been well picked and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is perfect, she plays Katniss like she is in the book: tough, feisty but still emotional and she's pretty good looking too. Josh Hutcherson is alright as Peeta, but its Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland who stand out amongst the ranks playing Hamish and President Snow respectively. Harrelson is funny, but still has the haunted, depressed persona Collins made so clear with his drinking in the books and Sutherland is brooding and subtly evil as President Snow. Other cast members, such as Elizabeth Banks as Effie and Stanley Tucci who is great and over the top as Ceaser Flickerman.
In terms of direction, Gary Ross isn't half bad, when he can hold the camera still he makes sure the action scenes are fast and exciting and the powerful, emotional scenes are subtle yet still affecting. The world of Panem is well done as well, the districts are rugged, the capital is rich and luxurious. There are some thrilling set pieces, many of which involve the games themselves which blur past, leaving you feeling exhilirated.
But what makes the Hunger Games stand out from other blockbusters is its combination of stirring action, brilliant character development and morality, it also delivers a powerful message about society and the state of society. Whether you are looking for a smart, emotionally involving film or a action packed blockbuster you won't go far wrong with The Hunger Games.
This double disc edition offers plenty of special features for fans and anyone interested, including in depth documentaries (in eight parts that gives comprehensive accounts of how the film was made- very interesting and cool if you really enjoyed the film), a video discussion by Donal Sutherland as he as he explains how he wanted to play his role as President Snow (also interesting) and a replica of the propoganda video from the film itself (fans will like this). For £9.99 this two disc set is well worth it.