Star cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks.
What’s Good: The novel story; the fast-paced and engaging screenplay; the performances.
What’s Bad: The sub-plot of the protagonists’ love affair, which doesn’t work.
Verdict: The Hunger Games is an entertaining fare.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for its a different film which entertains.
Lionsgate and Tanweer Group’s The Hunger Games is the story of a girl who meets with several odds to come out victorious.
The setting of the film is North America of the future, where the ruling city, Capitol, controls large swathes of masses. These impoverished masses are divided into 12 districts. As a reminder of a rebellion by the masses many years ago, the Capitol organizes an annual event called The Hunger Games, in which one young boy and one young girl from each district between the ages of 12 and 18 years is selected by lottery as tributes. Tributes from all districts, totaling 24 in all, fight inside a jungle-like arena. Their aim is to survive on the limited resources and stay alive by killing others. The last one to remain alive wins and is allowed to go back to his/her district. The whole event is manipulated by the powers that be and is televised for the world to see.
In the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), an 18-year-old girl from District 12 volunteers to take part, in place of her younger sister, who is selected by the lottery. Her male equivalent from District 12 is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). While Katniss is brave and is adept at using a bow and arrow, Peeta is depending upon his charming ways to woo the audiences, win sponsors and finally, survive the impending bloodbath.
As they join the other 22 tributes in Capitol for a few days of training and showmanship, Katniss and Peeta come close to each other. Their grand entry in the parade, in fact, makes them keenly watched. Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) form their crew till the time they enter the arena.
How are the other tributes from the other districts? What happens when they come face to face with the reality that only one of them can survive? How are they able to use their skills and others’ weaknesses to play the game? Are they able to survive? What happens in the end? The rest of the film answers these questions.
The Hunger Games Review: Script Analysis
Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray’s screenplay, based on Suzanne Collins’ novel, is interesting, especially in the first half. The writers have done a good job as the viewer easily relates to the characters of Katniss and Peeta, who have been forcibly thrust into a dangerous situation. As such, throughout the film, the audience roots for Katniss and rejoices every time she manages to cheat death. The drama is fast paced.
The latter half, when the tributes fight it out in the arena, is also entertaining. But where the writers lose the plot is in the scenes where they show Katniss and Peeta falling for each other in the middle of the bloodbath. The pre-climax also becomes slightly unbelievable when the viewer is made to believe that the controllers of The Hunger Games, sitting in the Capitol, can create tiger-like carnivores in the arena, just by inserting a computer-generated model! The action scenes, although implicitly violent, have been shot with soft hands and are not gruesome at all.
The Hunger Games Review: Star Performances
Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss) does a very convincing job as the young tribute. Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta) matches Jennifer’s energy levels with his nervousness. Liam Hemsworth (as Gale) does alright in a small role. Stanley Tucci (as Caesar, the TV show host) is marvellous. Wes Bentley (as Seneca, the game master) is effective. Woody Harrelson (as Haymitch) leaves a mark. Elizabeth Banks (as Effie Trinket) stands out for her audacious make up. Alexander Ludwig (as Cato), Isabelle Fuhrman (as Clove), Amandla Stenberg (as Rue), Toby Jones (as Claudius), Lenny Kravitz (as Cinna), Donald Sutherland (as President Snow) and others support well.
The Hunger Games Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
Director Gary Ross does a good as he extracts good performances and holds the audience’s attention for most of the time. T-Bone Burnett and James Newton Howard’s background score is appropriate. Tom Stern’s cinematography is good. Editing, by Stephen Mirrione and Juliette Welfling, is sharp.
The Hunger Games Review: The Last Word
On the whole, The Hunger Games is an entertaining fare.
THE HUNGER GAMES releases in India on 23 March 2012.