The Hunger Games
Worthy of it's massive praise
I am no Hunger Games nerd. That is to say, I read the books, but I am not obsessed by them. I didn't even liked the second two that much. I did, however, like the first book in the series. Quite a bit actually. So, it came as a surprise to me when I enjoyed the movie even more than the book.
In case you have, somehow, missed reading the book(s), The Hunger Games is an annual event that occurs in a not-so-future-future time, when one girl and boy from each district (24 children in all) is randomly selected to battle to the death in a glamorous and ferocious televised event. Katniss volunteers as a tribute when her younger sister, Prim, is selected to be in the Hunger Games. Now Katniss must somehow survive the treacheries of the Hunger Games, and show the Capitol she is no pawn in their game.
The Hunger Games is, as one would expect, extremely intense. Children heartlessly killing each other to survive. And it's goes beyond shooting from afar. Combat occurs within tripping distance. Slashing of knives, snapping of necks, all these duels between children between the ages of 12 and 18.
But The Hunger Games is PG-13 (as opposed to R), so the violence is portrayed in a way, in which you don't see much of the actual killing. You just know what is implied. The camera is placed at strategic angles so that you may see some blood and the attack, but not the knife or the ax digging into the child's flesh. Actually, it's all very tame, considering the subject. I'm not the kind of person that can watch a lot of gore, so this was perfectly fine with me.
Now that I've got all that boring stuff regarding the violence out of the way, I can start sharing my opinion on the film: As of now, The Hunger Games is the best movie I've seen this year.
There were two points in the movie in which I ALMOST cried. I held back tears, for certain. And it wasn't easy. The Hunger Games is very emotional.
The camera is very shaky. The movie often feels like a found-footage film. At first, the shaky camera irritated me. But within 10 minutes, I had become so connected with the movie, that I didn't even notice the camera.
In the first half (before the actual games begin), there is a decent amount of humor. This is not a comedy, so don't expect to be in stitches, but there are some mild laughs. Almost all of these come from the Capitol's lightheartedness towards the Hunger Games. They laugh and joke about it. It is important to them, but they don't give a second thought about the 23 people who will die as a result.
The casting is marvelous. Everyone does a wonderful job portraying their characters. Before seeing the movie, I was a bit skeptical at some of the actor choices, but all the doubt washed away as each character appeared on screen.
Also, the makeup and costumes are incredible. They're so ridiculously silly looking (intentionally), and it just feels perfect. Truly well done.
The score is equally wonderful. The music is powerful, and during the games, adds invaluable amounts of tension. Hats off to the composers.
The action is tense. Your pulse will most certainly quicken. In addition to other competitors, there are tracker jackers (genetically engineered wasps), dog-like wolves, and fire. Lots of fire. There are plenty of plot twists that will certainly shock those who haven't read the book.
This movie is emotional, tense, and overall, wonderful. I do have a few minor nitpicks, specifically regarding character interaction.
Cinna doesn't get enough screen time. We just don't feel the relationship between him and Katniss like we did in the book. President Snow doesn't seem quite as menacing as he is in the book, though he's evil enough.
Also, the romance portion of the film is disappointingly cheesy. Teenage girls in the audience certainly fell for it, but I often rolled my eyes.
Also, the ending isn't a true ending. We get a hook for a sequel. It's not so much a cliffhanger, it's just a "To be continued." I didn't mind too much, and fans of the book won't either, but I suspect there will be some who will be irritated by this.
The Hunger Games has a few flaws, but in the end, it's the best film of the year so far. Fantastic story, lots of emotion, good action, believable acting, superb score, amazing makeup and costumes, need I go on? Simply put, The Hunger Games is a must see. I was originally uninterested in the sequels, but this movie was so good, I may rethink skipping them.
May the odds be ever in your favor, and happy Hunger Games!