The Hunger Games – A review. It’s brutal, the film not the review

Written by Zodpie

The Hunger Games and the franchise that I’m sure will follow it, has been heralded and relentlessly plugged as the new Twilight. This is because of three similarities:

The Hunger Games and the franchise that I’m sure will follow it, has been heralded and relentlessly plugged as the new Twilight. This is because of three similarities:

1.  Based on a hugely successful set of books.

2.  Teenage female protagonist.

3.  Little bit of a love triangle develops in the later books.

Urm… I think that’s about it. Honestly boys there are no other similarities and plenty of differences. The advertising and promoting team want this film to be hugely successful so why wouldn’t they try and sucker in the millions of little ladies desperate for something new to obsess over now the Twilight series is (finally) coming to an end? The publishers did the same when they stamped a praising quote from Stephanie Meyer (Twilight’s creator) on the front of all the Hunger Games novels. It’s a no-brainer and we should not reproach a film just because the American advertising machine is telling us it’s like Twilight (they also told us The Adjustment Bureau was Inception meets Bourne).

That’s not to say The Hunger Games is a totally unique piece of work, I can barely think of one feature of the plot or vision of the future that is entirely original. The influences range from Lord of the Flies, Rollerball, Running Man, 1984, The Truman Show and most obviously Battle Royale the Japanese novel/manga/film.

But I personally do not think we should condemn The Hunger Games for building on themes, concepts and ideas which are frankly still intriguing, disturbing and ever developing. The author, Susan Collins, brings together old ideas in a new and compelling way, you can’t say ‘oh no not another children gladiator fight to the death story, oh there’s loads of them’ because as far as I know there is only one and it’s 18 and Japanese and full of blood.

Just for those of you who live in caves, the Hunger Games is set in a future North America called ‘Panem’ where the state is divided into 12 districts and one Capitol. The government organises an annual, televised Hunger Games where 2 children from each district are selected by lottery to compete in a fight to the death. These children are called ‘tributes’ and the more popular they are the more sponsorship they get which comes in handy during the Games.

The first concept in the The Hunger Games is of a totalitarian, malevolent state which every year needs to remind the citizens of its total control by butchering children. The second concept is of horrific sights being entertainment, of extreme reality TV and a public disconnection from violence. You may find yourself feeling very guilty for laughing at idiots on the X Factor, maybe we’re only one step away from betting on the 17 year old to stab the 12 year old?!

These concepts, though explored before, are still interesting and relevant. Even if you don’t want to sit around thinking about Marx and getting very concerned about such issues, you will at the very least welcome a smart movie.

And this is where I finally review the film (sorry about the massive prelude and plot introduction, I don’t usually have to clarify mis-advertisement and issues of plagiarism before a review).

Anyway, The Hunger Games is fantastic. The plot as I’ve already said is clever yet distressing and taken very seriously by the director and production team (unlike Breaking Dawn where everybody seems to have given up and told Robert Pattinson to take his top off and Kristen Stewart to look perplexed). Jennifer Lawrence is easily the most promising young actress Hollywood has produced for years, her whole appearance and demeanour is refreshing and captivating. She rocks that cagoule and greasy plait with style, like Lara Croft meets Bear Grylls and bit of Robin Hood.

The supporting cast don’t put a foot wrong either, Stanley Tucci gets full kudos for managing to give such a chilling and creepy performance with a blue puffy pony tail and Josh Hutcherson plays the character of Peeta Mellark absolutely perfectly. But in true heroine fashion we are always more interested in Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen (we just hope Peeta survives too). I really don’t know who else could have been the star of The Hunger Games.

The film is however, slightly let down by the speedy, hand-held camera filming method employed to deal with the most brutal violence, we don’t hear any bones breaking or blood spatters either. A couple of more violent scenes managed to get past the moderators but perhaps for an older audience (and one that loves a good bit of Tarantino and has seen the Japanese Battle Royale), The Hunger Games does seem a bit PG’d.

Having said that, when dealing with the vicious deaths of children on screen yet trying to make a film watchable for that age of children, the director had to strike a balance and somehow he managed to get away with a film that I genuinely believe all ages will enjoy. And there are no vampires.