Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Lord Of The Flies”, “The Running Man” & “City Of Ember”
Think TV's "Survivor" set 30 years amidst a dystopian setting where the players are a bunch of kids from "Lord Of The Flies", and in comes "The Hunger Games". A big screen adaptation serving as one of the most anticipated spectacles of the year, will quell all qualms that imagine the movie to be a just another "Twilight" fad, as it certainly holds it own on a much higher level.
Based on Suzanne Collins' series of young adult novels, "The Hunger Games" introduces a time after a devastating war resulting from a colossal mutiny against the government. The citizens of former North America who now live in harsh poverty in 12 districts, have to deliver one male and female teenager as their respective district representatives to participate in an annual bloodbath event as punishment, and as a reminder that the government still maintains control over them.
Capturing the whole brutality in forested grounds via a live televised event (like "The Truman Show"), "The Hunger Games" sees 24 participants killing each other until only one remains, and volunteering for District 12 to spare her sister, is our heroine 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Leaving her family and best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) behind, Katniss is joined by District 12's male 'tribute' Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) as they struggle to keep the odds on their side.
21-year-old Lawrence plays the central character in the movie and apart from playing a much welcomed tough and sturdy female heroine that overshadows the male species, the character unlike most feminine roles today, doesn't need supernatural powers, a sparkling vampire boyfriend with a werewolf bestfriend, or even overly good looks to be liked by the masses. Instead Lawrence is a self-made feminist character who has been forced to be tough through her will to survive. Her romance with Hutcherson doesn't drive her motives, it serves only as a minor sub-plot to the story. With that being said, the two male characters are also not presented as just two pretty-boy stereotypes, but their roles are a decent mix to the story, a pleasant change that allows the characters' persona to speak more loudly than just looks.
Fans who are looking forward to more of hunky Hemsworth though will be in for disappointment as his character barely plays a significant part in the movie. The same can also be said for 4-time Grammy award winning rocker Lenny Kravitz who plays Cinna, the personal stylist of District 12, who apart from sporting glaring gold eyeliner, barely scrapes the surface of his character. On the other hand, sporting locks like a blonde Professor Snape is Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, an alcoholic mentor to the kids one wishes had more comedic presence to give, and also Elizabeth Banks as the administrator and eccentric escort of District 12, that looks like a cross between Lady Gaga and a character out of "Alice In Wonderland".
Obviously to allow viewing for a greater crowd of all ages, the movie had to majorly downplay the violence depicted on screen. We see the characters stabbing, shooting arrows and beating each other to death, but the actually act itself is avoided on screen, instead audiences will catch a gleam of blood here and there to show the brutal deed has been done. This undeniably lessens the emotional impact of what the movie could've delivered and the actual brutality of the game, however that's Hollywood for you, a wider target audience rather than faithfulness to the original piece comes first.
"The Hunger Games" overall package is an impressive original narrative that will surely leave audiences hungry for more. Heed this disclaimer though; a trip to the bookstore to read the other books may suddenly manifest, as the sequel to the movie will only be out in November 2013.Cinema Online, 22 March 2012