The Hunger Games 2012 ★★

Despite Hunger Games' best efforts to make me hate it, I didn’t despise it entirely. Gary Ross′ direction is competent, and the actors do a decent enough job selling their roles. The story though is simply terrible, and the world that the story takes place in is uninspired to say the least.

The film is set in a fictional world where the disparity between classes is massive. The poor working class live in squalor, while the rich live in luxury. The film shows these two classes in an entirely unimaginative way. The poor are shown as living in rundown houses, basing their entire lives around blue collar industries. The rich live in high rise buildings, and dress in ridiculous clothes. Now this is supposed to be the future, but it seems like the poor have absolutely no technological advancements. The rich though are able to build a killing arena in which a gorilla dog monster can appear out of the dirt simply because someone draws it in the arena’s high tech command centre. It seems strange to me that a society with such insane technology would still require human miners, but apparently this has something to do with politics. I say apparently, because it is simply alluded to in two scenes.

Just as the class war idea is about as subtle as a crowbar to the face, so is the future world the film has created. The main city in the film is all shiny and new looking, and the people that inhabit the city are dressed in garish colours. They also have weirdly coloured hair and eye makeup. This science fiction idea of outrageous colours and clothing has been done many times before, and by now has become boring. Its an unimaginative person who thinks that the future means people with coloured hair, and weird designs in their beards.

Now I did say I didn’t entirely despise this film, and its true. Some of the moments in the fighting arena are interesting, and well realized. My favourite moment being a plan created and carried out by two of the characters. I also thought that creating a group of supporters around the main girl’s character is a nice touch. This is mostly because Woody Harrelson is part of the group of characters. I like Woody Harrelson. These two things are about all I really liked about the movie. Every time I was intrigued by something, or became interested, the film would introduce some new twist that stomped out any hope that I would enjoy the film. You would think that twenty four characters having to kill each other would be enough conflict for any movie, but Hunger Games is constantly adding new dangers and conflict. I hated this, and the adding of new conflict gets particularly bad in the third act of the film.

I struggled to write my thoughts on this film, because as soon as I left the theatre I no longer wanted to think about what I had watched. While there are some moments that caught my interest, these moments are few and far between. I only made it about thirty pages into the book when I attempted reading it last year, and I wish that I had only made it thirty minutes into the film adaptation.

15 Comments

  • I agree with everything you've said here. The action alone is deplorable and the result of incompetence in the director, the cinematographer and even the writing.

  • Agreed, Gary Ross didn't seem up to the task of doing the action scenes, even though there are barely any. The fire scene and the stupid dog scene are particularly bad.

  • I'm intriged by this film. Our friend Aaron Twomey gave this five stars and based on your review it seems like you're even lower then the two stars you gave this. I'll have to check it out as you both have really good taste. How was jennifer lawrence ins this?

  • It didn't feel right giving this a one and a half, and since it is like a 1.75 stars I just rounded up to two. I saw that Aaron Twomey gave it five stars, and that was one of the reasons I went to check it out. That and I had some other people sing the films praises to me.

    As for Jennifer Lawrence, I'm not exactly her biggest fan, so I might not be the best person to ask about her performance. I feel that she is kind of one note in the movie, but I'm not sure if that is her fault, or the fault of the character she is playing. There are some moments when she is showing really strong emotion that are good, but the majority of the time I felt the performance to be bland.

  • I felt pretty distanced and uninvested in Katniss's plight, and I attribute most of that to how I don't think Jennifer Lawrence has the appropriate range for this character, who I would guess is much more alive in the books.

  • I want to watch winter's bone again. I did quite like it the first time and want to see if it holds up. That is really the only film I've seen her in so I don't have much of an opinion either. I did see x-men first class but I forget it completely. I'm done with superhero movies. I'll totally check out the dark knight rises though but not spiderman or the avengers.

  • Ballsy statement grooveman. More power to you though. I am definitely sick of superhero movies as well, but I will still be seeing Spiderman and Avengers.

  • I actually can kind of agree with all of your points. There is no way I could defend this movie because I realise how flawed it is. Still, I liked it very much :)

  • Per my review Aaron, I think the books would have been better served as a miniseries versus a feature length movie. Too many details and motivations have been stripped out of the movie to make you care about any of the kids when they get killed. And even though the YA books are more psychologically twisted - especially whe it comes to the Capitol, I'm sure the studio execs wanted to keep the ratings PG13 or below to ensure the key demographic isn't kept from seeing it. I had to watch Battle Royale ( now on iTunes ) just to make up for the missing bits in the Hunger Games.

  • A far as my superhero movie comments. I'm tired of being let down. I think the last one I even liked was the first Iron Man and I don't even like it that much. Captain America was pretty bland and I hated pretty much everything about Thor. I'll wait till netflix to see Spiderman or the avengers. Have you seen the Battleship trailer? It looks god awful. At least Battle:L.A had a good trailer for being one of the worst films of the decade so far. Prometheus and Dark Knight rises are the only "Big" movies I'm looking forward to this summer.

  • @grooveman, Battleship looks atrocious.... utter trash.

  • @MONIROM, I would have no way of knowing, not having read the books. But I would agree that you don't care about any of the kids dying. I'm slowly realising that I'm pretty alone in liking this film. Oh well...

  • Agree that Battleship looks bad, but I will probably still see it.

    @Aaron Twomey: I respect your stance on Hunger Games. Sometimes you just like what you like, no other way to say it.

  • @FilmApe, exactly, nicely put. But I do really appreciate your ability to put in words why you dislike the film, that's what creates great discussion which I enjoy very much :) you'll have to let me know about Battleship though as I have no plans to watch that.

  • Yeah let me know what you think of Battleship. I've give it ago if you dig it.

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