The Hunger Games ★½

The Box Office Bashing Season: 2003 to 2014

I had written some notes for this review and then my Chromebook just decided to restart and I lost them and that means I dislike this film even more now.

The Hunger Games really is an incredibly tedious and lazy excuse for a film. That's even before I get started on the running time, but I think this film could have been an hour shorter and it still would have dragged on and been crap. There really wasn't a single aspect to this film, outside of Jennifer Lawrence's good but hardly amazing performance, that reveals to me what all the fuss is about here.

It's an incredibly derivative story in every single way. Its dystopian setting has not a single solitary unique idea behind it - let's just dress a bunch of people in weird clothes, given them weird hair and call them weird names. That should do it! No, fuck off. Absolutely no effort whatsoever has gone into it at all, and to be honest with you I felt the same about almost everything else here.

At no point did I feel like director Gary Ross really ever cared about trying to make something that might be really good. This film was going to make an absolute fortune whatever he put out there, so he plays it safe. As such we get a completely mind-numbing first hour of utter drivel where absolutely nothing happens at all. I mean, at least show them training some more - but no, let's focus on Woody Harrelson's stupid fringe instead.

Then it's about an hour of Lawrence farting around up a tree and Josh Hutcherson looking completely hopeless. I wish I could just say this is a terrible film because in may ways it's not. It's just so completely bland and unadventurous and it has absolutely nothing to work with at all. It doesn't help that the violent potential in the concept is watered down by its PG-13 sensibilities, making the few fights that there are here about as powerful as a bent pea-shooter.

The closest it gets to interesting is when Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones do a bit of commentary - and then said commentary is given precisely fuck-all screen time. Poor old Donald Sutherland pops in, doesn't seem to have a clue what's going on, and is probably thinking that's for the best. Elizabeth Banks is in this somewhere although I have no idea where, probably buried under some cacky wig. Wes Bentley confirms his status as one of the dullest actors in Hollywood even with some comedy facial hair to try and give him some personality, and some wise guy decided it would be a good idea to cast Lenny Kravitz. Still, at least if he's in this he's not making albums.

Lawrence is far and away the best thing in this but is completely on auto-pilot here, which is a testament to her exceptional levels of talent. It's such a shame her character is so nondescript - she's not particularly interesting, gifted or special and then she gets lumbered with a piss-poor romantic subplot that is perhaps the worst thing in this film, so completely underwritten and unbelievable it turns out to be.

I've heard the sequel's supposed to be better but I'd rather stick a biro in my knackers than spend any more time with this bunch of dullards.