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The Hunger Games

2012-04-16 17:03
 
The Hunger Games proves that with the correct casting choices, the odds of success will always be in its favour.
What it's about:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in The Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely on her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.

If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

What we thought:


Aaaah, another book to movie adaptation.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again. It's always something that raises our hackles and leaves us fearing the worst, but somehow, we were still hoping for the best. 

As an avid reader and book purist, I'm almost always wary of watching movies based on novels because, the number of times I've been disappointed by a film adaptation of a book have by far outweighed the amount of occasions that I've genuinely been surprised and impressed by one.

The Twilight franchise is certainly an example of a book-to-movie gone wrong, and after watching those movies, I swore never ever to become excited about another Young Adult novel being adapted to film again.

At least not until I saw that Suzanne Collins's best-selling trilogy was being brought to the big screen.
 
I admit that I went in with very low expectations, but in the end The Hunger Games, while not without its share of flaws, was a movie that definitely surprised me.

Set in a distant and dystopian future, the movie sees Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who volunteers as a tribute in place of her younger sister, to fight to the death in an annual  and brutal reality game show consisting of 23 other tributes. 

The premise of the novel is a lot more layered than it actually sounds. The backbone of the story doesn't just rely on the fact that 24 teenagers are being placed in a controlled environment and forced to kill one another.

Rather, the movie (the first in a trilogy), focuses on the bleak and underlying reasons for the game in the first place.

The emphasis here is the bubbling-under-the-surface commentary about government control, socio-political issues and the communities that are forced to watch in horror as they have to sacrifice one of the children (two from each district) to a game that was created in order to punish them for the sins of their fathers.

The game kicks off following a preliminary opening ceremony, which takes place in the grand Capitol.

Directed by Gary Ross, the movie brings the contrasting scenes of the districts to life, rather accurately portraying a similarly bleak environment against the glamorous backdrop of the Capitol.

The atmosphere is a strange mixture of anticipation and of abject horror as bets are placed on lives, while families endure heart-stopping moments of horror as they watch their children die, live on TV. 

What enhanced the movie (and wasn't featured in the book), was the back and forth moments between the games and the commentators. For those who haven't read the book, this will definitely come in handy as explanations of certain aspects of the game are provided.

What the movie also gets right is the casting.

Again, I couldn't help but be skeptical about who they cast, especially Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta, the male tribute from District 12; but I was quickly proven wrong. Both Jennifer and Josh proved to be remarkably comfortable in their roles, and they do indeed stay true to the characters in the book.

Surprisingly enough, the movie is quite long, which resulted in a few scenes being either trimmed down or cut out completely. In spite of this, the movie stuck as close to the book as possible, and whatever changes were made worked for the better of the movie, rather than against.

My only gripe?

The importance of the last fighting scenes and the giant dogs were lost in the edits. Those who've read the book will certainly understand what I mean, which is why I would highly recommend reading the book first.

Overall, The Hunger Games is a welcome adaptation of a book to movie, and one that definitely deserves the rave reviews it's been receiving.

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

The Giver

2014-09-05 07:52

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Kyle 4/13/2012 10:42 AM
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How can the Mutts be out of the games... SPOILER ALERT DO NOT READ BELOW! Without the mutts, how does a certain someone die?
Jason 4/13/2012 11:23 AM
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Very enjoyable and great casting, but the directing style is where it falls short. You can't see anything during a fight scene due to the over the top handheld camera shake style. It is aimed at teenagers, so probably was done to make the fights less intense, but it is badly done. At least it will be a different director for the next two.
Tammy 4/13/2012 11:35 AM
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The mutts weren't out of the game, but it's just that that's all that they were. There's no explanation of what they really REALLY are. And for me, that kind of lost the impact of that moment. I can't say more without giving it away.
Thanatos 4/14/2012 7:18 AM
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spot on...went to the preview last Monday...barring NuMetro managing to bugger up with sound problems in the beginning and switching the lights on half way through, the movie certainly does justice to the book, though i could not stop myself from "reading" it through key scenes and feeling the moment before it happened...as the Rue scene approached I was apprehensive because it triggered emotions when i was reading and certainly didnt want to be tjanking in a cinema...well almost as emotional but fortunately they did skip the one aspect that raises the somberness one level higher...and the mutts - yes, the loss of the cruel element to their makeup did tame the scene somewhat...but final verdict, read the books then watch the movie
Star 4/18/2012 12:05 PM
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What a huge disappointment :( We were really excited to see this movie, but it was slow and boring, there was maybe only 15 mins that I would rate "ok" the rest "thumbs down"
Dumi 4/18/2012 2:46 PM
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Who's the Book author?
Jahmil 4/20/2012 9:04 PM
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Has anyone seen Battle Royale? The plot of Hunger Games is far too similar to this Asian Classic.
Thea 4/25/2012 2:04 PM
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I absolutely loved it. Its not often that a movie improves on the book but this one did. The casting was perfect and Katniss was definately not a super model, but a girl who with just the right lighting and makeup could take your breath away. I disagree about the mutts though. I think the revalation as to what they really REALLY were in the book was a bit over the top and didn't really horrify me, where as the clever editing and cgi had me jumping in my chair from fright.
Matrix 4/25/2012 5:30 PM
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Its was an "OK" movie. I seen ten fold better yes the lead actor Catniss was absolutely HOT. But for me the movie was a bit mediocre. I just feel that too much hipe has been built onto this trology and it did not lift up to that. Yes the Costumes and FX were bizarre and marvelous but all in all. If someone asked me choose between this movie and Mirror Mirror then Julia Roberts would have been my pic. I truly was disappointed at the final action scene between Cato and Peter, it was just not gripping and gory as was expected. other than that it was a good movie for a time passer.
OLONA 5/11/2012 12:24 PM
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IT WAS NOT A PLANNED WATCH BUT I ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT I WOULD WATCH IT AGAIN AND AGAIN
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