Enjoyed the movie yes. Definitely something to watch – a prelude to a blockbuster summer indeed! But I will reserve overall judgement until I’ve read the book/s. In fact, I intend to find copies of all three books in the series and read them in succession.
So what are others saying?
The Hunger Games is partly an entertaining throwback to satirical pictures such as Norman Jewison’s Rollerball (1975) and Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976), although those movies had a very adult, sexy-sleazy feel; The Hunger Games is notably chaste, despite all the fighting. It could also have been inspired by Kinji Fukasaku’s Japanese nightmare Battle Royale (2000) and Daniel Minahan’s excellent and underrated satire Series 7: The Contenders (2001). The film also awoke in me a very happy memory of the classic first-season Star Trek episode “Arena”, in which Captain Kirk is teleported to a uninhabited planet where he has to fight the giant reptilian Gorn, and is told there are raw materials there to create a weapon, if only he can find them.
Yet, now, as the blockbuster book is set to become the biggest film of the season, all I can see are the missed opportunities. For fans that know the material, it’s fine. In the words of Farmer Hoggett “That’ll do.” But to quote another film, “It could have been a contender.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwartzbaum gave the film an A-, writing, “This ‘Hunger Games’ is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins’ vision. It’s brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed. It conveys both the miseries of the oppressed, represented by the poorly fed and clothed citizens of Panem’s 12 suffering districts, and the rotted values of the oppressors, evident in the gaudy decadence of those who live in the Capitol. Best of all, the movie effectively showcases the allure of the story’s remarkable, kick-ass 16-year-old heroine, Katniss Everdeen.”
There’s much to admire. The make-up, costumes and environment of the ruling class are spectacular, and Gary Ross directs competently — if not at his Seabiscuit best.
However, I was not sure of the point of it all. Is it to satirise the sadism of reality TV? To dramatise the uncaring way teenagers are treated by their elders? Those ideas are scarcely developed. Perhaps they will be in future films.
Adults may also notice the plot is familiar — much of it resembles a watered-down version of Battle Royale, a Japanese movie made in 2000.
And from Rotten Tomatoes…
86% from 213 reviewers, averaging at 7.3 out of 10 with 183 reviews rating it as ‘Fresh’ while 30 rated it as ‘Rotten’.
Photos courtesy of Screen Rant.
- “The Hunger Games” is ever in our favor (aroundthenest.com)
- Inst@Review: The Hunger Games (RexBlog.com)
- 7 Reasons To Watch ‘The Hunger Games’ This Weekend (socialitelife.com)
- Now Playing: The Hunger Games (towleroad.com)