Why?!! Why Why Why Why Why?! ...

The Hunger Games (2012)
A Review by Ben Hunter
3½ Out of 5 Stars
March 23, 2012

A major and passionate attempt to create magic out of an epic story, but falls short of glory.  Science fiction could’ve been represented a lot better as when a story of this caliber with a following of this proportion want nothing but perfection.  So with stakes raised as high as they were, it’s hard for a movie to become the movie in everyone’s mind.  As a lover of film and not a follower of the book, I got a movie that I wasn’t expecting either.  We all know what an amazing movie is when we experience it.  The Hunger Games was anything but “amazing”, rather an “okay” movie. 

Our story takes place in a not too distant future of the nation of Panem, made up of 12 districts of different classes.  Every year, Panem celebrates and hosts an event, “The Hunger Games”, to keep remembrance of the their history. So in honor of that history they select 2 young, agile members from each district, one male one female, to fight to the death in the hunger games and hopefully represent their district as its victorious winner, bringing honor, prestige, and good fortune to that district.  Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), is a resident of district 12.  This year, her young sister is selected at random fight in the games.  Distraught with shock, disbelief, and fear; Katniss makes her voice known and volunteers to fight in the games in her sister’s place becoming the first to ever volunteer for the games.

So Katniss is off to the major areas of the country where the games and training are held. She finally meets the boy selected from her district and remembers how her life entangled with his before the lottery of the games brought them together.  Her trainers, coaches, and the judges make their presence known as we see fear slowly take over Katniss’ entire being.  After all, she could be going to her death.  This feeling encompasses many of the 24 participants as only a select few are of arrogance and sure of their survival. 

The opening ceremonies begin, the contenders are housed in luxurious quarters on Panem’s glorious estates, training on how to fight and survive in the games commences, as we witness some of the interviews to meet some of the other participants from the other districts and we take part in all of the up beat promotion that takes place to prepare for Panem’s Superbowl.  The other districts prepare to watch the televised event, the games last however long it takes, all the deaths are captured for the world to see. 

With all of the words of wisdom that Katniss receives, all the training she gets to help prepare, having to suck up all of the fear of possibly dying, the trumpet sounds and the games begin!  Who’s going to die?  Who will be the sole survivor?


I kept saying that over and over all throughout the movie!  Why does this community GLORIFY KILLING?!  This world televises these “games” and watches these young and innocent kids KILL EACH OTHER!  It’s as if they really were getting ready to watch the Superbowl, treating killing as a game which I didn’t like, but just wanted clarity to digest this concept a lot easier.  I never truly got my answer.  The only thing that’s made very clear in the film to somewhat answer my question is that this is the way of life here and that it’s the way things have always been.  So my take is that you’ll have to watch the sequels to truly understand why Panem is the way it is.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this way and Hollywood or entertainment in general is all about making as much money as possible. 

So with Hollywood primarily being about the dollar as the bottom line, this movie felt really censored as it had a light-hearted uppity feeling to it.  As if it were died down a couple of notches and held back to receive a lower PG-13 rating and become marketable to even the younger audiences who loved the book series or just be made digestible for younger viewers who saw the trailer or some of the posters with all of the bright colors and light hearted feelings and “wanted to see that movie”.  The fight scenes were held back to get those younger ticket holders into the theater, and make as much money as possible.  Problem.  This movie was very PG-13ish and it should’ve easily been an R movie.  The story would’ve flourished to its true potential and really would’ve given the fans that amazing story they were looking for.  Instead this story suffered because it was held back.  As a parent you have to let your child go out into the world, learn, make mistakes, and grow. This hunger games child was definitely held back.  I wanted more drama and seriousness in this world of dying, especially with the ending that we received. 

It would’ve been nice to have seen a well drawn out, well planned, and brilliantly written love story that had roots in the beginning, and events from the beginning rippled throughout and were sprinkled amongst the entire story here and there, throughout the games, etc. which led to how things played out in the end, how the games were played, and are now a major plot point for the sequel.  The love story presented was a D/D+ attempt at capturing this. 

Maybe they’ll get it right on the next one since Hollywood knows that so much is on the line and that this movie wasn’t 100% with everyone.  But the pace and the tone of the cinematic story have been established already with this first installment out; so there’s not much to be done to the over all structure of this story. 

But it will be nice to see if any major improvements will be made to the next one.  The path the filmmakers are on with this is mediocrity.  We all are expecting greatness. 

The Hunger Games
Science Fiction, 142 Minutes, PG-13
Screenplay by: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray
Directed by: Gary Ross
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanley Tucci

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