Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Hunger Games

March 22, 2012

Just came home from watching "The Hunger Games." I have read all three books by Suzanne Collins several months before, so I know what will happen already. Despite this knowledge, I remained excited and riveted by how the details of the story had been translated on screen by writer-director Gary Ross.

The first hour was dedicated to the events preceding the games, as the last hour and a half depicted the games themselves. This movie was the story of a future world, in a country with 12 districts controlled a central Capitol. Every year, they would commemorate the revolution by staging a "Hunger Games", where two tributes from each district would fight to the death until only one remains the victor. On this the 74th Games, the tributes of outlying District 12 would be Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and the central heroine of the series, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).

I could say really that this movie was practically how I imagined the book while I was reading it. I guess you can also say that Suzanne Collins' description of this non-existent world was so vividly cinematic to begin with. First rate special effects were used to bring essential highlights of the book, such as the "girl on fire" costume and the control room of game-master, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley). 

However, credit should also be given the intimate scenes that did not rely on any special effect, but the sensitivity of the actors themselves, especially Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. These quiet scenes were also very well-executed, albeit some tender moments between Katniss and Peeta may sometimes border on cheesy (although that was how they really were described in the book!). This movie, like the book, is targeted towards the teenage group, and the reaction of the teen girls in the audience would attest to their appreciation of these particular moments.

Overall, I would say this movie achieved that rare balance between book and film interpretation. Fans of the book and those who never read the books both would appreciate the characters, story-telling, the set design, art direction and visual effects. The violence was mercifully muted for the target teen audience. This is a must-see, and sets up very well the upcoming sequels, as there is no doubt they will also produce the next two books, "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay". Well recommended!

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