There’s been a lot of hype about this movie, with critics raving about it, and audiences relishing it. But, I was somehow out of the fray of all this hype and was pleasantly surprised when I saw this film, maybe it was because I was going in with no previous information about what the film was about.
The film follows Katniss Everdeen who lives in a dystopian America. “The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, which consists of a wealthy capitol surrounded by 12 impoverished districts. As punishment for a past rebellion against the government, the Capitol initiated the Hunger Games—a televised annual event in which one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are selected in a lottery as “tributes” and are required to fight to the death in an arena until there is one remaining victor. When Katniss hears her younger sister’s name called as the female tribute for their district, she volunteers to take her place in order to save her from having to participate. Joined by her district’s male tribute Peeta Mellark Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy expressing resentment for both the Capitol and its populace for forcing her and her fellow tributes to fight to the death for their own amusement.”
Despite a rather slow and laboured start, the director, Gary Ross, eases the audience in to the dystopian world. This film is a film of extremes, extreme poverty, extreme violence, extreme love; which should be perfect for its pre teen audience, right?
Well, some critics have labelled this film “The New Twilight”, with its themes of love (and imminent love triangle) should be able to be mass marketed, printed on t shirts and mugs. But, the film is too sophisticated for that, the themes too complex, too close to our own reality (The X Factor, Britains Got Talent, I’m a Celebrity…) although this film is set in the future, the themes that are being played out are remarkably similar to our own.
What is more, there was also a sense of class divide, the cruel and heartless (often ridiculous) upper class society relishing the deaths of the lower class society, all being played out for their amusement. It is satire at its cruelest.
Jennifer Lawrence exerts herself as the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and despite a cold exterior, she allows us to reflect on her society and the role which she plays within it. A sweet love story between her and Peeta enables the audience to see the vulnerable side to her character. She is still pretty fearless.
With another film on the way, Catching Fire, which is the second film in an adaptation of Suzanne Collins novel of the same name. Expect to see a lot more of this series, and, unlike its predecessors (The Golden Compass) another trilogy of books, which, when adapted couldn’t translate to its audiences.
The Hunger Games just leaves you wanting more.