The Hunger Games Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 21, 2012
The dystopic universe could have been more well explored, while the shaky camera in the action scenes makes it a bit hard to follow what is happening on screen. Still, this is an exhilarating movie that benefits a lot from charismatic characters and great performances.
Super Reviewer
March 21, 2012
"The Hunger Games" does everything right that the "Twilight Saga" did wrong. It invests you in the characters, makes you feel emotion for every tribute who is on the "good" side, and creates an atmosphere unlike anything you have ever seen. As Katniss's younger sister Primrose is chosen as tribute to compete in the 74th annual Hunger Games, she will not have it. She volunteers herself to compete. The Hunger Games are a battle to the death. 12 districts across the world compete. It is a televised event that happens out of pure chance. Many of the contenders have been trained, while Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced to rely on her hunting knowledge and coaching instructions. As she meets Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her feelings for the game change, when she finds out that he is in love with her. 24 contestants are forced into battle, only one comes out alive. In this borderline PG-13 flick, the gore is as high as it needs to be, the acting is brilliant by the entire cast, especially Jennifer Lawrence, who pulls off a powerhouse portrayal of Katniss. Emotion runs on high throughout this film and I was on the edge of my seat the entire way through. It does have it's share of cliche's of course, and those are the few minor faults. The shaky camera felt a little off when you try to focus on the action, the chemistry between Katniss and Gale was a bit rushed, and the conclusion of the film leaves you with so many questions. This film does give you a lot of what you want and It is everything a book adaptation should be. "The Hunger Games" is a great starting point for this series.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2011
The first in this series deserves a lot of credit for setting up its world in a way that allowed 'Catching Fire' to build upon it so well, but that movie really shows this up for what it is: a solid dystopian sci-fi flick with an outstanding central performance from Jennifer Lawrence, but also medicore action scenes and two-dimensional supporting characters.
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2012
The Hunger Games captures the political and social undertones of Suzanne Collins' brilliant novel while refusing to exploit the idea of kids being trapped in an arena to fight to the death. It is a great science fiction picture because of its pacing, ensemble cast, and portrayal of a nation that governs its people through fear and fascism.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2014
Watched on: January 10, 2014

I wasn't least interested in going for it, but I'm glad that I did. I thought it would be just a version of Battle Royale, but there was much more entertainment in store than my expectations. The movie starts with a girl fearing to be chosen as a participant in The Hunger Games, and her nightmare turns real. But she has a brave elder sister willing to volunteer and save her sister from the probable negative consequences. Then begins the promotion of the game and the training, et al. It wasn't anything extraordinary, but the chemistry forming between Katniss and Peeta draws attention and keeps it going. Finally, I didn't find the game much exciting except for the very ending.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2011
I'm proud to pronounce "The Hunger Games" another captivating addition to the sparse genre of female-led action movies that are GOOD (thanks for nothing, Barb Wire, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Elektra and Colombiana). Brought my little cousin to see this since she had read the books and deserved a reward after the hours of coding I put her through :) Jennifer Lawrence made what could have been a cheesy setting for a movie (the same stilted feel and class hatred as "In Time", for those of you who had the misfortune to watch that movie) feel believable, because she stayed strong and in-character for every minute of this. What a BAMF. I could watch her for hours. Ignoring the physical impossibilities (like a lightweight person remaining standing after taking a spear to the chest??), I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2012
I definitely went in with too high of expectations. The first act is nigh perfect in setting up dystopian Appalachia: the shaky handicam shots of miners going to work, raggedly clad children, and weary villagers preparing for the Reaping. Even dull-as-a-box-of-rocks-in-"The-Last-Song" Liam Hemsworth infuses Gale with levity as well as wistful longing for love and escape. I especially love the reaction shots of the mother after she says something kind to Katniss, but Katniss just deflects the kindness onto Prim - showing the strained relationship between mother and eldest daughter.

The film spends so much time with the exposition that the next two acts are rushed and ill-developed, specifically Peeta's history and motivations. The bread-in-the-rain flashback is shown quite a few times, but it's always the same. They could have elongated the memory to bolster its significance - shown the severity of Katniss' starvation, shown Peeta's intention of burning the bread so that he could gift it to Katniss, shown how that act of kindness saved her and her family's life.

Peeta's bravery, loyalty, and true love for Katniss (versus her complicated but necessary duplicity) don't come through at all. They could have shown Peeta actually fighting off Cato after the tracker jacker attack so that unfamiliar audiences wouldn't just think he's a milquetoast pretty boy. Instead of just the perfunctory filler about drunken Haymitch and a steely-eyed Katniss refusing to acknowledge her natural ally/enemy during their first official meeting, they could have shown Peeta trying to befriend Katniss, proving that everything he does in the Games - from playing to the Capitol crowd to teaming up with the Careers to his last defense of camouflage - is to ensure her survival. Also, as Katniss contemplates double suicide, Peeta in the book tries desperately to stop her by professing his love for her.

The costumes are glorious, and the settings are lush. All the actors are spot-on (although the actors who play Cato, Marvel, and Peeta all look too similar). Stanley Tucci is adorable and lively as the host. Amandla Stenberg's one perfect tear is perfect. J.Law covers all the bases from stalwart fierceness to pained vulnerability.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2013
It's about a week away from the release of the second Hunger Games, and until now I had not seen this movie, nor had I known what the series was about. I just heard "it was awesome, so watch it!" It's no wonder why this series is it hit in books, and was later turned into a movie. The script and storytelling is very original and unlike anything that's been done before. Is it a bit cliche? Yes, but in a good way. I don't like when films are too cliche, but in this movie..... it JUST fits and shouldn't be questioned. I loved the movie and can't wait for the second film next week.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2012
Entertaining despite the violent premise. Worth watching.
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2013
Happy to say I didn't waste any precious time reading the book. This one is worse than I thought it would be. It's not even a good love story. Still, two stars for Jennifer Lawrence.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2013
President Snow: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.

"The World Will Be Watching"

The Hunger Games looks like an accurate representation of societal life in the coming future. It's a more updated 1984 in some regards. This shows a society(ours) that has collapsed and now looks completely different. While the average people fight for survival on a daily basis, the top class(government and sellouts), can basically do whatever they want. Included in this is a barbaric cultural show, called "The Hunger Games." In these "Hunger Games", two teenagers between the age of 12-18 are picked from each of the twelve districts that now make up the land. From each district comes one girl and one boy.

Katniss is a young woman living in the twelfth district. When she goes to the reaping(the ceremony where the tributes are picked), and hears her younger sisters name called; she volunteers to go instead of her sister. The Hunger Games is a sort of government intimidation exercise in which only one of the twenty four tributes walks away alive. Now Katniss will be thrown into an arena where she must fight for her life, while the rest of the world watches on television. 

This film was a whole lot better than I ever thought it would be. I'll admit to never reading the novels, as I tried to stay away from the books that teachers were peddling out to us to read throughout schooling. All I knew coming into the film was a rough synopsis of the events that were about to unfold and I believe that my lack of knowledge may have benefited me. 

While I can't say anything along the lines of how good this is adaption wise, I'm pretty certain that it was a good one from the overwhelming approval for the film. For me not reading the book, the movie came across as engrossing and thoroughly intriguing and entertaining. Jennifer Lawrence is quickly becoming one of the best young actresses around also, so her presence does nothing but elevate the film even further. 
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2011
In the distant, dystopic future, the ruins of what was once North America has coalesced into a nation known as Panem. The totalitarian government of the opulent Capitol District rules over the over twelve, less glamorous districts. As punishment for an uprising years earlier, the Capitol forces each district to submit, as tribute, two youths (one of each gender) between ages 12-18 to compete in an annual televised competition called the Hunger Games wherein each 'tribute' must battle one another to the death until only one remains.

The story primarily follows the exploits of Katniss Everdeen, the 16 year-old female from District 12 who volunteered in place of her younger sister as well as that of her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta, who has harbored a longstanding, though secret crush on her.

Many people went nuts for this due to similarities with Battle Royale. Well, it also has similarities to The Running Man among other things, but so what? I see this as less of a rip off and more like just another variation on a theme. It's got a lot to offer, too: thrilling survival story, social and political satire/commentary, and an unnerving concept.

Ad for the most part, this is all pretty successful. I never read the book, but it seemed like it was probably a decently faithful adaptation for the most part, though I'll admit I got the idea that a lot of things had to be glossed over or changed, such is the nature of adaptations. I can't say if that's totally a good thing, since I have no frame of reference, but once in a while the film did come off as lacking as a result, even though I ultimately got the gist of it all quite well.

The main thing that sticks out as far as changes is the violence. As a necessity of the PG-13 rating, the film does tone a lot of it down, with tons of quick edits, and lots of shaky cam, and only occasional spurts of blood from the more vicious moments. I'm a beliver that yes, sometimes less is more, but I think they probably could have gotten away with not downplaying the rougher stuff as much. I mostly take issue with the manner they go about censoring it. The shaky cam gets really distracting at times, but it's not just used during the action scenes. It's used for like at least 70% of the running time, which is a real problem given that it lasts 142 minutes.

It's really unnecessary for it to be there so much. I think director Gary Ross was just nervous about what he could get away with, and took the weaker way out, and that's a shame. It would have been far more effective with the camera staying still more often, letting the audience better focus on the bleakness of things.

Jennifer Lawrence scores another hit as Katniss, and this is further proof of her talents. Josh Hutcherson is kinda weak (acting wise) as Peeta, though I do like how they gender flip the damsel in distress situation. There's lots of notable names in the supporting cast such as an icy Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Wes Bentley (complete with cool beard) as the gamer runner, an outstanding Woody Harrelson as the only Hunger Games winner (turned alkie and mentor) from District 12, and the delightfully campy efforts from Stanley Tucci and, especially Elizabeth Banks.

Shakiness aside, the film does have a nice look (when it isn't so fidgety), the story and world building are compelling, the situation is neat, and the music is quite decent, too. All in all, this is overrated, but still pretty enjoyable. Give it a try.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2012
Even though I am late to the party, it is better late than never. Having read the book and feeling rather lukewarm about it, I wasn't going to fight the crowds at the cinemas in order to see a big screen adaptation of a story that I wasn't all that enthused about. However, in the comfort of my own living room and with my expectations still hovering around moderate to low, I have to admit that this movie took me a bit by surprise.

Right from the very beginning, Ross' direction is taut. Smartly keeping the attention of a generation of YouTubers with quick cuts, while simultaneously acquainting the viewer with the emotional core of the film; Katniss and those of District 12. The reaping scene in particular is honestly astounding. One of the better sequences that I have seen from a film in 2012. The agony of silence haunts every frame, and even though we know that Katniss will somehow be drawn into these games, Ross still manages to generate a palpable tension by cutting from the faces of the those who are doomed to compete in these games, with close ups of the hands and the mouths, the instruments of terror, of those orchestrating the events.

The momentum began to wane in the second act however. The action sequences are well crafted, but cannot keep afloat what is dragged under water by a mediocre script. I also was unimpressed by Lawrence. I think she is a terrific actor, but I would not point to this film if I was trying to make a case for her.

Overall, the film succeeded in pointing me to Gary Ross' IMDB page in order to check out his other work. Unfortunately, it did little more than that.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2012
The film is wanting if you read the book recently. But for a movie adaptation, it's close to the book. Jennifer Lawrence does a fantastic job. Woody Harelson was probably the wrong choice for Haymitch, however. And who knew Lenny Kravitz could act! Bravo, Lenny!
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2012
Didn't actually expect to like this one. Was pleasantly surprised. Horrible storyline about poor kids and teens being forced to battle to the death for the entertainment of rich people, but makes for enthralling viewing.
Beautifully filmed and Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic. Definitely have to check out the next films and probably the books too.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2011
I haven't read the book so I can't compare to that. It's a well made film with a big production and talented cast. Tiny bit surprised at being a 12a rating, it's basically teenagers fighting to the death by killing each other off! Also a theme similar to many films, Running Man, Battle Royal, The Condemned. So not that original but decent enough to check it out.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2012
Boring "Teen" friendly mix of Battle Royale, The Running Man and Lord of the Flies. If this and Twilight is what people are reading then there is fuck all hope for any of us. Fucking shite!
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2012
I've heard so much about this movie, that I was having really huge expectations. but let's just say it wasn't reached the halfway to my expectations
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2012
A mind-blowing and adrenaline-pumping thrill-machine. The first chapter to a promising, dynamic and thrilling franchise. A real triumph. A spectacular and unforgettable action-packed adventure. It`s bold, fiercly epic and utterly breathtaking. An outstanding vision of he future where todays youth are pushed to the test and forced to do unthinkable things. Director, Gary Ross crafts a swiftly paced, creative and tough adaptation of the classic novel. An intstant classic that will blow you away and knock you out. A powerfully entertaining and wickedly thrilling ride. It`s stunning, well-crafted and brilliantly performend. The characters are well developed and the stars shine in the roles. It`s young breakout stars, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson give strong and great performances. Lawrence plays Katniss with a strength and emotional vulnerability that makes her worthy of movie star status. Woody Harrelson is excellent. Stanley Tucci is terrific. Elisabeth Banks is wonderful. Lenny Kravitz gives a great performance. Over two hours of well-crisp entertainment with great characters, in depth story, and smart, sharp and furious action sequences.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2011
"I am one of the many who read the series. I liked the film, but I didn't love it. I understand a lot has to be taken off the table in order to put it on film and not everything is going to make it into the movie. But some of the things I liked about the book were left out. So that was a little disappointing. But I enjoyed what I saw of it. I do feel like some of the film won't make sense to most if they didn't read the book first. I feel like that is a fail for the film. It should have been made in a way for those who didn't read the book to understand it as well. I understand not eveyone is a book nerd like myself. :] So besides that and some scenes from the book I would have liked to have seen played out in the film, it turned out to be just OK for me."
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