Directed By: Gary Ross
Written By: Gary Ross, Billy Ray, Suzanne Collins (novel+screenplay)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
PG-13 2 h 22 min – Adventure | Sci-Fi
Living in one of the 12 districts of Panem would be rough. Essentially the jobs of the districts to is to supply whatever resource is abundant in their territory to the Capitol, the headquarters of the totalitarian government that rules the districts. It’s headed by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who’s nowhere near as nice as he may look. A long time ago, the now non-existent district 13 started a rebellion and fought against the government. 13 was completely annihilated and to increase their ability to control the districts, the Hunger Games were created. Each year, 2 young people from each district are selected at random to fight in the games. The objective is to kill everyone and survive to be the last man (or woman, of course) standing.
The event is televised as a sort of punishment to the districts and entertainment for the upper echelon of society that reside in the Capitol. In the dark and lonely life within the districts people make do with what they have and struggle to survive. Katniss Everdeen does just that. She is a skilled hunter, but isn’t allowed to openly hunt. Each day she sneaks out into the forest to hunt and is pretty damn good at it. She supplies food for her mother and her younger sister, Prim. When the 74th hunger games swing through their district, Katniss’ worst fears are realized as Prim was randomly selected to fight in the games. Katniss heroically takes her place instead and off she goes.
They head to the Capitol and along the way Katniss is mentored by a former victor of the games Haymitch who’s a washed up alcoholic but adds some much-needed comic relief and heart to the otherwise dark picture. Katniss enters the game against her 23 other contestants and must balance survival with killer instinct. She’s put in a position time and time again where she needs to fight her natural instinct to love and care and instead simply survive. When she comes across a meek little man named Peeta, conflicts really rise. In a confusing and complicated mess of hormones and fear and the need to kill to survive, the two have an interesting relationship from the get go, to say the least. By the end of the games she turns hero as her and another contestant do something that’s never been done before that shakes the Capitol and the foundation of the Hunger Games as a whole.
The first time I saw this flick I absolutely loved it. The characters are extremely loveable and Jennifer Lawrence kills it. This was sort of the beginning of her uprising (ironically) and seeing her work was very impressive. Though Katniss is a very stale character, Lawrence breathes life and hope into her making Katniss much easier to love. The coming of age take on a dystopian future was also a lot of fun. Like The Matrix trilogy or Equilibrium or any other movies that have told almost the exact same story Hunger Games makes it easy to escape into their world. The colors of the Capitol are vibrant and alive, especially in comparison to the flat grays and dark hue that makes the districts. Katniss becomes a symbol of hope and shows people that going against the grain is possible, despite being extremely daunting. I love the lack of unity between the districts as well, it’s one more way the story shows us how truly broken the society is as a whole. The special effects were a lot of fun and everything that took place in the Arena was outstanding. I love seeing characters in survival mode, especially when it conflicts with their natural instinct to help or reach out and love another. Katniss finds this, and loses it in the Games. The end was epic. I love the twist and not so much for what it was, but what it brings in the future. I love seeing someone shake up the natural order of things and Katniss does just that. As far as first installments goes, The Hunger Games knocks it out of the park and opens up a world for these characters that I personally love being a part of.