The Hunger Games (2012): Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.
Once again using IMDB. To be fair, I used it here more out of laziness than anything. Now I know that at this point everyone in the world has seen this movie, and that Catching Fire is probably going to be one of the best sellers of this Oscar season just based on recognition alone. And rightfully so. This is a well-written story, with many great themes located throughout. This is not Twilight. We do not have to sit here and question why this series exists much less why it's successful. Suzanne Colins deserves to be recognized for the story here, as it is a very intriguing one. So this review will probably be shorter than most, because I don't feel the need to go as in-depth as usual because this already has a good reputation preceding it. And the movie reflects this good reputation. I watched it with a friend who has read the book and said that the movie stayed very loyal to its source material. Only once or twice did I have to ask questions about the world, so the movie does a great job of making sure that those who know nothing about The Hunger Games do not feel lost at any point. Additionally I asked those questions primarily because I was interested in learning more about the world as opposed to being confused with what was happening. There's a great cast here, and they all take their roles very seriously, despite some very distracting makeup some of them had to wear. Particularly Stanley Tucci and his outrageous blue hair. I could not take that seriously, despite kind of understanding why it was happening in the first place. Even though Tucci himself clearly had a blast in this role.
And then there's Jennifer Lawrence. A (now) established A-list star, this was the second major role that she received in her very young acting career. Many forget that she was Mystique in 2011's X-Men: First Class. And then in her third major role she deservingly won an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. Talk about rising to the top in a hurry. Plus it helps that she's absolutely gorgeous. But in here I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. That isn't as much an insult as it is a complement, in that I was surprised when all I got from her was good, as opposed to great. But she still does a great job to establish the main character here in Katniss, and she went through a very convincing story arc. However the rest of the characters here are not as fleshed out as they could've been. Elizabeth Bank's character particularly feels more like an excuse to put Elizabeth Banks in this movie than to actually have a legitimate character. Woody Harrelson is also kind of wasted here, as this movie really becomes about Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and their fight for survival. Yes I know that is what's supposed to happen since the movie is about the Hunger Games but when a movie that is initially so grandiose in scale suddenly turns into a very intimate experience in the second and third act it's borderline awkward. And that's not even to mention the very awkward and unnecessary kind-of-sort-of-is-it-really-happening romance between Katniss and Peeta. But my book expert agrees that this romance is entirely unnecessary in the books so there isn't much that the movie can do to make it better.
So that's about it. If you haven't seen these movies yet I would recommend it because there is an interesting dystopian post-apocalyptic society created here, even if the world itself really isn't given that much of a chance to develop. It's still very interesting. And it's cool to see the early stages of Jennifer Lawrence's career. I can't wait to see where this future Julia Roberts caliber star heads with her career. It will be fun to watch.
The Critique: A fun popcorn sci-fi flick. Well-acted, well-produced, overall good fun.
The Recommendation: If you haven't seen it do so simply to conform with the rest of society. You shouldn't be bored at any point.
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 7/10 Good
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