We recently had the opportunity to attend a press pre-screening of The Hunger Games and I have to say that the film has certainly lived up to its’ hype, but not without a few criticisms. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins and is directed by Gary Ross and it is apparent that while Ross did an incredible job capturing the essence of the story, there are quite a few plot-holes left to fill along the way. That being said I am not sure in the long run how much that will truly matter to die-hard fans who have been patiently waiting for this film adaptation and if sales projections are correct the film may surpass the Twilight franchise by leaps and bounds.
The film opens up with us in the dreary confines of District 12, one of the outlying regions in the North American territory known as Panem. Residents of Districts 1-12 live in extreme poverty while The Capitol, who residents live in a lap of luxury, has total control of the territory. Many years ago the Districts rebelled against The Capitol and District 13 was eradicated. Annually as a reminder of their past rebellion and The Capitol’s total control the government forces each of the Districts to send two randomly selected children, a boy and a girl ages 12-18, to act as a tribute in The Hunger Games a televised battle royale where the tributes must fight to the death until there is only one left standing.
The film follows the story of female protagonist Katniss Everdeen, brilliantly portrayed by actress Jennifer Lawrence, who offers herself up as tribute for District 12 to prevent her twelve year old sister Primrose from having to enter the games. Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are taken away to The Capitol to being training for The Games with mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). After training and The Games have begun it is a bloody death match to see who will stay alive, with a love triangle thrown in for good measure. There are parts of the story that are incredibly believable and others that seem a bit far-fetched, however if you can put down your suspension of disbelief and just enjoy the story you will walk away from this film a lot happier when all is said and done. I also have to praise the note-worthy performance from Lenny Kravitz who plays Capitol stylist Cinna, while not in the film all that much, truly stands out and gives the icy cold Capitol a bit of heart.
I think a lot of opinion about this film is also based on how long ago you have read the book , if you have done so, because my co-worker who read the book over a year ago found no problems at all with the film and seemed to not notice any plot holes or missing information. However, I only recently read the book, maybe within the last week or so, and I was picking everything apart from start to finish. While no film can be a complete replication of the book, I felt there were certain elements that were missing and I was not thrilled with the changes in direction on some aspects of the story.
The Hunger Games is definitely worth the price of the ticket and the acting and cinematography alone blow the Twilight films right out of the water! Go check it out and ‘may the odds be ever in your favor’.