Marcus Reviews The Hunger Games

25 Mar

Synopsis:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

What I Liked:

The movie’s greatest strength by far is the acting. Everyone who had a major role was either solid to good and really gave some nice identity to characters who honestly were a bit underdeveloped for the most part (unless you’ve read the books). The brightest star in the movie though is Jennifer Lawrence (who’s slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses) who is amazing as Katniss. You can tell that she fully understands her character and at times honestly seems to be the only one taking any of what’s happening seriously. She was so good in fact that I honestly barely paid much attention to the other characters sometimes whenever she was doing something because she was impossible not to notice. In my opinion she was the only character in the movie that felt very real and fully realized.

The “forest” that the Games took place in was quite breathtaking and it was during that time in the film that it showcased it’s best camerawork and cinematography.

The scene when the Games started after the countdown finished was visceral, frantic and all around amazing. Also the choice to keep that scene almost completely silent for the most part was inspired.

While I wasn’t really a fan of the over the top Tim Burton-esque costume design for the people who resided in the Capitol, it did really do a good job of showcases them as the ridiculous and unaffected tycoons that they all were. The contrast between those that lived in the Districts and those in the Capitol was jarring but made perfect sense.

I found the score (when it was actually used) to be pretty great and really added the right amount of emotion needed in certain scenes.

What I Didn’t Like:

It honestly took me a bit to REALLY get into the movie. For the first 30 minutes or so it wasn’t fully clicking with me.

I’ll probably get stoned for this but the Games as a whole never truly GRABBED me like I wanted them to in the movie and honestly left me feeling a bit empty. Aside from the beginning the rest of it just never felt as dangerous as I thought that it should’ve been. It all just felt too safe and never once did I feel like Katniss wasn’t gonna come out on top. Maybe they purposely chose to hold back because they know that this is gonna be a franchise but I feel like they really should’ve taken some more risks and gotten more gritty to really drive the point home that this was a true fight for survival.

While the artificial forest that the Games took place in looked great, for the most part the Capitol looked like a green screened mess. There were a few impressive moments but there were alot more where you could blatantly tell that it was mostly green screen and it wasn’t hid very well.

Some of the editing in the movie was a bit sketchy/sloppy. There were moments when scene would cut to another in a very abrupt and awkward fashion that made me cringe a bit.

This might be my fault for not reading the books yet but I didn’t buy Katniss and Peeta’s “relationship” for one second. While Peeta obviously loved her, Katniss seemed like she was going along with it just so that they would both be able to survive and not because she actually loved him. It all just felt so forced in the way that the movie presented it. Once again though that could just be because I haven’t read the books yet.

Overall:

The Hunger Games is a film that suffers from the fact that it just feels like it’s the first movie in a series. The people who made it were very aware of the fact that there will be 2 other films after this and because of that I believe that certain risks weren’t taken and it all came out feeling a bit safe. I almost wish that there’d be some uncertainty about the sequels so that maybe they would’ve thrown all caution to the wind and really injected a bit of urgency into the movie as a whole. This of course doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the film though. The acting was strong throughout, it had some pretty impressive visual and cinematic moments and it was pretty enjoyable as a whole. I’m just frankly a bit sad that I wasn’t as blown away by it like alot of other people seemed to have been. I really wanted to like this movie more than I ended up liking it but nonetheless I still look forward to Catching Fire next year and I’m happy that so many fans of the series seemed pleased with it overall.

Rating: B

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