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THE HUNGER GAMES
THE ARMY 1601 REVIEW
In a world where tween fandom reigns supreme at the box office, the suits can't wait to pull out another book series and turn it into the next big franchise and tentpole for the releases. Harry Potter succeeded with flying colours, and Twilight despite being terrible in quality, have made a killing in the box office and become a big name among tweens. However, series like Narnia, Percy Jackson, and the Golden Compass have really failed in making a franchise both critically and financially. Enter the Hunger Games, poised to take the throne from the now over Harry Potter, and the soon to be over Twilight, does it actually succeed? After seeing it at a full house screening last night, the answer is yes.
For those who havent heard the premise, which has been pushed and advertised to death, the movie takes place in the society of Panem, presumably in place of a destroyed USA, in which every year an event held by the Capitol called the Hunger Games takes place in which a girl and boy is selected from each of the twelve surrounding districts to participate in a fight to the death broadcasted across the country. The event is used to keep the districts in line after an uprising against the Capitol. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) takes her sister's place after she is picked to protect her, and along with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is headed to the Games.
Now for what works, Jennifer Lawrence absolutely makes the film work with her emotional performance. The book being written in first person from the POV of Katniss, needed someone who convey their emotion and thoughts through facial language and delivery of lines, and Lawrence absolutely works in the lead role here, she pulls it off effortlessly and is the perfect Katniss. The other standouts would have to be Woody Harrelson as the drunkard mentor to Katniss and Peeta, Haymitch Abernathy, Lenny Kravitz as Katniss' likable stylist, and Stanley Tucci as the Capitol's charismatic talk show host, Caesar Flickermann. Josh Hutcherson and Thors brother, Liam Hemsworth, work as Peeta and Gale respectively.
They also were able to work around some difficulties with bringing the book to the big screen. When describing certain elements of the games that would be described using Katniss' thoughts in the book, are described well via commentary type footage in the 2nd half. They also work around the violence by putting a disturbing turn away quality to it with the camera work where you really feel the gravity of the Games right from the start. It should also be noted that the first half does a great job of establishing the world and people of this story.
What didnt work so well in this movie were a few things. For one thing, a girl who befriends Katniss, Rue, is underdeveloped and doesnt end up being as well illustrated as she was a book. Some key scenes from the book involving conversations with Rue and Katniss are missing here that would have helped sell their relationship. Also the shaky cam doesnt work for some of the action scenes in this movie particular the final battle in this movie, director Gary Ross presumably doesnt have the action chops to deliver these scenes. And the ending felt a tad rushed, more so than it was in the book, it could have used a little more buildup.
Despite all these gripes however, I felt this movie was an enjoyable darker blockbuster than we are normally use to. The movie does lightly tread its deeper themes, but there there, and play a bigger role later than they do now. Despite whether you look into it that deep or not, the Hunger Games is an enjoyable watch, its well paced, thoughtful, and well acted entertainment that should be the start to what could be a big franchise to take the mantle of Harry Potter. It doesn't reach all the potential it could have as adaptation of a great book, but for it is, it works, and works well.
I GAVE THE HUNGER GAMES
Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds be Ever in your Favor!
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