The Hunger Games

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The nation of Panem has risen out of the war, disaster and the ravaged ruins of what was once known as North America. 74 years ago, the thirteen poverty-stricken districts of Panem rebelled against the wealthy, controlling Capitol. After its crushing victory, the Capitol devised the Hunger Games as an annual reminder to the twelve remaining districts of its authority, and as continuing punishment for the rebellion. Every year, each District must hold a raffle (known as the “reaping”) to choose one boy and one girl (ranging from age 12–18) to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition in which each of the twenty-four contestants (known as the “tributes”) fight to the death in a televised arena until only one is left alive.

In District 12, an impoverished but coal-rich region of Panem, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) cares for her mother (Paula Malcomson) and her sister Primrose “Prim” (Willow Shields), since her father died in a mining accident. Katniss often hunts illegally outside the boundary fences of District 12 with her friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). She uses traps, snares, and a bow-and-arrow to kill her prey for food and trade with other residents.

Prim, now age 12, has her name placed in the reaping for the first time and despite the odds, it is drawn. Katniss volunteers as tribute to replace her sister in the Hunger Games. She competes against other tributes, including a baker’s son named Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the male tribute from District 12.

Before the 74th annual Hunger Games begin, she is given a stylist named Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and an eccentric Capitol escort named Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) to help her make a good impression with potential sponsors. The tributes get to live in a lavish Capitol building, where they are open to luxury. Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a drunkard and the only victor from District 12, mentors Katniss and Peeta before and during the Hunger Games. Katniss has a recurring memory of Peeta giving her a half-burnt loaf of bread from the back of the bakery, at a time when her family had nothing to eat and was on the brink of starvation. Katniss realizes that she may have to kill Peeta in the arena, but feels that she must help him survive as long as she can. During a televised interview before the Games, Peeta states that he has secretly had a romantic interest in Katniss since childhood, leaving Katniss responding in anger. Haymitch comes up with the idea to have Katniss and Peeta act as a loving couple in the arena to get sympathy from the audience and gain sponsors. Haymitch also informs Katniss to resist the urge to run toward the weapons laid out for the tributes as soon as the games begin as it will only lead to bloodshed. He tells her instead to head to higher ground and search for water, as it will serve as her only friend during the games.

When the games begin, the majority of the tributes make a mad dash to the “Cornucopia,” a depository of food and equipment, where twelve are instantaneously killed by the other tributes. After a tribute is killed, a loud cannon sounds to signal his or her death. Katniss flees into the forest and loses track of Peeta but not before picking up a backpack full of equipment. On the first night, Katniss hides in a tree and witnesses a tribute being killed by a gang of competitors (known as “Careers”) led by Districts 1 and 2, which includes Peeta. When Katniss unwittingly walks towards the edge of the arena, she is turned back by a firestorm, which draws attention to her location. The Careers see Katniss and chase her until she finds herself holed-up in a tree. After several unsuccessful attempts to kill her, Peeta suggests that they wait her out, intending to give her a chance to escape. That night, Katniss is alerted to a beeping sound in the sky and sees a cylinder attached to a parachute coming towards her. She opens the cylinder and reads a message from Haymitch telling her to tend to her severely injured leg using a healing salve inside the cylinder. The next morning, she awakens to find that her injured leg had completely healed overnight. While the gang is still asleep, Katniss is alerted to Rue, the female tribute from District 11, who points out to her a nest of “tracker jackers,” a genetically altered breed of wasps, the sting of which causes extreme pain, hallucinations and sometimes death. Katniss detaches the nest from the tree where it lands on the group below, killing Glimmer, the District 1 female tribute, giving Katniss access to her bow and arrows; however, Katniss has also been stung, hallucinates, and blacks out.

When Katniss awakens, she learns that Rue had nursed her for two days. They become allies and decide to conduct a raid on the Cornucopia to destroy the Career group’s food supply. When Katniss successfully destroys their supply, she finds Rue trapped in a net and frees her. Rue is killed by Marvel, the District 1 tribute, who sprang the trap, and Katniss kills him in return. The televised death of Rue, the youngest competitor (in which Katniss covers her body with flowers and gives a salute to the camera), leads to an uprising in District 11. To sedate the rioting, the gamemaker, Seneca Crane, agrees with Haymitch to allow the survival of two players from the same district, in the belief that it will give the masses something to look forward to. Katniss meanwhile seeks out Peeta, severely wounded by a sword, and nurses him back to health, when he declares his love for her. It is announced that something each of the living tributes desperately needs has been left at the Cornucopia. Katniss sees this as a way to get Peeta the medicine he needs. Peeta argues, saying Katniss doesn’t need to risk her life around the other tributes, for him, but Katniss insists she has to. When Peeta asks why, Katniss kisses him, but he still persuades her to stay. Even though she agreed to stay, Katniss sneaks to get the package when Peeta falls asleep. When recovering the medicine, she is nearly killed by Clove from District 2 but is saved by Thresh of District 11 as a sign of gratitude for helping Rue. Upon Peeta’s recovery, he and Katniss go out scouting and discover the dead body of the girl from District 5, nicknamed Foxface, who ate “nightlock,” a type of poisonous berry. Katniss and Peeta take the berries in the hopes of tricking District 2’s Cato into eating them.

That night, carnivorous and aggressive wild animals known as a “muttations” or “mutts,” are released into the arena to intensify the games, killing Thresh, making the only surviving players Katniss, Peeta, and Cato. Katniss and Peeta are chased by three Mutts to the Cornucopia, where they encounter Cato. After a brief but deadly fight, Cato holds Peeta by the neck, and Katniss notches an arrow at him. Cato confesses that he regrets the fact that his only skill in life is his ability to kill; nevertheless, he would not give up in honor of District 2. Katniss fires an arrow at Cato’s hand, and he releases Peeta, falling to the animals below. As they devour him, Cato whispers, “Please,” to Katniss, and she fires an arrow into his chest to end his suffering. When Katniss and Peeta climb down from the Cornucopia, the voice over the loudspeaker declares that the rule change that allowed two players of the same district to survive has been revoked, and one of them must die. Unable to kill each other, Katniss comes up with a plan to force the games to allow both to win. Knowing that failure to produce a definite winner would defeat the purpose of the games and increase the possibility of an uprising, Katniss convinces Peeta to feign an attempt at suicide by eating the nightlock berries. But before they can eat the berries, the announcer declares that Katniss and Peeta are the winners of 74th Annual Hunger Games.

President Snow tells Seneca Crane to come to a special room escorted by Peacekeepers. Noticing a bowl filled with nightlock berries, Seneca realizes too late and the doors are locked behind him, leaving him with no escape. Katniss and Peeta return home as heroes, but despite the declaration of two winners, a rebellion is continuing to take place. President Snow sees the celebration from his headquarters and is visibly not pleased to have two victors of the Games. Snow proceeds to exit his headquarters pondering his next move before the movie cuts to credits

REVIEW:

Before I begin this, let me make it clear that I haven’t read these books, yet. I had planned to do that this week, but, for some reason all the copies were checked out of the library. Oh well, I’ll get to it before this comes out on DVD.

Hollywood apparently is obsessed with making these young adult series into big budget franchises. With Harry Potter ending this past summer and Twilight coming to an end, something that can’t happen soon enough, if you ask me. There is sure to be a void in people’s hearts for something to invest their time, money, and emotions into. There have been attempts, but none have worked for one reason or the other, but it looks like The Hunger Games is going to make it. Of course, I said the same thing about Percy Jackson & the New Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

I’ve been hearing stuff about this book series for the last couple if years, at least, but it had ratcheted up here in the last few months, obviously, in preparation for this film, but the big question on everyone’s mind is “has all this hype been worth it?”

Well, I won’t go that far, but it is worth every penny I spent seeing it in the theater. I also have to give them kudos for not putting this in 3D, though I fear the sequels will not be so, shall we say, lucky?

So, what worked for me?

Well, the story is awesome! Sure, you can make the case that this is some sort of rip-off ofBattle Royale, but you can also say that it shows what may happen if reality shows keep taking over and pushing the proverbial line further and further.

The over the top costumes initially put me off, because while in District 12, seeing that one chick dressed like a Goodwill store version of Lady Gaga just didn’t seem to fit. However, when they got to the capitol and everyone was dressed that way, it made much more sense, although, one would think that the fashion consultant would be dressed more flamboyantly than anyone else, right?

The death of a certain character, I won’t mention who was done very well. From my understanding, they develop the relationship a bit more in the book, but even in this somehow abbreviated version, the filmmakers manage to make it a meaningful death and a one of the most powerful scenes of the film, second only to the moment when Katniss volunteers as tribute.

Speaking of Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence pulls this role off with flawless execution. I’ve heard some people say that she’s a tad bit on the cold side or that she’s just recycled her character from Winter’s Bone. Yeah, you can say that, but it is my understanding that Katniss isn’t exactly a warm, heroic person, but rather a cold, hard, mature girl.

The action was great, but not too overtly violent. I mean, yes, there were killings, but that’s to be expected. Since this is a PG-13 film, I was half expecting them to totally ignore the killings altogether or water them down in some way, but that wasn’t the case.

Now, what didn’t I like?

Well, Peeta, or more specifically Josh Hutcherson. This kid has grown leaps and bounds both physically and as an actor, and this was one of his less annoying roles, but for some reason, this kid just rubbed me the wrong way, and that was before the games even started!

There are things that I’m sure are explained in the book that aren’t in the film. For those of us that haven’t read the books yet, it doesn’t quite have the same impact. I”m sure that little three finger salute that happens a couple of time in here is supposed to be special, but it just didn’t come off that way.

They seemed to go to a lot of trouble to show the class differences, but they never really showed the hunger aspect. You know, the whole reason they play these games is because they’re supposedly hungry and fighting for food, or what have you. Yet, they don’t really touch on that, at least it doesn’t come across as effective on screen.

I’m really starting to hate caves! This is like the third or fourth film I’ve seen in the last few years where they wind up in a cave and it all but stops the film’s momentum. I don’t know if that scenes was in the book, or how it was written or anything like that, but it could have been left out or done better, in my opinion.

It would have also have been nice to introduce the protagonists a bit more, instead of a quick intro, then forget about them until the games start. What was up with that?

There are some weird dog like creatures that pop up near the end of the games. No, they aren’t werewolves, though they do seem to resemble the Judy Greer werewolf transformation (as she takes her hair off) in Cursed. I think these things either needed to be made to look more realistic or more cheesy-looking.

I got home a few minutes ago, turned this computer on and the first thing I see is how people are trying to make it political *SIGH* I won’t even dignify that by saying anything other thanIT IS JUST A MOVIE!!!!

When all the dust cleared, I have to say that I found myself thoroughly entertained by The Hunger Games. Sure, it was a bit morose and all, but that’s what happens when people have no food and are forced to watch reality TV. While I am sure there are those that are just going to hate this no matter how good it would have ended up, I still highly recommend this to any and all. It is a great film that can be enjoyed for what it is and, most importantly, you won’t be bored by moody, sparkly vampires that are an insult to the undead, and werewolves who can’t keep their shirts on when they’re in their human form! Be warned, though, kids die in this film, and some are quite young. Enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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9 Responses to “The Hunger Games”

  1. […] 10. 21 Jump Street 9. The Woman in Black 8. Red Tails 7. Men in Black III 6. American Reunion 5. The Hunger Games […]

  2. […] possibly be being watched. You can make the case that this is very similar to The Truman Show or The Hunger Games if you wanted, but if you do that, see if you can figure out which group is the lkeast evil. I know […]

  3. […] seems like forever since The Hunger Games was in theaters, and many people have been counting down the days for the sage to continue. In the […]

  4. […] older brother, Chris, was made a bonafide star with Thor, while he had a relatively small part in The Hunger Games (which grows in the sequels). Really, aside from that franchise and the short amount of time he was […]

  5. […] When The Hunger Games came out, I said that it wouldn’t be long before a spoof was made. This is a decent attempt, […]

  6. […] me a river. In The Hunger Games, Katniss was portrayed as a strong-willed, cold young woman with little to no emotion, save for her […]

  7. […] that this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think this could be a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, despite the fact that Woodley isn’t as strong an actress as Jennifer Lawrence. The opening […]

  8. […] movies and wonder what it is we have against kids! Think about it, this film used a killer maze. The Hunger Games is survival of the fittest. Divergent is escape and survive, more or less. I’m not exactly a […]

  9. […] creatures from Silent Hill. This is a big change for them since they were dog-type creatures in The Hunger Games. The design isn’t really what I liked, as mcuch as how this whole underground segment played […]

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