Plot: Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross (screenplay), Suzanne Collins (screenplay, novel)
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Please, let the games stop.
In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the rich Capitol and poor 12 districts. Each year two young representatives - one male and one female - from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors with all citizens required to watch.
From the very first minutes "The Hunger Games" feels messy and it only becomes worse and worse as it progresses - you wait for the games to begin for and hour and when they do, they feel like action scenes shot for a TV movie with cheesy explosions, people running around the woods and horrid editing adorning all of it. The world the story takes place in, didn't engage me. The characters, so underdeveloped, didn't interest me. Say what you want about Jacob and Edward in Twilight - even comparing to those two male characters in "The Hunger Games" are so bland that if actors playing them are not nominated for Razzies this year, I'll be truly shocked.
Love triangle? Check. Poor animal running away from the proximity of death in the prologue? Check. Teenage heroine which is supposed to be different than all the other girls in the film? Check. Good actress playing her wasting her time? Check. Annoying supporting teenage characters? Check. Sounds familiar?
We follow Katniss, who steps up to protect her sister, whose name is of course selected as a contender. Since the little sister is horrified, as she is repeatedly in the movie which the actress playing her portrays through her annoying screaming and sobbing, Katniss waves her hands and yells she volunteers thus becoming a contender in titular Hunger Games - fight to death between teenagers in a merciless world, where their battles are broadcast for the enjoyment of the public. I really didn't care about any of these people getting slaughtered, nor apparently I should have since nobody bothered to give them any back story. The logic of the games themselves escapes me too - so there are 12 poor Districts and the one that is victorious wins the prize. Wouldn't the people from other districts raise against the one that is victorious? How is hosting games helping anything? What am I missing?
The main heroine Katniss is brave and noble, as we are told on the back of the flayers that promotes the movie. There are two boys in her life - one she leaves in her district who is clearly saddened by the fact she may die - that is shown through a quick and so very profound scene where he sits on the hill, staring at the horizon, ah the angst! The other is irritating little prick who is the fellow contender in the game. Oh Good Lord, which one will Katniss choose? Romeo or the wuss?
There are many recognizable actors in this one - Wes Bentley and Elizabeth Banks continue to embarrass themselves and Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelsson clearly need money because I can see no other reason for being in this film - Harrelson is by the way the only one except for Lawrence who manages to create an actual performance in this film. And then there are the actors who partner Lawrence as her fellow contenders and two who play her love interests, well let's just say I won't even bother to learn their names.I was shocked to notice on the imdb cast listing that Isabelle Fuhrman was in it. I completely didn't recognize her, but I should have suspected it was her, given that she played the only one of Katniss's enemies that was actually memorable.
And had it not been a trilogy but a single movie let me tell you, if the ending was changed I'd collapse. Had they eaten those berries and died I would be shocked and throw in 20 points to the grade. But as with the ferries not exploding in "The Dark Knight", everybody is happy, nobody decent dies in the end and God bless America. What's more shocking than the box office numbers and all those favorable reviews is that this movie is written and directed by Gary Ross, who fourteen years ago made wonderful "Pleasantville". How the mighty have fallen.
What did I like? Well, apart from Lawrence and Harrelson I liked the music. That's it. The film is as clumsy and as much of a waste of time as "In Time" I saw few weeks ago. All I can say, don't buy into the hype, watch it on DVD as I initially planned and should have just wait and do so, because that way I'd be able to fast forward through this mess.