Easily one of the biggest movies of the year hits with money flowing and people losing their minds over it. But does The Hunger Games add up to the hype? Is it the next mega franchise?
Well that last question was easily answered with a “duh” I mean when it makes $70 million in one day you know a franchise is imminent. But I digress. The hype was huge around this movie and the pressure to live up to the books was large. I personally have not read the books and while I know that they are supposed to be great I found myself with an advantage going into this movie. Unlike most people who were seeing it as fans, I got to see it as a movie viewer being introduced to the franchise. And in that regard it disappointed.
Now that does not mean that the whole movie disappointed because it didn’t. It will probably go down as one of the year’s most entertaining movies with some intense moments of adventure and survival but that doesn’t take away from the glaring story holes.
If you haven’t heard of The Hunger Games the story goes like this, we enter a post-apocalyptic America which is renamed Panem. It is a country divided between a Capitol and twelve districts. A rebellion took place which paved the way for the titled games which take two contestants, a boy and a girl, from each district and have them fight to the death.
The main story follows Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) who is a member of District 12. The movies opens with her sister Primrose (Willow Shields) being selected to participate in the Hunger Games and Katniss stepping in and volunteering to take her place. She is accompanied by Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
I won’t lie I had very low expectations for the acting in this movie and some of them proved me wrong, and some! Jennifer Lawrence absolutely carried this movie and for someone who hasn’t given her much credit in the past I put my foot in my mouth. She displays in this movie that not only can see deliver a string performance but she can also carry a movie. Her performance not only moved the story and grow the characters more than the script could but it resurrected just the dead appeal I had for most of the major characters. Josh Hutcherson did well also and showed that his great work in The Kids Are All Right was not a fluke and he can act.
Acting wise everyone really showed up in this movie and veterans such as Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Woody Harrelson did well and didn’t drag down the story.
My main problem with the movie stemmed from the script. As someone who hasn’t read the books and loosely knows the story I was left completely without knowledge of the major characters, the other contestants, and really the reason I should care about anyone involved. The script left me to find out on my own and through deductive reasoning why each character did what they did or acted the way they acted. Luckily Jennifer Lawrence was there to save Katniss from becoming a bland character.
Director Gary Ross clearly was excited for the actual games and you could tell with the giant rush from the beginning to get to the games which left important story and development on the waste side. I would of preferred him developing these characters and making a slower buildup to the games which would of intensified them even more than they were. That being said, they did hit the correct note with the games and they were fantastic.
While I know most people who are fans of the books who read this will tell me to read the series in order to get my fill of character developing I still feel like its the job of the movie to add that into the script because they can’t just assume everyone read the books.
In conclusion, even though it may of seemed like I bashed this movie a lot I apologize because I actually really did like it. The acting and intensity of the games made the movie very action packed and entertaining and had me worried about the outcome of Katniss and Peeta. I hope that they will dive into more on the characters in the following films but either way I will be there to follow the rest. I recommend joining the mob and seeing this movie.