The Hunger Games Film Review

The Hunger Games Film Review

“First place wins a life of privilege and riches. There is no second place.”

This Lionsgate film presents a compelling adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling first book, which was published in 2008. There are two more books in the series Catching Fire and Mockingjay, so expect to see two more film sequels in the near future. The film, directed by Gary Ross, exudes an intelligent quality, engaging drama, and compelling scenarios about a futuristic world in North America called Panem where a teenage boy and girl are chosen by lottery from each of the 12 districts then engage in a televised survival battle in the woodlands.

The overall concept is compelling, but filmmakers still had to choose what could be removed from the dense book and to emphasize and carefully balance this 142-minute film for the audience. Too much satire and the actions lose realism…too much blood and gore and lose the teenage audience (via the PG-13 rating). Filmmakers succeed on both fronts with subtle touches of satire and brutal, but fairly bloodless battles.

Jennifer Lawrence headlines this star-filled action drama as the strong female hero Katniss Everdeen who is willing to make extreme sacrifices for family and society in a very slighted world. Katniss, a coalminer’s daughter, does not have the extensive interior monologue in the book as filmmakers make more time for the intriguing scenarios and fast paced action. Other noticeable differences include the acquisition of a certain pin and the genetically modified dog-like creatures called ‘muttations’.

Donald Sutherland plays President Coriolanus Snow who rules Panem and treats these games with an odd aura, even putting the adjective “happy” before the event name while announcing it. In this world, the “Hunger Games” are an Olympic-type event facilitated by a group of eclectic characters including the emcee Caesar Flickerman, well played by the always impressive Stanley Tucci; Seneca Crane, played by Wes Bentley; Effie Trinket, played by Elizabeth Banks, and Claudius Templesmith, played by the talented Toby Jones who is underused a very limited role.

Woody Harrelson plays the teenagers’ boozy mentor Haymitch Abernathy and Lenny Kravitz impresses as Cinna who also helps prepare the teenage “tributes”. The young tribute men are played by Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) as Gale Hawthorne,  Alexander Ludwig (Race to Witch Mountain) as Cato, and Jack Quaid (son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan) as Marvel. Amandla Stenberg (Columbiana) has a star making role as the memorable Rue, one of the youngest tributes.

This film is highly recommended and offers a strong experience with great originality, though some audiences might recorgnize elements from previous works like Brave New World, Rollerball, The Running Man, and Battle Royale. Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – all involving teens. Director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) is planning to helm the second installment in the trilogy, Catching Fire, which is scheduled for a November 2013 film release.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

About the Author

Gear Diary Staff
Gear Diary was founded on September 30, 2006, with the goal to create a website that would not easily be labeled. Everyone who is part of Gear Diary is a professional who uses technology in their work and daily lives. On this site, we share our enthusiasm while exploring the gear we use — the equipment that makes our lives easier, more entertaining, more productive, and more manageable. Our hope is that Gear Diary visitors find this site to be a welcoming, friendly, and accessible place to learn about and discuss interesting topics — and not only those that are tech-related! Gear Diary is a place to discover and explore all kinds of new gear, including smartphones, computers, kitchen gadgets, Toys, EDC, camping gear, or even your next new car! You can follow us on Twitter @GearDiarySite.

4 Comments on "The Hunger Games Film Review"

  1. We’re going to see it today. I purposefully didn’t read the books first (because I didn’t want to constantly judge what was missing). I just hope the movie follows the book closely enough that I won’t hate it after having finished. =)

  2. We saw it last night. Jennifer Lawrence is astounding. Even though I knew the story she sold me on every moment.

    The whole movie was great and I think they did an amazing job walking a very fine line. Definitely one of the best movies I have seen in a while, and the best book interpretation since lord of the rings.

  3. Michael Siebenaler | March 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

    Yes. Great film. Lawrence should be up for an Oscar again for Best Actress. 🙂

  4. Never going to happen for this type of movie … They will nominate a lesser actress in a more ‘Oscar like’ role …

Comments are closed.