May the odds be ever in your favor.

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Lenny Kravitz
Directed by: Gary Ross

This is one of those movies that I went into with zero expectations. I’d heard a lot of hype via the grapevine, but had no opinion what so ever walking in to the theater. I’ve never read anything by Suzanne Collins (original author), nor have I ever seen anything from Director Gary Ross. Seriously, never saw Big, never saw Pleasantville, and never saw Seabiscuit either. The majority of the main cast wasn’t much to go on either, especially with this being the main character’s, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), first Hollywood performance. It’s a rare opportunity nowadays to walk into a movie theater without any preconceived notions about the flick, so this was a treat for me.

I’ll do my best here to not throw out too many spoilers, but some may be necessary to get my points across. So, you know the deal, beware of SPOILERS.

It’s always interesting to watch a movie about the making of a movie or a show of some kind, because this obstacle makes the viewers painfully aware of the plot devices. There was one instance in this movie where they blatantly came out and said it, “This is the story of two lovers, brought together” or something to that effect. With that exception, I feel like the film handled these obstacles very gracefully. I hate it when a film make an effort to tell you how to experience it, so, bravo for not making that folly.

The growing trend in Hollywood these days seems to be nothing but sequels, remakes, and video game/comic book adaptations. It’s nice to see an original story emerge among the rest of this garbage and moderately okay material. I know that this was adapted from a novel, but I feel like novels are usually pretty decent source material, no I’ve got no problem with that.

I’ve never heard of a story with a premise similar to The Hunger Games before; a televised fight to the death in remembrance of the struggles that brought a country to war in the past. The movie never actually came out and said this, but Panem and the 12 districts that make it up actually lye on the remains of the old United States. The 12 districts seem to be divided at different levels of poverty and social classes. District 1 has the rich bureaucrats, while District 12 has the poor coal miners.

Each district selects 2 combatants to represent it, 1 male and 1 female, between the ages of 12 and 18, in a process called the reaping. The 24 combatants are thrown together in a large but confined area in a fight to the death, with only 1 possible victor.

The casting was done very well, and I feel, for the most part, there weren’t a whole lot of people that didn’t work in their rolls. Their were only 2 characters that I was kind of uncertain about. The first was Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). I got the feeling that by the end of the movie, I was supposed to be on Peeta’s side. I, for whatever reason, never grew to like Peeta, and I’m not sure whether that was a function of the character itself, or the casting choice. Maybe that changes in the upcoming sequels, but I never got behind him this time around, and therefore I never felt like the plot devices involving romance with him were that effective. The other character I was kind of iffy about was Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks).

I’m getting kind of sidetracked with this, but did anyone realize that was actually Elizabeth Banks in the beginning? I sure as hell didn’t. I mean…

…does ^that^ look like Elizabeth Banks? (The correct answer here is no.)

She was just so dang…awkward. Why the heck was she so prim and proper, being a representative from District 12. Maybe that is explained in the book, but it made no since to me here. Her character kind of makes sense if the intent was to use her as comic relief, but she was in far too many deadpan serious situations for that to be the case. Now Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) made a lot of sense in his role. He’s risen to a state of celebrity based on his previous victory so it makes sense for him to LOOK proper. It is obvious though that the competition and the discrepancy between his new life in the higher districts and his previous life in District 12 has jaded him, so his cavalier attitude towards the competition fits well for his character.

It is always a risky maneuver going with an untried and untested actor/actress, but they scored with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). She played the part of the reluctant heroine to a T. I believed here every expression, and I hung on her every word. There’s not much that I can say about her performance aside from bravo.

It was a good flick, but I think that based on my previous rating history, I need to expand my grading scale to get more diverse ratings, so…

The Hunger Games: 8 out of 10

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

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Comments
  1. Miko S. says:

    I didn’t really like Peeta that much either. He just seemed like a lovesick pest or something. *is harsh* But that’s probably his character. I guess I’ll find out when I read the books. Effie Trinket, I don’t think she’s really part of District 12. I think she’s from the Capitol hence the way she dresses. It matches the other people from that area, but I could be wrong. I also think they did amazing with casting and sure as hell happy that the casting director did not regret her choices after all the backlash comments about Cinna, Rue, & Thresh. >O Otherwise, very good review! You should do more.

    Also, I don’t think there was any real spoilers here. ^^

  2. Outlaw says:

    Yea, despite my reservations about Peeta, I think it was a character thing, and not a casting thing. I loved Cinna! Who knew that Lenny Kravitz could act? He did great!
    Never understood the backlash about Cinna/Rue/Thresh. Supposedly it says in the book that they were “dark skinned”. Why is anybody upset when they turn out that way in the movie too.

    I’ll definitely do more reviews. I just get so wordy and long-winded in them. I mean, I almost feel sorry for anyone that made it all the way through my ME3 review.

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