Mar 23 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

I haven’t read The Hunger Games, and haven’t really paid attention to the book series. I had the barest concept of the story from The Baby, who liked the first book, was cool to the second, and hated the third. So I had pretty much no expectations going in. I only went because the girls wanted to go to the midnight showing, and I had Friday off work.

The movie was amazing.

The concept is that in a dystopian indeterminate future, there was an uprising that was quashed by the world government. Every year since, 74 years running, they select two teens–one male, one female–from each of the empire’s 12 districts to compete to the death until a single winner is crowned.

Parental Info:

  • Sex: nonexistent.
  • Language: I counted three swear words.
  • Violence: realistic, unglamorized, but not gratuitous

Go see it.

 

Spoilers follow:

 

You might wonder how they can tell a story aimed at teens and tweens about teens killing each other (apart from the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Harry Potter) and keep it from glorifying killing. Really well, actually. The movie has a good share of violence, but it’s not what you expect from a typical Hollywood movie about people forced to kill one another for sport. The violence is ugly. There are no witty rejoinders or bad puns or catchphrases uttered as your opponent dies. Ugly things happen.

The movies avoids so many clichés. The lead character is Katniss Everdeen, a late teen girl who uses a bow to hunt game to feed her impoverished family. With so many other movies, having a female lead means she is either, as my daughters succinctly pointed out,  1) an independent woman who doesn’t need a man or 2) really needy, or 3) an independent woman who doesn’t need a man–until she gets one–and then she is needy. Also, she should be ridiculously hot.

Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is attractive, but she doesn’t look like a supermodel. She just looks very real. Her character is strong, smart, tough, caring, and a little socially awkward. She acts very real.

There is a romantic relationship in the movie–kind of. There were so many clichés that they could have fallen into with the relationship, but chose not to. Even though the couple seem close, things are a little ambiguous, and there are hints that some other things are irreparably altered because of the relationship.

The entire movie was excellent. The camerawork, the music, the production design, the acting. I was really surprised to enjoy it, and enjoy it so much.

However, because it avoids so many common pitfalls that could have really turned this into every other action and romance flick, I wonder how well it will do at the box office.

Here’s hoping it does.

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