It’s amazing how the technology in this flick ranges from the 1800s to the control deck of the Starship Enterprise.
“The Hunger Games” is set in what can be described as a post-apocalyptic future where the country in which the story takes place is divided into 12 separate districts and one large capital city. Government workers and the richest of the population reside in the capital; the 12 separate districts are where the poorer societies live.
To keep order and peace in the country and stay in control, the government created “The Hunger Games” where one young man and woman are chosen from each district to compete in a fight-to-the-death competition. Main character, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), was not chosen to participate in the games, however, her sister was picked, and Katniss volunteered to take her place. The movie then follows Katniss’ journey of understanding the capital and competing in the hunger games.
“The Hunger Games” does a fairly good job of introducing the audience to this alternate reality and moves along at a smooth pace. For most of the film, it doesn’t feel rushed, taking time to develop characters. The climax of the story, however, did go a little too fast and lacked a certain “Luke blowing up the Death Star feel.” Plus, the ending felt a little too complete. By the end, mostly everything has wrapped up, and it left me not really needing — or even wanting — a sequel.
The acting was strong, with my favorite being Woody Harrelson, who played a charismatic character that added to the enjoyment of the film. I’ve also heard Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss just how she was portrayed in the book, which I haven’t read. That being said, she carried the role of the protagonist well and convincingly. Donald Sutherland was good as President Snow as well — a major step up from the phoned-in performance from “The Eagle” last year.
The special effects are another aspect the filmmakers got right. The high level of tech the capital was using from the aircrafts to the holographic projectors all looked great. The film was good in terms of style and setting, from the clothing to the capital city to the battle arena where the games take place — everything has a gritty, realistic feel to it.
The camera work, however, left much to be desired. For many moments of the film, the camera was shaky, which isn’t bad in small doses, but it was getting to the point of nerve-racking. Also, there were too many close up shots during the battle scenes, which made it very difficult to see who had the upper hand — let alone what the heck was going on. This really hurt the film since these moments of battle and survival seemed so integral to the story, yet could barely be seen.
“The Hunger Games” is a film that can definitely hold one’s interest, be exciting and engaging at times, however, the scenes that are supposed to show the raw survival didn’t seem very impactful and the ending was lack-luster. High 3 out of 5.
BY MATTHEW LIEDKE