The Hunger Games is a Young Adult dystopian action film, directed by Gary Ross and based on the hugely popular YA trilogy of the same name, taking place in a near future America, which has been divided into 12 massive districts, subservient to a central city hub called Capitol, the capital of the districts. The film stars Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci.
As the story goes, the Capitol forcibly brings 2 children from each district, to take part in the annual hunger games, a rather twisted form of entertainment for the Capitols’ masses in which the children from all the districts compete in a game of survival, needing to outlast or kill each other to win the game itself, with only victor being able to be named at the end and thus – The Hunger Games, an annual ritualistic tournament/reality show where real peoples lives are part of the game. The Hunger Games sets up the dystopian world of the film quickly and effectively, you see the pain and emotion in the characters as their kids are taken by force to compete and this emotional punch does hit home, with the poverty and desperation of the people in the districts contrasted with the wealth and spleandor of the Capitol. And in a generally strong cast, Lawrence especially shines in the lead role and is a great fit for Katniss, embodying the characters drive to take action and actively do things differently.
The directing for the film is mostly good though the shaky cam employed in the film can be a bit jarring at times though that didn’t take me out of the film too much and the action for the most part is as frenetic and tense, with some good set pieces that are pretty few and far between. The plot works really well because it was written well by author Suzanne Collins and it translate well to screen, the pacing is good, you really get a feeling of the type of world the characters live in, in which the Hunger Games is an actual thing that exists for peoples entertainment, making you wonder what type of world would accept such a thing. In terms of the games themselves, the action is a big portion but so are the emotional beats in a few scenes, driven a lot by Katniss and her perspective on events and her relationship with Peeta, seeing things from her point of view is a great touch as we get to see her narrative and can empathise with her situation, her feelings of betrayal and sadness.
Lawrence and Hutcherson have good chemistry and bounce off each other well despite the film not portraying their relationship that convincingly. Katniss is a great character and a strong, inspirational figure played very well by Lawrence and she’s at arguably her best in The Hunger Games and less so in the sequels, going against the rules, opting to save others and fighting against authority, namely the capitol. The Hunger Games is a great entry point to the best Young adult film series out there (imo) and is a solid enough film with great pacing, good storytelling and a well crafted group of characters thrust into an exciting and thrilling but morally questionable situation.
. Good cast, great performances from Lawrence, Hutcherson
. Good execution on intriguing premise
. Shaky cam took away from action scenes
. Peeta and Katniss’ relationship isn’t conveyed as believably as it is in the books