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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Movie Review - The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Sutherland
Directed by Gary Ross

Much like its book counterpart, Gary Ross's The Hunger Games is an enjoyable take on a "future America" that has become a squalid dystopian society that gets its kicks from watching teenagers battle each other to the death in a "game" set up by the government in order to keep its citizens in check.  For a franchise marketed towards teens, I give the concept credit for being something more than just a girl lovestruck with a beau.  Still, both in print and on screen, The Hunger Games is simply just a little better than average.  It too often drags and, ultimately, the final act which should have been a tense showdown lacks the necessary oomph to end things on a positive note.

The dramatic disappointments in the last hour are no fault of Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss Everdeen -- one of the chosen "tributes" who must fight in the battle to the death where only one of 24 teens will come out alive.  Lawrence certainly manages to hold your attention and is believable as both a caring sister and a tough as nails kick ass gal.  Her co-stars are also all more than pleasant to watch with Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson most impressive thanks to their eccentric roles into which they can really sink their teeth.

Somehow, though, despite a neat concept and acting that is certainly above par for your average teen pic (**cough**Twilight**cough**), The Hunger Games doesn't quite succeed because it drags too much.  The film actually starts off rather quickly and doesn't linger too long in the opening act which was rather refreshing.  Jumping right into the the story was the way to go -- within the first fifteen minutes, Katniss has been chosen as a tribute (or more fittingly, "volunteered" as tribute to save her younger sister who actually was picked to go into battle) and is on her way to The Capitol where the games will take place.  Even the moments in the second act detailing the preparation of the Games were solid and well executed.  However, once we shifted into the actual Hunger Games themselves, I couldn't help but feel like the film left a lot to be desired.  What should have been an edge-of-your-seat tense kill-or-be-killed kind of setting instead is bland and shockingly boring.

It's been said that director Gary Ross will not be helming the next movie in this series and I think that's probably a good thing.  While he certainly created a nice basis for future movies, I can't help but think that the concept deserves a little better (and I can only hope that the new director abandons the "shaky cam" look which usually doesn't bother me, but had me intensely annoyed right from the start here).  Despite my qualms about the flick, The Hunger Games is still enjoyable, but the potential was there for more and it's a bit unfortunate it didn't succeed fully.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-


  1. Jennifer Lawrence was definitely the best part. And at least the shaky cam had a purpose. Because it disappeared after the uncertainty and such that was going on in the district.

  2. I did notice that the shaky cam lessened as the movie went on...and noticeably so. However, I thought it was REALLY bad and overly obnoxious at the beginning. I remember sitting there thinking, "If this goes on like this for the whole movie, I might just get up and leave."