Archive for September 18, 2012

Here is my review of “The Hunger Games” which I saw on DVD recently (Released on 3rd September 2012).  Please don’t read if you have not seen the film, spoiler alert.

I had not read the book so did not know what to expect.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where boys and girls aged 12– 18 must participate in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the “tributes” are required to fight to the death until there is one remaining victor.

The nation of Panem is formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, and consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve poorer surrounding districts. As a punishment for a previous rebellion, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by lottery (the “Reaping”) to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The participants (or “tributes”) must fight to the death in an arena until only one remains alive; the victor is rewarded with fame and wealth. In her very first Reaping, 12-year-old Primrose Everden is selected from District 12. However, her 16-year-old sister Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson), a baker’s son who once gave Katniss bread when she was starving, is the other District 12 tribute.

Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol, where (just like the X-factor) they mentored by a drunken past victor called Haymitch Abernathy (played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson). He warns them about the “Careers” from Districts 1 and 2 who have trained intensively at special academies for the Games and who almost always win.

During an interview with TV personality Caesar Flickerman, Peeta unexpectedly reveals his love for Katniss. She is initially outraged, believing it to be a ploy to gain audience support, as “sponsors” may provide in-Games gifts of food, medicine, and tools. However, she discovers Peeta meant what he said.

The Games begin with half of the tributes killed in the first few minutes; Katniss barely survives ignoring Haymitch’s advice to run away from the melee around the tempting supplies and weapons strewn in front of a structure called the Cornucopia. And just as in Big Brother, where warring contestants make short-term alliances to manage the outcome and prolong their presence in the contest, Peeta forms an uneasy alliance with the Careers Cato, Clove, Marvel and Glimmer. They corner Katniss up a tree. A young girl from District 11 named Rue, hiding in a nearby tree, draws her attention to a poisonous “tracker jacker” nest hanging from a branch. Katniss drops it on her sleeping besiegers. They all scatter, except for Glimmer, who is killed by the insects. Hallucinating due to “tracker jacker” venom, Katniss is warned to run away by Peeta. Rue cares for Katniss for a couple of days until she recovers.

The alliance has gathered all the supplies into a pile. Katniss has Rue draw them off, then destroys the stockpile by setting off the mines the group had planted around it. Furious, Cato kills the District 3 boy assigned to guard it. Rue is fatally wounded by Marvel. Katniss kills Marvel, then comforts the dying Rue. Afterward, she gathers and arranges flowers around Rue’s body. When this is televised, it sparks a riot in District 11. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) summons Seneca Crane, the Gamemaker, to express his displeasure at the way the Games are turning out.

Since Katniss and Peeta have been presented to the public as “star-crossed lovers”, Haymich is able to convince Crane to make a rule change to avoid inciting further riots. It is announced that tributes from the same district can win as a pair. Upon hearing this, Katniss searches for Peeta and finds him with an infected sword wound in the leg. She portrays herself as deeply in love with him and gains the sponsor gift of soup. An announcer proclaims a feast, where the thing each survivor needs most will be provided. Peeta begs her not to risk getting him medicine. Katniss promises not to go, but after he falls asleep, she heads to the feast. Clove ambushes her and pins her down. As Clove gloats, Thresh, the other District 11 tribute, eliminates Clove after overhearing her tormenting Katniss about killing Rue. He spares Katniss “just this time”. The medicine works, keeping Peeta mobile.

Crane unleashes a pack of hound-like creatures in order to speed things up. They get Thresh and force Katniss and Peeta to flee to the roof of the Cornucopia, where they encounter Cato.  I wont say much more and spoil the ending just in case you want to see it for yourselves.

In my opinion the effects and action sequences in the Hunger games are brilliant. And the acting is good too. On the whole it is a pretty good futurist adventure and portrays a terrifying future, but I don’t think it is as good as the hype made it up to be.  I thought it was predictable at times and felt like another “twilight”, but that’s just my opinion.

But well worth a watch. What did you think?

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