“The Hunger Games” (2012) Mini-Review
I have been avoiding “The Hunger Games” for as long as possible – mainly due to my appreciation for “Battle Royale” and a belief that “The Hunger Games” is highly unoriginal next to that work. Yet, the time came that I had to be exposed to the film. I had low hopes going in, and the film itself did little to raise my opinion.
- The Cast (Part 1) – Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress (she surprised me with her talent in “Winter’s Bone”), and she certainly made the most out of what she was given in this film. The writing and plot were both “meh”, but Lawrence uses her talent to put forth as good of a performance as possible with the material she was given. Woody Harrelson, as well, does a good job as usual. The inclusion of Lenny Kravitz gave me a laugh as well (maybe that’s not a good thing).
- The Plot (Part 1) – I know I just mentioned that the plot was “meh”, but there were some pieces that had some promise. The idea of “sponsors” for the event was an interesting idea, and I think the economy behind the games was worth exploring deeper (though that didn’t happen).
- Cinematography – The actual visuals of the movie varied from impressive to bland. The stark contrast between the Capitol and the Districts was captured well, and the environment for the Games was nice as well. However, the actual look of the Capitol population was off-putting, and the Games themselves were bland. To me, none of the scenes had any major emotional impact, at least nowhere near what they seemed to be trying to accomplish.
- The Plot (Part 2) – The plot follows (or “borrows”, depending on which side of the fence you are on) many of the things that made “Battle Royale” great. This made for a successful formula for “Battle Royale”, but here, many of the pieces just don’t have the same impact. Yes, the Games themselves have some interesting pieces and twists, but the plot on the whole remains underwhelming and poorly crafted (see below).
- The Plot (Part 3) – Having mentioned the better parts of the plot, I must say that those pieces never go anywhere. We are fed all this information about the absolute need for sponsors, but the whole idea is suddenly abandoned, and we are jarringly thrown into the Games, throughout which sponsors never play a part. This is not to mention the fact that for all the back story and lore that the film tries to develop, little really matters – most feels like swiss cheese, with holes in the back story that leave the viewer with more questions than answer. There is a severe lack of a cohesive back story at any point in the film. Further, the ending feels like a complete cop-out – it removes what would be the largest, most-interesting conflict in the film.
- Soundtrack – Ummmm….. I didn’t notice a single compelling part to the music in the film – so unmemorable, that I can’t even recall if the majority of the film had any kind of musical work.
- The Cast (Part 2) – For all the talent in the leading lady, the rest of the Tributes lack the talent of the aforementioned actors. The script may have played a role, with plenty of cheesy lines and scenes, but I still couldn’t help feeling that Josh Hutcherson and others could’ve done better.
Let’s be frank, “The Hunger Games” is no “Battle Royale”. The film looses its bearings trying to develop a back story that never becomes fully realized, and introduces what seem to be crucial parts of the story, only to abandon them like they never existed. Yet, the film remains an entertaining experience. Taken on its own, without comparisons, it can be a decent watch. Just understand that with all the interesting ideas and scenes, you get equal parts of poor plot development and sappy character interactions.
Final Score: 6/10