Viewed – 12 September 2012 Blu-ray
One of the most talked about movies of the year … but let’s get this out-of-the-way first – Hunger Games is a complete rip-off of cult Japanese movie (and books) Battle Royale. Ah, now we can carry on. 16 year old Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes embroiled in the annual Hunger Games when she volunteers in place of her younger sister, and soon a number of children and teenagers are transported to an island with the soul intention of killing one another, with the one remaining survivor crowned champion and bestowed riches. Now, apparently the whole reason behind this barbaric ‘game show’ is to keep order amongst the twelve districts who are forced to offer up two ‘pledges’ each year as a sacrifice, following an uprising years previously that caused a brutal and bloody war.
For me the futuristic setting was somewhat ‘meh’, with the rich dressed in strange, pantomime clothing and with sneering personalities, and the poor kept in districts like peasants (how original). I also couldn’t really believe it would be allowed, by a governing law for kids to kill each other for entertainment, which felt more of cruder, medieval times than a civilized futuristic society. Thankfully director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) has put together a very stylish movie packed with drama, slightly over-edited action and a star-making turn from Jennifer Lawrence whose performance is both hugely emotional and likable, making for a very human and intriguing lead. Supporting cast including a camp Stanley Tucci and an enjoyable Woody Harrelson are interesting set dressing (less said about a sleepy Donald Sutherland, the better), but the star here remains Lawrence and the overall disturbing concept, which although not quite packing the punch of Battle Royale, still has moments of real power – especially towards the end.
It’s a tad over-hyped for what it is, and probably distasteful when all is said and done – but regardless, I still had a good time.
Verdict: 3.5 /5
- ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ begins shooting in Georgia, before moving to Hawaii (insidemovies.ew.com)
- Which Barely Recognizable Starlet Is On The October Cover Of W? (thegloss.com)
- ‘Hunger Games’: Climb with Katniss! (insidemovies.ew.com)