Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Hunger Games" A Treat for Fans

Three Stars

The highly anticipated movie “The Hunger Games”, based on the bestselling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins, is a well made, dystopian thriller that takes place in a grim future. Teenagers have been standing on line for this film, not unlike the “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” movies. However, what makes “The Hunger Games” unusual is its lack of escapism. It’s a dystopian science fiction as opposed to a fantasy.  No one wants to be on a train to the Hunger Games, but everyone would like to go to Hogwarts or have a boyfriend like Edward. Instead, “The Hunger Games” presents a dystopian instead of fantastical story. If “Harry Potter” takes us to a magical place, “The Hunger Games” takes us to a bitter and cold one. 

Our heroine is a 16 year old girl named Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). She is a hunter and hangs out with the local boy Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again, the annual Hunger Games, which is a government, mandated game show where kids kill each other.  Younger sister Primrose (Willow Shields) is entered and   Katniss volunteers in her sister’s place.

Katniss, along with a boy named Petta (Josh Hutcherson), arrive on the train and are taken away to the Hunger Games. They meet their mentor, the bitter drunken Haymitch (Woody Harrison), who won the games himself as a kid.  Then they are dumped into a forest like arena which will result in a death battle with one victor. Most of the film takes place with Katniss trying to survive with her bow and arrow. “The Hunger Games” is a bloody sport, and Jennifer Lawrence delivers an intense performance. She keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, with her bow and arrow, hoping she survives all the traps that are set.

I have to warn people with kids that there is some disturbing material. There is violence and the death of young people. However, anyone who has read the book knows this. Anyone whose read science fiction knows that dystopia is a tough place. This dystopia shows the evils of both big government and out of control media. Everyone watching the games treats death like a sporting event. What I cannot deny is that “The Hunger Games” is a well made thriller. Director Gary Ross does a good job of using a shaky camera to give the film an eerie feel.

“The Hunger Games” is a bit harsh, but for those who read dystopian novels, this is nothing new.  Those who know science fiction know that the future can be a bad place, those who are new to the genre might be shocked by the premise.  This will be food for thought. A dystopian future movie, “The Hunger Games” also has teenager romance and a dash of rebellion. If you’re a fan of the books and a teenager, this delivers. If you’re anyone else, children killing each other might not be your cup of tea.

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