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The Hunger Games (by Kat)

Posted on the 25 March 2012 by Kittyfairy @KittyFairy

The Hunger Games (by Kat)Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth
Certificate: 12A
Plot: In future America (Panem), citizens are punished, for a past rebellion by the Government (in The Capitol), by placing every 11 to 18-year-old child's name into a draw, in which one boy and one girl from each of the country's 12 districts are chosen to fight in a battle to the death, where only one child can survive.
Initial Thoughts: Whenever a film comes out that is hyped up into craziness, it is really easy to walk into the Cinema with that immense urge to walk straight back out again. Honestly, I was convinced that yet again, this was going to be one of those occurrences, that is becoming far too frequent for my liking, where the hype is just a huge let-down. Weirdly, these let-downs typically occur in films that I missed first time around, and manage to catch a long time after everyone else, so I've had longer to listen to everyone harp on about them. Recent let-downs have included Avatar and Bridesmaids. So, it was easy to figure out that going to see The Hunger Games quickly, before the hype of the fans really set in, was the only way that I was ever going to be able to watch it, without the fan hype. Because let's face it, fan hype has much bigger power than the hype whipped up by Critics.
The Hunger Games (by Kat)The Hunger Games was never going to  be perfect, because it is near-on impossible to create something that every lover of the book will adore. However, the Critics that state that this film represents exactly how film adaptations should be made, could not be more right. Indeed, to say that Gary Ross was the perfect Director for the job, is also spot-on and I don't think that anyone else could have created a film that was so close to meeting all of my expectations.
As a whole, the film was exactly what I expected it to be.
The film opened into a very dystopian and impoverished future, with vibes of the past resonating from the way of the life, to the way the citizens were being controlled, and even down to the clothes that they wore. Indeed, the clothing of District 12 reminded me a great deal of clothing from the Second World War, and during the "reaping" scenes, I couldn't help feeling a sense of Nazi Germany coming through, with the propaganda-based videos and the way the citizens were lined up and pushed around by "Peacekeepers". Indeed, the opening scenes in the Mining District, represent an unhappy future.
In comparison, The Capitol, is a City that shines and sparkles with wealth, and where high fashion is probably the most important part of life. As a result, Ross has created a  more high-tech future that is appealing and yet suitably twisted. Clothing in the City is somewhat modern, but with a craziness to it that is brighter and bolder than the outfits that we wear today.
The Hunger Games (by Kat)Initially, the shaky camera-work came across as being a little tedious, however, I very quickly forgot about it, and it didn't bother me at all. In fact, the camera-work and the angles created a film that felt like a documentary, capturing the effects of the Reaping etc, and I liked that touch.
Casting was always going to be an area that was going to worry a large portion of fans. Will Jennifer Lawrence be able to create that compassionate tough-nut that we all loved? Would character relationships be realistic, and well pieced together? But, most important, would we be able to believe that these people would survive the situations that they were placed in. And thankfully, the answer is whole-heartedly YES!
Jennifer Lawrence is barely even present, as Katniss Everdeen screams out her every pore, not only in the different hair color (Lawrence is naturally blonde), but in her mannerisms, her attitude and in the way that she interacts with certain people. It was also essential that Lawrence made Katniss likeable, otherwise it would be impossible to buy into her story, and Lawrence does not let us down. One of my favorite scenes to show Lawrence's performance, was just before she went into the Arena, when she was saying goodbye to Cinna. You could physically see Katniss' fear, as she shook with nerves, and that was special, because in Hollywood, people never really seem to experience fear in that kind of way.
As Caesar Flickerman, Stanley Tucci yet again proves the Chameleon actor that he is, adapting perfectly into the eccentric role that differs from so many of his previous ones. Woody Harrelson's Haymitch was the role that had me at my most nervous, especially following Critics describing him as playing his typical Woody Harrelson self. I, however, have to disagree. Harrelson's Haymitch was nothing like Woody (Cheers) and Tallahasse (Zombieland), and I was grateful for that.
I've read a lot of people complaining about the addition of scenes that were not in the books (the Rose Garden, the actions of the Gamemakers, and reactions from other Districts, but I loved these scenes, and felt that they brought something that was needed into the film. However, I should point out that I was one of those people that craved for those scenes in the book, because I always felt that I wanted to see Gale's reaction. So, the fact that Ross realised that desire was brilliant for me.

The Hunger Games (by Kat)I particularly feel that the added Gamemaker scenes were a great way of explaining certain aspects of what was going on in the Arena. Things that definitely needed to be explained, for the sake of anyone who had not read the books.
For me, the soundtrack is one of the most important factors and has the power to create a truly epic film. When I originally heard that Danny Elfman had been brought on board to write the score, I was a little dismayed. Not because Elfman is a bad composer, but because I didn't feel that his natural sound would fit in with the vibe that I felt The Hunger Games would need. So, I was glad to discover that James Newton Howard would instead be taking the role. And Newton Howard superbly created a score that worked so well to build atmosphere, and I appreciated the scenes that had no score, as it built up the tension and the anxiety.
Overall: I felt that this was a superb adaptation of a superb book, however it wasn't an out-and-out copy of the book, but rather Ross took the source material and made it his own. A great comparison, is Jamelia's version of "Numb", although she solely used Linkin Park's basic material (the lyrics), the song that she created was very much her own, and she has been able to enjoy a great deal of praise for that. It's easy to copy something, but it's not quite so easy to translate it into something that fits more into the genre it is needed to fit into.
Score: The acting was perfect, the setting spot-on and the amount of violence was just enough to make a point (remember the adage that what you don't see is far more intimidating than what you do see!).
I give this: 8.5/10

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