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The Hunger Games Sees Jennifer Lawrence Emerge as a True Heroine

Posted on the 30 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
The Hunger Games sees Jennifer Lawrence emerge as a true heroine

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

Once in awhile, an actress comes along, transcends and makes a lasting impression. This is exactly what Jennifer Lawrence does with her portrayal of ‘Katniss Everdeen’, the lead character in The Hunger Games, the movie adaptation of the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins. Lawrence’s skillful depiction of heroine Katniss’s bravery, beauty and archery skills are unforgettable; she’ll forever be remembered as Katniss, “the girl on fire”.

But Lawrence isn’t the only reason why The Hunger Games works so well, and why the film has rightfully raked in $163 million and counting.

In The Hunger Games, Katniss lives in Panem, a post-apocalyptic North American society that hosts the titular Hunger Games, an annual festival of bloody entertainment. Each year, two contestants, a boy and girl aged 12 to 18, are chosen from the 12 Districts to participate in the barbaric games, conducted largely for the amusement of rich city dwellers of the Capitol. The game only ends when a single survivor remains.

In the 74th Games, Katniss, from an impoverished coal-mining District, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place and leaves behind her best friend and hunting partner, Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  Katniss, though a skilled hunter, faces a dangerous path to victory, dodging monstrous fireballs, mutant dogs, and killer wasps. But in the midst she finds ally and possibly more: Her District’s other contestant is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), who has quietly loved Katniss for years. Will Katniss play upon her romance with Peeta as a survival strategy – the Games’ Committee wants a “good show” and that’s the sort of thing sponsors and viewers love – or is she genuinely falling for him? And what about Gale, who’s watching the live TV broadcasts?

Director Gary Ross’s (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) unique choice of actors and location makes this film a remarkable success. Ross delivers in every aspect: creativity, action, emotions and thrills, along with his rendering of the book’s genetically altered species, making viewing the film a surreal experience. Hutcherson’s portrayal of Peeta is extraordinarily appealing, and he puts in a mesmerizing turn that rightfully earned him the CinemaCon’s breakthrough performer of the year award.

Collins, who wrote the book, also adapted the screenplay; her storytelling is unparalleled as she transforms her novel into a cinematic reality. Audiences are drawn into Katniss and Peeta’s incredible chemistry, and fans who have read the novel will leave theatres with a better insight into the games and the poverty faced by Districts residents.

That said, not every element in the film is a triumph, especially as compared to the enormously successful book. The film’s pacing starts off too slowly, though it picks up as it moves along. Several crucial elements of the novel didn’t make the cut; for instance, the origin of the Mockingjay pin, the symbol emblazoned across movie posters and the cover of the book, is more plausible in the book than it in the movie. And without having read the book, I would’ve never guessed it’s meant to be a love triangle. Gale, Katniss’s hunter friend from back in the District, is likeable but not memorable, and is eclipsed by Katniss and Peeta’s budding romance.

The Hunger Games is a story of survival and betrayal, and its conclusion is sure to leave the audience tantalized – which makes it worth seeing a second time.

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