The Hunger Games (2012) – Review

2 Stars


The Hunger Games, based upon the best-selling novel of the same name, offers a bleak view of the future. A failed rebellion against an oppressive government results in an annual event called the Hunger Games. The twelve districts that rebelled over seventy years past are forced to give up a boy and girl to participate in a violent competition that ends when only one person is left alive.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to play in the stead of her sister. Everdeen is taken to the Capitol city where she is preened for the cameras to hype the coming bloodfest. At the appropriate time, all the contestants are let loose and the fighting begins.

I have a lot of problems with this film and the story it comes from. First, at its heart, this is a story about kids killing kids. The futuristic setting makes it palatable to audiences, but it still bothered me to watch it. The movie avoided a lot of the graphic violence that could have easily made this an R-rated film, but that doesn’t hide what is going on. I think this would have been a better film if it featured adults rather than kids but that would have required an entirely different storyline. After all, this movie is based upon a book that is aimed at young teens.

The other problem I have is the production values. Lionsgate reportedly spent $80 million on the production, but I thought the film often looked cheap. The sets were plain and lacked any definitive style or original ideas. Many of the actors wore flashy costumes with makeup and hairstyles that reminded me of bad 1970s punk.

Finally, the directing style annoyed me. Directors will use various methods of camera angles, panning, and cuts to communicate the storyline to an audience. In this film, it seemed like no one could make up their mind how they wanted to shoot the film so they combined as many different types of shooting styles as possible. For instance, in one scene, the camera slowly pans around an actor at a central point. Nothing unusual about that except that while the camera is panning, there are several quick cuts of different angles of that same actor that added nothing to the story except my desire to yell out, “Stop it!” The film reverts to this spastic montage several times. Someone please make it go away.

While this film made tremendous money at the box office and sequels are underway, I fail to see what the excitement is about.

Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson

Author Mike Chisholm is a featured writer for Moviemavericks and the founder/head writer for U.S.HistoryReport.com.

4 thoughts on “The Hunger Games (2012) – Review

  1. You’re definitely not the first person I’ve come across that feels this way about The Hunger Games. I can see where you are coming from, but honestly those aspects of the film didn’t bother me at all. I liked it for what it was, and if there was anything at all that bothered me, it was the fact that they left a few things out from the book and portrayed a few things differently. Other than that I loved it in theaters, and will be definitely be renting it again soon to watch again. I have a few coworkers at DISH who have yet to see it, so I’m going to add it to the top of my Blockbuster @Home queue, and have a little get together with them after I get it in the mail. I’m very interested in what their reactions will be. :)

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