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.