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The Hunger Games

April 21, 2020

The Hunger Games (2012)
Director: Gary Ross
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' review: dystopia done right | The ...

Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a teenager from the impoverished District 12, takes her little sister’s place in the cruel ‘Hunger Games’ – a televised event where youngsters from the twelve districts of Panem fight to the death until only one remains.

Review: The ultimate in fan service and product delivery, The Hunger Games is a strictly workmanlike exposition of the events of its novel. It doesn’t leave any room for virtuosity and is about as literal and unsurprising a visual realisation of the story as you can get. I guess that anonymity of tone shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when the scenario of the novel is itself an amalgam of other, largely better, sci-fi/dystopian stories: Battle RoyaleThe Running ManBlade Runner, and The Fifth Element were the ones that immediately sprang to mind.

There is a touch more of a focus on the overall politics of Panem – a short sequence shows the riots in District 11 after Rue is killed – although that perhaps betrays the producers’ intent to nail down the interconnected threads of the novels that they, themselves, will roll out over a four-film series.

Even the action sequences which are probably the most gripping aspects of the novel are filmed disappointingly. Firstly, to court the family audience, there is literally no gore or violence despite that being one of the raison d’êtres of the game itself. And the scenes themselves are shot with a perpetually jerky handheld camera and with jarring cuts. This feels less like an attempt to create a disorientating feel, but more to masquerade the difficulty director Gary Ross had in filming the fight and action scenes authentically. (April 2020)

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