'Hunger Games' satisfies with accuracy (VIDEO)
Compelling actors, design compliment highly-anticipated film with loyalty to book
In the highly-anticipated movie version of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, a teen volunteering to take her sister's place in a dangerous game of life and death. The film, rated PG-13, runs for 142 minutes, and was released March 23.
Last night was the highly anticipated midnight release of The Hunger Games, which has finally been created into a movie based off of the book series by Suzanne Collins. The film, directed by Gary Ross, was released March 23. Similar to my camp-out experience with Harry Potter, the evening was nothing less than epic.
Before even entering the theatre, I picked up today's edition of The Fresno Bee and read the cover story about the movie, satisfied to find the film had received an 'A' grade. That was promising.
The story begins by introducing Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the primitive world which surrounds her. The world Collins creates is dismal and animalistic. After a worldwide revolution, the Capitol took power and separated all remaining people into 12 districts within Panem. The Capitol now rules definitively, and forces a boy and girl from each district to be randomly selected as tributes.
From District 12, Katniss volunteers to replace her little sister Prim (Willow Shields) in the games. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is chosen from the male candidates. The two become allies and mutually desire to defy those in power.
Only the people within the Capitol live in luxury, while the 12 districts must struggle not to starve. The 24 tributes are then carted to the capitol in order to prepare for the Hunger Games where only one child survives in a fight to the death.
The entire event is televised for all citizens to watch and be reminded to never again revolt against authority. For those within the Capitol, it serves as entertainment, as the rich bet on promising candidates. The children are merely pawns.
One of the first things I noticed was that the film did an exceptional job using the costumes, makeup and sets to create a believable atmosphere. Every one of these aspects lined up perfectly with how I visualized it while reading the book.
All of the major plot points were hit with precision, but not overly-rushed. With such an emotional and intense narrative, I was impressed with how well the screen captured depth within the story.
Though the screenplay was fairly minimalistic, the actors did a fantastic job of portraying feeling through facial expressions and minute body language. This is what truly encompassed the spirit of The Hunger Games for me, as the character interaction and story hold so much weight.
Even though a film simply cannot express the craft of words on a page, I felt the mood was kept true to the book. I was able to immerse myself in their world, following Katniss's every move as if in an impossible situation, myself.
As the plot moves quickly and pulls the audience into the world of Panem, the film hardly seemed two and a half hours long. In fact, I would not have minded if it ran longer.
Although most details served the film well, some took away from the experience. I felt that the animation studio did an inconsistent job with the CGI . At one moment it added to the atmosphere and in another it distracted me with campy-ness.
"Though the screenplay was fairly minimalistic, the actors did a fantastic job of portraying feeling through facial expressions and minute body language. This is what truly encompassed the spirit of The Hunger Games...." --Annalise Rosik, '14
Also, the use of quick and shaky camera shots for entire scenes made me dizzy. The purpose of this style of cinematography was to translate the character's confusion during an unjust occurrence. When it is tastefully done it proves effective, but in this case was simply hard to watch.
Though falling short in minor details, the film nailed nearly every defining moment within the novel. Yet overall the movie rendition produced an ample portrayal of the book. I understand the amount of effort it takes to be spot on in every realm, but, with a story this unique and creative, I wish the flaws could be tweaked.
The Hunger Games runs for 142 minutes, and is rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images -- all involving teens. For tickets and showtimes, visit Fandango.
For more film reviews, read the March 6 article, 'Lorax' encompasses zany Seuss style (VIDEO).