Why did I watch it?
I had never heard of the Hunger Games series prior to the film coming out, proof if needed that I'm obviously not a 'young adult anymore! the other half came in with this the other day so I gave into the hype and gave it a go.
What's it all about?
Set in a fictional American dystopian future, a new nation called Panem is divided into 12 distinct districts and controlled by the powerful and rich Capitol. As punishment for an uprising some years before, The Capitol organise a yearly competition known as the Hunger Games where each district must send 2 competitors, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18, known as tributes. The children are left to fight until the death until only one survives and is declared the champion.
Should you watch it?
I was largely non-fussed by The Hunger Games. Having not read the books I've no idea how the adaptation compares but as a standalone film it wasn't bad but it wasn't too great either. The story borrows elements from The Truman Show, Running Man and Blade Runner among others. I should plead ignorance in having not yet seen Battle Royale, but I'm aware that the plot is remarkably similar. The point being that the plot is not awfully original.
The directing and editing in the districts did not work for me. The shaky camera work and chop editing might have been selected to create a sense of disorganisation and panic in the districts during tribute selection but I found it too much. Another gripe I had was the use of flashbacks by Gary Ross. Flashbacks of unseen footage provide the viewer with an opportunity to see what has previously occured and can be plot aids but why did Ross choose to show flashbacks of scenes we had already seen, one in particular several times over. I clearly missed the importance of the scene.
I felt the film was dumbed down in places, definitely in terms of violence, which I can understand with this being a Hollywood production with children involved but also with some of the script. A prime example being at the end when the game organiser announces that the rules are being changed spontaneously again, It is so obvious what the rule change is going to be but yet the characters are made to listen to the full announcement with a few more seconds afterwards to digest the rammifications.
There are decent performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Allen so its far from all bad.