The film is based off of the first book in a three part series, we follow Katniss Everdeen(Jennifer Lawrence) who lives in a post global war America, now named Panem. The country is broken apart into twelve Districts all controlled by the Capitol. Katniss volunteers to take her sisters place in the annual Hunger Games, where two children from each district are made to fight to the death for mass audiences on television. Katniss not only finds out a lot about herself but also about her fellow tribute named Peeta(Josh Hutcherson) who has been in love with her for a long time.
The books are hugely popular, 24 million copies sold in the US alone. So the film has a lot of expectations riding on it. The movie never fails really when it comes to the dark subject matter. The film is very gritty from the start. We open on District Twelve which is not a happy place. I will admit the style of the film takes may be a little distracting at first. A decent amount of shaky cam and close ups, I either got used to it, or they simply took a step back from it later on in the film.
The movie is very close to the book so fans should be happy. I read the book before seeing the film and I felt like the movie itself is made for the fans. In places where certain situations might need explaining, the movie barely attempts to do anything. The film to me is very much made for people who read the books. I have some complaints about the films take on certain things from the book but they are minor.
The cast is strong across the board. The stand out though is Jennifer Lawrence who is the perfect choice for Katniss. Without her the film would simply not be as strong. She pulled off being cold and confused, yet strong when she needs to be. When it came to being scared or in pain, Lawrence never even had to say a word to make it clear to the audience what she was feeling. The rest of the cast follows her lead Hutcherson is strong as Peeta, but it’s the minor characters that really help the movie along. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks really knocked their scenes out of the park.
It’s not all good though, with the pg-13 rating the violence always seems to only get so far. It never gets as brutal as it should. This makes the message rather confusing. The audience I saw it with never seemed to really feel for the tributes. The lack of extreme violence leaves the games themselves feeling a little weak. Then a rather large death sequence comes off as rather corny due to the rating. Also the CGI in this film is very tame in places, the Capitol looks like something we’ve seen in a syfy channel movie. There are also some creatures that show up towards the end that are not exactly that impressive.
Still besides minor problems the film over all is a great ride. The performances push the film forward, it’s also nice to see they didn’t blink when it came to the ending. Those who have read the book should know the film doesn’t blink when it comes to the vibe of the ending which is a very good thing. I hope for people only seeing the film the acting and decent action can leave people hungry for more.