THE HUNGER GAMES [2012] movie review

March 24, 2012 · Print This Article

I have never felt more fear for a character than I did for Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in THE HUNGER GAMES.  By the moment she was about to enter the games, I felt petrified for her.  Director Gary Ross allows ample, ample time to build up to the games themselves and being totally unfamiliar with the story, I had no idea when that calm before the storm was going to end and all hell would break loose.  Likewise, once in hell I did not know how the story would play out and was constantly surprised.  THE HUNGER GAMES is riveting and must be seen in a theater, preferably an IMAX theater.

I think 2012 could be a singular year for movies now already with THE GREY and THE HUNGER GAMES.

I am sure reading the HUNGER books must be a great experience and I probably ruined that by seeing the movie first, but it did allow me to have one of my best ever in theater experiences.  I do not see movies in theaters much anymore, but HUNGER has made me realize I really need to.  Then again, not every movie is a masterpiece like HUNGER is.

Again, I knew very little of the story, having only barely heard the words “hunger” and “games” in a title before.  That pairing fascinated me though.  What definition of hunger do they mean?  What is the game?  I am not even sure I knew it was to be a game to the death before seeing the movie.

From the first frame my survival instinct was at 100% and defiance coursed through my body.  Watching HUNGER was a visceral experience for me.  I am glad I sat in a row with an aisle before it with no one in any of the seats beside me because I moved in my chair often, body tensed.

It is difficult to write about the movie itself rather than my experience watching it.  I was totally drawn into the world created on screen.  Only pieces of it are revealed, just enough to give the viewer an impression without force feeding the morals.

I have never seen a greater contrast of decadence with death before on screen.  Again, this was done with just the right touch.  Rich look upon the poor as they kill themselves for the rich’s entertainment.  One does not need to be heavy handed to rile the audience when that is the central theme of the story you are telling.

There was an uprising, and the punishment for it by the government was severe.  The land was divided into twelve districts, each increasingly more destitute.  Katniss comes from the last, the 12th.  The rough country there taught her hunting skills though.  Every year a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are taken as “tribute” to play in the Hunger Games, where they kill each other until only one is left.  Like life on the outside, the game too is titled in favor of the more well off districts.

I do not know how none of them were more defiant, refusing to play along to the pageantry before the start of the game.  I would not give interviews, or if I did they would involve so much cursing and cursing of the people watching I doubt I would get more than a few seconds on screen.

The relationship between the characters grows throughout the movie.  As things approach the deadly time, no emotion goes unexpressed.

THE HUNGER GAMES is a very powerful movie, it is a movie that you experience physically, it is a movie that I will not forget.

–the one thing driving me crazy through the movie though was trying to remember the Japanese movie’s name from a few years ago with a very similar storyline of teens forced to fight to the death, then of course as I was steps from my car after the movie, boom, the title came to me, BATTLE ROYALE.

UPDATE March 25, 2012

I saw a 10:20pm showing on Friday night, which ended around 1am Saturday.  After I got home and wrote and published my review here, I finally got to bed about 2am.  I proceeded to dream about the movie the whole night, even being in the games and in the cave with Katniss.  I have spent the entire weekend thinking of the movie and listening to the soundtrack, especially “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift, the song that plays over the end credits of the movie.  Haunting.  I have ordered The Hunger Games paperback and cannot wait to start reading it Thursday night and fill in all the details the movie could not include.

If THE HUNGER GAMES had come out in 2011 I would have put it right at the top of my Ten Best list for the year, by a good distance.


5 Responses to “THE HUNGER GAMES [2012] movie review”

  1. on March 25th, 2012 12:40 AM

    Great to hear it’s so good- loved the books, and the trailer looked very promising- definitely showcasing some of the tension you describe. IMDB doesn’t even have a release date for Japan yet though, so we may be waiting a while…


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Since I have not read the book, I cannot say how that would have effected my movie going experience already knowing the story. I can say not knowing the story at all, especially if the movie would even end with the end of the Hunger Games (I thought it might continue through the entire trilogy), even two days later I still hold it as one of my top 5 all time in theater movie experiences.

    I hope Japan gets it soon because this definitely needs to be seen in a theater. I got to see it in an IMAX theater to boot, and the sound was just pulverizing and totally engrossed the viewer.


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