DVD Reviews

DVD Review – The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Gamesis a science fiction action film based on the books of Suzanne Collins of the same name. Starring the recent Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence as the tenacious Katniss Everdeen, the film follows her incredible journey as she fights for her life in horrifying circumstances.

The Hunger Gamesis set in the futuristic dystopian nation of Panem which consists of a Capitol city and twelve districts who due to a rebellion on the Capitol in previous years must now sacrifice their own as punishment. Each year, a representative from the Capitol comes to each of the districts for ‘The Reaping’ where two children aged between twelve and eighteen are selected to represent their district in the annual Hunger Games. Primrose Everdeen, the younger sister of our protagonist Katniss, is selected as the female representative but Katniss nominates herself in her place knowing that her sister wouldn’t survive. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is the male nominee and the two travel to the Capitol where they receive training and recognition for the event that is about to possibly end their lives. To the people of the Capitol, the Hunger Games is like the Olympics. It’s a huge event and everyone gets very excited about seeing the ‘tributes’ as they are paraded and interviewed like celebrities. The trick to surviving the Hunger Games is making sure the people like you, if you are favoured then people watching on TV at home can send food, medicine and various survival kits if you need them. Katniss and Peeta meet and train with the rest of the tributes and suss out their competition, some are fierce and some are weak. After significant guidance from Haymitch Abernathy, a previous winner of the Hunger Games (Woody Harrelson) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), Katniss and the rest of the tributes are sent up into an extravagant artificial forest where they must fight until to the death and the one remaining survivor will be the victor.
A few of the eager tributes die in the first few minutes at the ‘Cornicopia’ a structure which consists of food, medicine and weapons which everyone runs at all at once. It very quickly descends into a huge blood bath as people get hold of weapons. Katniss grabs a rucksack and a bow and arrow from the pile and disappears into the forest, dodging her competition. She watches up a tree as the deaths of tributes are announced by a canon. The creators of the Hunger Games liven things up a bit for her when they start a huge forest fire to divert her into the path of the hunters and set wild bear like dogs on her trail. Luckily for Katniss, she has won the hearts of the viewers and they send medicines for her when she is injured. With thousands of people willing her to survive and a select few willing her to die, Katniss’ survival depends solely on her survival abilities and skills as an archer. Will she reign victorious? Or will she succumb to the Hunger Games tomb?
The plot may sound familiar and comes also in the form of the Japanese action-horror film Battle Royale where school children are put on an island to fight until the death, however, don’t be fooled. This film is incredibly violent, very disturbing in places and despite one main plot point being similar, they are very different films to be enjoyed on very separate levels. I would recommend The Hunger Games to most but to those of you with a strong stomach and the correct date of birth you could give Battle Royale a shot. I have warned you though. The Hunger Games has also come under scrutiny from various people remarking on how it promotes an unhealthy body image, certain unfair perceptions of race and a likening to the true life tory of the controversial figure Kony who created his own army of children who would kill each other.
Despite its criticisms and it being banned in Vietnam (suprisingly) The Hunger Games is an entertaining watch whether you know the outcome or not and some of the tributes fall foul of some pretty gruesome deaths. The futuristic hairstyles and clothes much resemble those of older science fiction films like The Fifth Element and the contrasting wealth of the Capitol and the Districts surreptitiously underlines how bleak life is for these children. It feels like the role of Katniss was made for Jennifer Lawrence who perfectly adapts to the strong and feisty character readers of the books will recognise. With familiar faces cropping up along the way – Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland – The Hunger Games triumphs as a different take on the bleak, dystopian future that directors all across the board seem to believe is in store for us. Hopefully we won’t be nominating our young to go to a big fake forest and kill each other though…
Why not borrow The Hunger Games from the Information Store? You will find it in the DVD Zone shelved at 791.43 H! It’s a great film to watch with friends or on your own!
Further Reading in the Information Store:
We’ve got the whole series of The Hunger Games books in the book zone, so why not get ahead before the next film is released! You will find The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay shelved at 823.92COL.
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