Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

The 2012 year of cinema has started off fantastically. It began with a hilarious and raunchy comic hit and now delivers an anticipated mainstream phenomenon. It is very rare to see a mainstream book adaptation, with a huge fan base, be made into a truly moving, intense, and crafty film. Mainstream cinema should always feel like this. I am sure many readers if this have read the books but I still do not want to spoil anything. I unfortunately, have not set aside the time to read "The Hunger Games" and give a completely unbiased viewpoint that perhaps a purist fan would have. I was skeptical when walking into this movie knowing it would resemble "Battle Royale."  However, once the film started I completely forgot all of this.This film takes an entirely different angle then my Japanese favorite does. "The Hunger Games" has to do more with emotion and feeling and how inhumane the whole situation is. I admit I teared up quite a few times throughout the film. Even if I could somewhat predict the way the story would go I still got choked up. The material is done with such great execution that you are just completely submerged into the story. Jennifer Lawrence does fantastic. She give an incredibly powerful performance that I do not think any other actress could have delivered. She embodies the character of Katniss and takes it to new heights. You will likely recognize many A-list actors when you watch this film and they all put their best foot forward. Standouts include Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz. They all take the little time they have in this abridged script and really work with it. In these kinds of adaptations where there is so much going on that is needed to be fit in, it is really hard to make time for character development. This film succeeds in completing that task and makes the movie that much more powerful. It really makes all the difference in the world. All of the unrecognizable actors and no names do a fantastic job. Josh Hutcherson from "The Kids Are All Right" does great as does Amandla Stenberg. The cinematography is done well by using a number of unique camera angles mixed in with POV's and reality t.v. like camera shots. It adds to the intensity of the graphic violence that seems to last a long time. The movie is not incredibly violent but may be a little surprising for a PG-13. Let's just say blood is shown. To sum it all up the story is what really makes all of this great.  Suzanne Collins is clearly a great storyteller and her screenwriters did a great job adapting her wonderful work. The movie is all you want in a mainstream action flick and more. It raises deep societal questions along with making challenges on humanity itself. It is extremely intense and emotional and if you do not feel anything after this film is over you probably do not have a soul. This movie is great fun for the entire family, I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to see what  the rest of 2012 has to offer.

5 out of 5 Stars

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