run time: 142 mins
considered: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
director: Gary Ross
starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Willow Shields, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg, Donald Sutherland
movie summary: Sometime in the near future the country of Panem has a rebellion which forces the capital city to divide the lands into 12 districts. In a brutal form of punishment for the rebellion, each year the districts must offer up two of their brightest teenagers to compete in the annual Hunger Games which is a fight to the death. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Laurence) will take her sister’s place among the tributes to survival the Games and stand up against the President.
Every boy and girl between the age of 12 and 18 are entered into a draw to represent their district at the Hunger Games. District 12 is by far one of the poorest of the districts and has managed only one winner in the past 73 Hunger Games tournaments. Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is selected at random to be the girl tribute from the distract, but her sister Katiness volunteers herself in her sister’s place. She gets on stage and hopes her crush and best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) is selected but instead the much weaker Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is chosen. Together the pair are ushered off stage where they meet Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) and Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who will be their mentors on the journey to the Capital city and training for the Hunger Games.
Katiness is a very quiet person who has a go-it-along mentality, while Peeta has no clue how to survive so spends most of the time asking questions. The pair enter into training sessions where if they score good marks, they can win over sponsors who will help them survive the games. Peeta scores low marks while Katniss shows her rebellious side to score the highest ranking of the tributes. In preparation for the games, each tribute is also showcased on tv show, where Peeta professes his love of Katniss. She flips on him backstage while Haymitch and Effie point out that the audiences will eat up the love angle of the district 12 tributes so she reluctantly agrees to go along with the plan. When it is her turn to go on stage, costumer designer Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) provides Katniss with a dress that twirls and catches on fire. She loves the concept and so do the audience members who nickname her the “Girl on Fire.”
When the 74th Hunger Games start Katniss is able to snag the bow and arrow set while out running away from other attackers. In the first ten minutes more than half the tributes are dead leaving a handful to form a group to hunt the number one target, Katniss. She makes her away across the forest until she reaches the end of the battle zone. The people in control of the games start a forest fire to push her in the direction of other tributes to make for some entertaining tv. She manages to get away from the group, who has enlisted Peeta as a guide, to find a place to hide in the trees. Soon the other tributes find her and make camp at the base of the tree she is in. Katniss gets some help from a sponsor before knocking down a tracker jacket nest that forces the tributes to flee for their life.
She gets injured from cutting the nest down so district 11’s Rue (Amandla Stenberg) helps Katiness recover from her wounds. Peeta has broken away from the other tributes because he is badly injured and goes into hiding. Katniss stumbles across him and the pair kindle a little romance for the viewers to get some medical supplies to help heal their wounds. Katniss offers to go back to the starting point to try to find more supplies, which leads to another attempt on her life which she is able to escape from again. The couple spend a few days in a cave getting healthier to go find the other tributes and end the games. As night begins to fall, the game creators unleash a pack of wild dogs to chase all the tributes back to the starting point where one final epic battle can take place and the winner of the 74th Hunger Games can be crowned.
my thoughts: I’d be the first to admit I usually get all caught up in the teenage movies that hit the big screen but I was never a fan of Jennifer Lawrence until last year so I passed on the Hunger Games…for three months. I remember finally buying a ticket to see it and was like this isn’t that bad. Since then I have bought the first movie, the book series, and loved the second movie, Catching Fire.
The first Hunger Games movie will not be for everyone, it features a whole lot of character and storyline build up and lacks any kind of real action sequences when the games actually start. There are a lot of moments when nothing is going on, Katniss spends the majority of her time hiding and scouting out the lands. In an effort to make this happen the writers had to kill the majority of the characters at the beginning because who wants to be distracted with 24 different stories. Of course to sell books and fill seats a love triangle is thrown into this suppose action packed series to woo the younger generations to go see it and love it. Katniss is torn between her best friend Gale and the dead weight of her district 12 team Peeta. She does what she has to do to survive even though her heart is somewhere else.
The supporting cast of characters includes knowledgable yet cautious Woody Harrelson, the crazy dressed Elizabeth Banks, the graceful Lenny Kravitz, the over zealous Stanley Tucci, the tactical Wes Bentley, and the powerful Donald Sutherland. These great cast members all have their important parts in the story both now and in the future, while Katniss does her best to survive against all odds.
Any fan of the Hunger Games book series will love the introduction onto the big screen, where the franchise has shown it has potential to be great in the upcoming film adaptions. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, it is available on Netflix.
my star rating: 6 out 10
imdb.com: 7.3 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 84% out 100%