"We wish you Happy Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor. "
The Hunger Games have begun and the odds are definitely in director Gary Ross`s favor as he has managed to adapt Suzanne Collins`s bestselling novel really well to the big screen. Ross has delivered a highly entertaining post apocalyptic, sci-fi, action, romantic thriller. Most fans will be satisfied with this film because it is truly entertaining and has a little bit of everything for those people who are looking for action, or for those who are more interested in the romantic story, and so on. It also has a great cast and the lead performance from Jennifer Lawrence is just brilliant. She captures the ideal female heroine who we all want to root for. She is truly the girl on fire. It comes as no surprise since Lawrence blew us all away with her performance in a small independent film called Winter`s Bone. She has already turned into a true star and proves she can have a lead role in what looks to be a very successful trilogy. The rest of the cast is also pretty interesting as you have great actors like Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, and Donald Sutherland, along with young talented actors like Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Alexander Ludwig. They`ve really done justice to the characters that were created by Collins, and I can`t forget to mention Lenny Kravitz who was also excellent as Cinna. As good as all these actors were, Jennifer Lawrence was above par and she really delivered the story and brought a lot of heart to her character. A great deal of the success this movie is having can be owed to her remarkable performance as Katniss.
Suzanne Collins has created a very creative new futuristic world with some common elements from the past. The United States doesn`t exist as a country anymore, but it is divided into twelve districts which are all controlled by the Capitol. The name of the country is Panem, and the further away the districts are from the Capitol the poorer its people. The wealthiest families live in the Capitol and in order to control the districts and avoid another uprising they have created the Hunger Games, which consists of selecting two teenagers (one male and another female) from each district and have the 24 teens face off one another until only one survivor remains. They force the entire nation to watch these games and it has become a popular sporting event, kind of like the Roman Empire did with the gladiators, except that the arena is much bigger as they have the wilderness to hide in. This serves as a reminder of what happens when the districts rebel against their capitol and at the same time it keeps the districts fighting amongst themselves so they won`t form any alliances to try to begin a revolution. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in the 12th District along with her little sister and mother. She is a hunter and is excellent with the arch. Her best friend is Gale (Liam Hemsworth). When the elections for the 74th Hunger Games take place, Katniss`s younger sister is selected, but she takes her place instead as a tribute. The other member selected from the 12th District is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who is very strong and has a secret crush on Katniss. Together they must face the rest of the tributes with the help of their trainer, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), the sole Hunger Game winner from their district in its 74 year history. The favorites are always the tributes from the first two districts because they have been raised all their lives to be prepared for these games. Cato (Alexander Ludwig) from the 1st District and who is sadistic in nature is their biggest threat.
Once the Hunger Games begin the audience is immediately submersed into the story and Katniss`s struggle for survivor. The story is really well told and there are plenty of thrills and suspense for the audience to enjoy. The two and a half hour long movie has such a quick pace that by the end it will seem like you were only in there for an hour. The games are really that interesting and have you at the edge of your seat for almost the entire movie. I really enjoyed the pacing of this film along with the performances. It is hard to get a lot of character development with a movie that has so many things going on and that focuses almost entirely on Katniss, but we really do grow to care for several of these characters that have to face off each other. Of course there is no time to really know all 24 of them, because the story centers on Katniss and Peeta. There is sort of a love triangle going on, but the film really doesn’t delve in too deep with it. We will probably have more of that in the upcoming sequels, but most of the scenes involving Katniss don’t have to be spelled out for us. She delivers such a great performance that we can hear what she`s saying without ever having to say anything. We can read what she`s saying through her eyes alone. When I heard about the story I thought this was going to be a violent film, but it really doesn’t focus on the violence as much as it does on surviving. I really enjoyed every second of this film and it is my favorite film of the year so far.