Sunday, April 21, 2013

Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games movie poster
The Hunger Games (2012) - Directed by Gary Ross; Written by Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray; Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson.

By Kenny Howell

I never really wanted to pay to see The Hunger Games, so it's good it has finally made its way to Netflix Instant awhile back (though now it is no longer on the service). I could never really tell any difference in it, and other movies like it - The Running Man or Battle Royale - so I didn't understand the fascination with it. It's a story that has been told before.

But I found out why this was such a success. It's a toned down, more accessible version of those other two movies. It has violence, obviously, since the kids are killing each other, but it is not very graphic. Both those other movies are R rated, one is Japanese and one is from the 1980s, so this generation has no idea about it probably. Mostly because The Running Man was just a silly, but fun, B-movie. They can package The Hunger Games as edgy, thought-provoking entertainment, and not drive away the 15-year-olds that somehow like a loser named Peeta. I mean, that dude probably would have died on the first day.

But The Hunger Games is not edgy, and especially not thought provoking. The key to the movie should be the oppressed against the oppressor, but they barely spend any time dealing with those issues. I mean, this is a game where poor children must fight to the death. Yet the filmmakers could care less about that. They spend more time on the game and how the game works, Katniss' ability, or the stupid freaking costumes and facial hair, then working through the obvious issues of dictatorship and rising up. The books may go into this more, I haven't read them, but the movie barely touches it.

Also, back to Peeta, do we really give a crap about him? Why does Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) care about him? Just because they are from the same district? He slows her down, spends the majority of the movie depressed or physically hurt. Katniss should feel sorry for him more than anything, like taking care of a little brother than a love interest. She should have just told him, yeah, those berries taste good, best out here, I am going to walk over here now. But I have a feeling their relationship will become more of a focus over the next few movies.

I don't really hate The Hunger Games, I just feel nothing about it. I could care less what happens to anyone, and especially don't care these people are oppressed. When your subject is what it is, that's troublesome.

Rating: *1/2

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