Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)

Very reminiscent of The Running Man or Battle Royale, the Hunger games pits 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18 against each other in a last man standing competition.  The film is set in a dystopian near future world where people live in one of 12 districts each concerned with a distinct contribution to society, e.g food production or mining.  Once a year 2 children are selected at random from each district to compete in the Hunger Games, a competition to remind the population how lucky they are to live in this society.

The film is not just concerned with actual games themselves, there is a lot of build-up showing the training the kids go through, as well as the huge media coverage they get before they go into the arena; all very Big Brother (of the reality show variety, not 1984).  This all adds to the scope of the film, and brings in a larger cast.  Most notably is a good performance from the jaded, whisky-soaked past winner Woody Harrelson.  Stanley Tucci plays Davina Caesar Flickerman, the talk-show host who plays a large part in promoting all of the kids.  Alongside him is Toby Jones who is disappointingly underused.  It is part of this promotion of the "tributes" (as the contestants are called) that is one of the issues I had with the film.  There is a lot of chat about the "sponsors" that the tributes need to help them survive, but we never see much evidence of it. Jennifer Lawrence' character Katniss, receives a few parcels by parachute while in the game, but is that all the sponsors were about?  For all the chat it was a bit nothing really.

Lawrence was good as Katniss, from whose point of view we see the Games.  She manages to be strong-willed and determined, yet  also conveys the fear felt by the children as they are selected for the games.  Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta, the other tribute from district 12.  The romance that he has with Katniss seems to be a way to make the viewers like them more, but then it is never resolved by the end of the film.  Are they really going to stay together?  These are probably issues that may be resolved in future films (it is a trilogy of books I understand), just like I expected more of a backlash from the viewing public back in the districts after Katniss had buried the younger girl.

I did really enjoy The Hunger games; well acted, beautifully shot lush forest location, and it had a great scope.  But honestly, the most memorable thing was all the crazy hair!