The Hunger Games (first book in a best selling YA trilogy) is set in a dystopian future in which the country is divided into 12 prison like districts. Every year, to remind people of how powerful they are, the government holds a lottery to select two kids (or tributes) per district to participate in a gladiatorfest that not only is televised, but looks pretty much like any other reality TV competition show out there. At times, I thought Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Anyways, out of 24 children, only one will be deemed the victor.
People keep trying to explain the vast success of the books saying it’s an parable to high school and that kids connect because they feel victimized and victorious, like Suzanne Collins has a magical teen wand or something. That didn’t sound right. I didn’t read the books, but I like the commentary on how obsessed society is with looks and celebrities and neglects other major issues we have to solve, rather than waste our lives watching TV. That been said, I’m not a fan and the movie didn’t help.
The Hunger Games, the movie, which is breaking all kinds of box office records and should catapult the careers of Jennifer Lawrence and the director Gary Ross, is not really satisfactory. Like I said, I didn’t read the book, so my first impression is that everything is a little too campy. I know the books are more gory and horror like, but in the movie you barely see any blood, let alone anyone dying. Which is understandable from a commercial point: Gary Ross had the task of transforming the gory source material into something suitable for the young demographic of the books, thus, no blood, and lots of gimmicks.
That’s the main problem of the movie, it’s too gimmicky. There’s just so many shots with a handheld camera and blurry close ups that you can hardly tell what the hell is going on, but you are sure to get a lot of motion sickness, which, if you are into it, it just adds up to its awesome factor.
Kudos to Jennifer Lawrence who owns Katniss Everdeen and gives her that blue stillness in her eyes, that at the same time shows her grief and her hardcoreness. She’s by far, the best part of the movie, since everything else seems to be compacted and watered down, at least she was given enough room to shine.
Gary Ross makes a lot of effort into transforming whatever the Hunger Games are into the Not So Hungry Games, but, as I said, he made enough cuts to make sure all the family can root for the killing of 20 or so kids and you leave the theater feeling like everything is going to be OK. Which, from what I hear, is not the same feeling you are left when you close the book cover. Go figure.