Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Hunger Games

Movie Name: The Hunger Games
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Toby Jones, Alexander Ludwig, Jack Quaid
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Gary Ross' new film, his third feature, is an adaptation of the immensely popular book by Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games". The film follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young girl from a poor district, that is part of an assembly of several districts ruled by a totalitarian regime. The regime demands every year the sacrifice of a young man and young girl, for their games, where they all battle each other and only one comes out alive. Katniss is a young and resourceful young woman who allies with Peeta Mellark, the young man from her district, in order for both of them to stay alive.
Suzanne Collins' book is a bleak vision of a future, where children kill each other for the entertainment of the crowds, in a massive show that is televised for everyone to see. Gary Ross directs the film trying to walk a thin line between the gruesome killings of the young kids, while maintaining the film viewable to that same age group. The film is at points brutal, but always feels underwhelming, mostly because the director is aware that he can only depict and show so much of what effectively occurs in the games. There's strangely a lack of depth to most of the characters displayed on screen, save for Katniss Everdeen, who is portrayed with a strong emotional resolution by Jennifer Lawrence. She brings the young heroine to life, more than any of the other actors, who have little to work with. This is a film that feels contrived and ultimately not as satisfactory as it could have been.