he Hunger Games is a good film. It is not a great film, ed it is not a classic film but it is a good film. Using your powerful perceptive skills you can probably read the surprise behind this statement but surely that’s understandable?
Everything indicated that The Hunger Games was going to be the next Twilight; it was another adaptation of a teen novel where the “pretty-but-not-too-pretty” teenage heroine gets stuck in a love triangle and inexplicably every handsome chap she makes eye contact with on the bus falls irrevocably in love with her.
Nobody (except the die-hard fans) could have expected that The Hunger Games would make such a good film. A successful film – yes, malady but a good film? Who saw that coming? Turns out fans were right all along.
Imagine Japanese cult-classic Battle Royale with added Hollywood-style romance, treat glossy hair and a touch of leg waxing and you’ve got The Hunger Games.
The film is set in a dystopian future America where the twelve “districts” of Panem pay tribute to the ruling “Capitol” by packing off a gang of teenagers every year to battle to the death on live television.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to be her district’s female tribute in place of her little sister and finds herself heading off to the games (and certain death) alongside Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta but leaving behind her handsome friend Gale.
This is a world where children are forced to kill each other for sport and Lenny Kravitz runs around in gold eyeliner giving out make-overs. The look of the Capitol, a futuristic city is nothing new but District Twelve, where our heroine hails from, is beautifully portrayed, contrasting new technologies with the essence of the Deep South.
There is a great supporting cast with Woody Harrilson and Elizabeth Banks giving it socks in wigs but it is the two young leads who steal the show vying for your affection as you try and pick which one you hope survives.
Lawrence gives an amazing performance, ensuring Katniss comes across as hard but not unfeeling, with no hesitations about killing, focussing only on her need to survive and to protect her family.
Katniss is a hunter, a warrior and she takes no prisoners. When Peeta expresses his hope to remain true to himself and his beliefs throughout the games, Katniss replies “I can’t afford to think like that”.
The film doesn’t shy away from the fact that children are dying. There will be violence and Katniss understands this.
Despite his charm and innocence, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta seems an odd choice at first for a romantic lead, he’s still quite baby-faced and known mainly for his roles in kid’s films.
He is hardly a heart-throb, whereas Robert Pattinson in Twilight made everyone from your pre-teen sister to your Great-Auntie Maisie fall in love with him, Hutcherson is the type of boy Great-Auntie Maisie will be offering sweets to. Your pre-teen sister might still like him though.
Happily Liam Hemsworth (younger brother of Chris “Thor” Hemsworth) turns up as Gale, Katniss’ jealous friend from home, with a face so beautiful poor old Maisie may have to hobble off for a lie-down.
The Hunger Games has brilliant performances and a great premise which sends us off questioning the future of reality television and the multiple ways in which the media is manipulating us. Despite this it is restricted by its young fan-base and never quite lives up to its own hype, it’s never violent, viscous, tragic or romantic enough. Apparently there are three more films on the way and hopefully they’ll be able to make the transition from a good film to a great one.
Aifric Ni Ruairc