The second film I saw this past Sunday was a film that has been causing a lot of controversy. Not only because the film's content, but because it's premise is a ripoff of another film. So let me begin my review of THE HUNGER GAMES in a different way.
BATTLE ROYALE (which I just saw Friday night at the Midnites for Maniacs show). Another topic that has people's panties in a bunch is that the film focuses more about the pageantry of the games and the inevitable love triangle rather than the actual act of kids killing other kids that was shown in BATTLE ROYALE. So let me begin by repsonding to these two hot topics in a row: No and yes. There. Happy? No? Well then let me explain myself yet again.
While the film's premise sounds like Fukasaku's cult film, all similarities end right there. Now for those of you who haven't seen BATTLE ROAYLE yet, I will not be discussing a lot about the film. I will talk about what makes this film so different. The plot of the film goes like this: 74 years ago there was an uprising that nearly destroyed civilization, however it was put down. As a punishment for this rebellion against the Capitol by the districts, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery (known as the "Reaping") to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or "tributes") must fight in an arena controlled by the Capitol until only one remains.
The film draws influence manly and heavily from the Romans and the gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. They would gather to watch some of the most unwatchable battles that would end in horrible deaths. And why did they do this? For pure entertainment reasons, same as the Hunger Games. Within this upper class, supposedly higher evolved society, they relish in watching the kids fight each other to the death. High society at its finest people.
The other factor that people are complaining about is the lack of seeing the "actual" killings. Well that's an easy one to answer. Who is the target audience for this film? Who wants to see this film? Tweens, that's who. And you can't show your film to your tween audience if it contains graphic violence and bloodshed, because you're film will then receive an "R" rating from the lovely folks at the MPAA. So what do you do? You tone down the violence and substitute it with a love story and the pageantry of the games itself. In the end, it's about making money.
Now as for the film itself; it was very entertaining. For fans of the book, it is a faithful adaptation from the books written by Suzanne Collins. The film was superbly directed by Gary Ross (SEABISCUIT, PLEASENTVILLE) and major kudos to leading actress Jennifer Lawrence (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, LIKE CRAZY, WINTER'S BONE) who brings the role of Katniss Lawrence to life. First class acting from this very talented actress.
THE HUNGER GAMES is an one entertaining film that is crammed with action, adventure, and romance. The film has something for everyone, so make some time out of busy schedule and see this film. Four and a half out of five stars!
THE HUNGER GAMES is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!