In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives.
I had not really bothered to put this movie on my to-watch shelf since I felt it was not really my cup of tea but when my wife and oldest son wondered why we did not have it in our collection I thought, well, okay let us get it then. Actually I got the set with the two movies that have been released and yesterday we watched the first one.
Well, as far as I am concerned, it is not a turkey, it is rather “okayish” but I certainly do not understand all the hype. It is really far from a great movie. But then, I am probably somewhat biased since, as I wrote above, I did not really think this movie was my cup of tea. Anyway, it starts of with a lot of scenes in “wobblycam”. I have not met any person outside of the movie industry and self-proclaimed so-called “critics” that actually likes it when the camera wobbles around, scenes are blurred and you generally get nauseous by watching. Bad start!
The backbone of the story is ludicrous to say the least. Part of the world leaves in luxury when the rest is starving. Been there, seen that. Every year a seemingly random selection of kids, not adults but kids, are selected to fight to the death under some silly pretext of “preserving the peace”. As I said, ludicrous. The entire air of ludicrousness is enforced by the wacky costumes, makeup and hair styles of the people in the capitol. As I science fiction and fantasy fan I could easily live with this but, sadly, the movie made me only mildly interested in following the characters to the end.
The acting in general is adequate but nothing special. Having said that it must be difficult to actually make anything out of some of the silly roles in this movie. I for sure would laugh my head off every time I entered a scene with all of those ludicrous (yes I know I have used that word a lot in this review, live with it) costumes. The main characters act like the children, with absolutely no clue what they are doing, that they indeed are. This is of course entirely in line with the story but still, the main character is spending a lot of the time running away and sitting around looking startled, sorry or depressed when the games start. I have to say that, at times, the movie felt a bit boring. I have liked several movies that are very slow but here it simply did not sit right.
The games themselves with those dickheads in control and the changing rules, well they were mostly frustrating.
This movie, to me, is a movie for a young adult audience. I have not read the books and I can see how this kind of story would work for a YA book. Personally I was not unhappy having seen the movie and now, having watched the first of the movies I will watch the rest as well but for me it was okay as a two-hour diversion, nothing more.