The Hunger Games

Film

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The Hunger Games

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Thu Jul 21 2011

The perils of allowing a successful author to adapt their own work for the screen are demonstrated once again in this absorbing but cluttered take on Suzanne Collins’s highly regarded post-apocalyptic teen epic. This is a gripping, impressively mounted action movie – but its adherence to finicky details in the novel means that there’s not enough time to fully explore Collins’s complex world or the characters who inhabit it.

Jennifer Lawrence (‘Winter’s Bone’) excels as Katniss, a teenage girl forced to take part in the televised Hunger Games, in which children from each of 12 tightly controlled districts fight to the death in tribute to the ruling Capitol. Whisked off to the big city in the company of fellow pugilist Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss finds herself completely out of her depth.

The film’s strengths are many: from the opening scenes set in the beautifully realised Depression-style District 12 to some grittily realistic, often shockingly nasty fight sequences inside the Arena. The central concept may be derivative, but as in the book, there are enough original ideas to make it feel fresh and involving.

But for all that, ‘The Hunger Games’ is an oddly muted film. Director Gary Ross’s decision to shoot much of it handheld and in tight close-up throws us right into the ring with our heroine, but tends to leaves the other characters on the periphery – a fact not helped by the propulsive but rather functional script. Similarly, his decision to avoid any sense of uplift or triumphalism may be appropriate for a story about children killing one another, but it leaves the film feeling a little one-note in its bleakness, which may harm its chances at the multiplex. Overall, this is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle.

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Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|27
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miel

amazing acting an all that, but really the film did not liv up 2 the expectaions of the book. I admit I watched the film first and thought it as 'epic' but after my friends advised me 2 read the book, i was hugely disappointed. All the character and humor seems to have been lost in the film. Overall though, the actors/actresses were well chosen and if you hadn't read the book, it is enjoyable...for its target audience o.o

John

It had some good moments, but the conclusion was predictable and unsatisfying given the incredible story premise.

EmilyLauraa

I read all the books first and then watched and film and to be honest I was a little disappointed at it. It isn't much like the book. In the scenes like the when they are in the training room, I expected it to be old and simple, but in the film it was very hi tech. Also simple details like Katniss's dress when she was supposed to be the girl on fire, I imagined it long and flowing at the back. Also the characters, seem to miss some of the characteristic from the book in the film. But still the film is good, very griping and when Rue dies it's heartbreaking. Rue is exactly how you imagine her to be. Just if you're going to watch it don't read the books. The books where just too amazing.

jennitpk

Went to see this with my 9 year old daughter not having read the books and not expecting it to be that good (based on the reviews) and we both really enjoyed it. It is not suitable for children who are easily scared as there is (as you might expect if you'd read the books) quite a bit of violence in it. A very enjoyable, well acted film, with some very moving moments.

J.P.

Entertaining... could not help making comparisons with Running Man and Battle Royale whilst watching it. Haven't read the books so not sure how far the violence goes, but given the disturbing concept of the games, I think more brutality would have added so much more impact and stirred up a real sense of shock amongst cinema-goers. The plot in the end kind of falls flat a little and I feel the film could have explored more into the competitors' dark experiences and Katniss' heroine strength and influence on the oppressed society outside the Capitol.

long cat

Tame - Why the hell did they cut it to lose the gore from a 15 to a 12a and spoil what could've been a really decent movie. The sets are excellent and the weird utopia of Panem is Zardoz-like in its opulent obscenity. The concept left me wondering - "What is the point in the hunger games?" If you wanted tributes dead just shoot the buggers at selection. The film may be the first of a serial and had to play to all prospective audiences but for me it failed to live up to the hype and the best characters are already killed off.

Alan

With the price of cinema tickets as they are, and spare time invaluable, you like to feel you can trust reviewers and friends, and the overall word on this film early on was that it was good. Another case of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes?’ It truly is awful, and I couldn’t agree more with the last three comments here. If you’re still in two minds about whether to see this film, you have been warned. If you still go to see it, and like me, find yourself thinking 30 minutes in, ‘this will get better in a while’, it doesn’t. Leave then and enjoy the two hours of time you’ve saved.

Sam

Jennifer Lawrence (during the trailer for this movie): "This is a film for our generation", and "It really resonates." Erm, no, Jennifer, it doesn't "resonate" with me - you've just been told to say that as part of your contract by the director and movie houses in order to plug the movie. It's disjointed, poorly shot tosh.

miles

dreadful dystopian dribble with a fantasy female warrior killing agile virlile men and women too ,even 'turkey shoots was better than this battle royale ripoff

Blaize67

Really great sci-fi movie, brilliantly realised. Good direction and performances, especially from Jennifer Lawrence. Highly recommended for fun viewing...my only criticism is the occasional hand-held wobbly camera work on some action sequences, unnecessary and distracting. But, I'm being picky. I'd put it up there with Avatar and Inception.

Blaize67

Really great sci-fi movie, brilliantly realised. Good direction and performances, especially from Jennifer Lawrence. Highly recommended for fun viewing...my only criticism is the occasional hand-held wobbly camera work on some action sequences, unnecessary and distracting. But, I'm being picky. I'd put it up there with Avatar and Inception.

Technoguy

Had not read the book(s),but thought the film worked as a blockbuster viewing experience.Loved Lawrence's central performance,stunning,this girl has a great integrity and moral presence,think of Winter's Bone. Many great charcater parts by mature actors,Harrelson, Sutherland,Tucci(with boufant blue hair) as the media host to each participant.This franchise will fill the hole left by the Twilight films/books.By the way there is no need to read this.Just enjoy the film.The only fault is that to reach a mass audience they soft pedal(blur) on the violence to reach a target audience of 12A.

Ciaran

In reference to annabelle above, I don't think the directors would be too happy if only people who read the book went to see this film. Thank God your opinions do not sway any power, this film is for whom ever wishes to see it.

VioletP

i'm not sure how this film became classified as either "action" or "drama", and altogether missed the category of "boring" - presumably the classifier had fallen asleep. this is one long movie - at heading towards 2.5hrs long, it doesn’t have the raw ingredients to keep the viewer engaged. presumably the director was working on the basis if the cast wore colourful costumes and a lot of gold make-up, no one would notice the absense of a decent story, acting, etc.

Mike

There’s one word for Tom Huddleston’s review of this movie: Generous. As for the enthusiatic audience reviews for this film, it’s not hard to see the movie industry’s been here extolling the virtues of a dead horse. . For a first movie by recently graduated drama students, this film would be merely acceptable, but under any other guise it’s terrible: Weak storyline, bad script, poor improvisation, cliché, cliché, predictable. Need I go on? . Little wonder this movie’s been released immediately after the Oscars - it would have stood no chance for a nomination beforehand. If you’re bonkers enough to go see this film, nip into Boots first and ask for some sea sickness tablets - they’ll help calm your stomach and possibly you’ll get through the protracted hand-held camera sequences at the start without repeatedly wretching. Cinemas showing this movie ought to tuck sick bags into the back of the seats in front. . I’d genuinely rate this movie as zero stars, save for the fact it wouldn’t be reflected in the over all average ratings for this film - therefore one (generous) star.

iain

"... which may harm its chances at the multiplex." Really, Huddleston ? No, *really* ??? It's breaking B.O. records here in the US. And no, nothing has "hurt its chances".

Ian

Where do I start? I have not read any of the books and I am almost certainly not in its target demographic so why did I like the film. The major reason is Lawrence. She is excellent in what is otherwise rather a disappointment. The script is by the numbers and yes the shaky view is annoying at the start but all the way through it I couldn't get one thing out of my mind. Is this not just the X Factor on the screen? We have the tv manipulation and selling of agony to a mas audience a true opiate for the masses. Will I see it again? No. Can I wait till the next one? Yes. Take away Lawrence's performance and it a disappointment of a film full of cliches made to a formula and really nothing to write home about. It deserves 2 stars but Lawrence's central performance deserves 4 so it is just a 3 star film for me.

Francesca

I can't believe how good it was...I hate that the next movie isn't coming out until November 2013...SAD FACE. However, I've already booked tickets to go and see it again!

Francesca

I can't believe how good it was...I hate that the next movie isn't coming out until November 2013...SAD FACE. However, I've already booked tickets to go and see it again!

George

I thought it was exceptional. I have read all 3 books and felt that so much detail was sacrificed to improve the cinematic quality but I can also see that they made a huge effort to give the movie momentum. My only criticism is that they made Katniss' emotional journey in the arena too simple. I went with somebody who hasn't read the books and they were blown away regardless. I couldn't recommend it more highly...plus, if you can, go and see it at the Sky Superscreen at the O2 Arena. Amazing.

George

I thought it was exceptional. I have read all 3 books and felt that so much detail was sacrificed to improve the cinematic quality but I can also see that they made a huge effort to give the movie momentum. My only criticism is that they made Katniss' emotional journey in the arena too simple. I went with somebody who hasn't read the books and they were blown away regardless. I couldn't recommend it more highly...plus, if you can, go and see it at the Sky Superscreen at the O2 Arena. Amazing.

John

Hand held cameras are o.k for home movies, but not for the big screen . I'm a Sci-Fi fan, but the film was ruined for me, as most of the film was out of focus, and the cameraman seemed to spinning around half the time.