The Hunger Games – Film Review

Unless you have been living on Mars for the last month it’s been impossible to avoid the ever increasing press coverageof the release of The Hunger Games movie. Based on the best selling book by Suzanne Collins the excitement amongst teenagers (and adults – myself included!) has reached fever pitch in the last week or so.

And now the wait is finally over! The film goes on general release today, Friday 23rd March.  However I was lucky enough to get a ticket for one of last nights limited preview screenings! Does it live up to the Hype? Does it stay true to the book? Read on to find out…

Book Summary: The Hunger Games was one of the first in the current vogue of dystopian teenage thrillers.  Set in Panem, a near future version of North America destroyed by war, the country is now divided into 12 districts each ruled by the Totalitarian Capitol. Each year the districts are asked to send two tributes to compete in ‘The Hunger Games’ a reality TV, battle to the death and the Capitol’s way of ensuring that the forgiveness they gave each district for the previous civil war and uprising, is never forgotten…

(Please be aware that if you have not read the book this film review may contain spoilers.) 

Literature for Lads Film Review:
It can be a dangerous thing going to see the film of a book you have loved.  We have our own image of the characters, our own interpretation of events and can only hope that these are mirrored in what we see on screen.  Our dilemma becomes even more difficult if the film starts to receive rave reviews and the hype surrounding it reaches fever pitch.  Is it worth the risk of disappointment?  For fans of The Hunger Games the answer to this is a resounding yes!

Lionsgate and director Gary Ross have captured the essence of this book and brought to life one of the most exciting novels of this generation. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are both expertly cast as Katniss and Peeta, with each portraying an uncanny resemblance to how I saw them in the book. Katniss strong and rebellious and Peeta, brooding and deep.  Haymitch, previous  ‘Hunger Games’ winner and mentor to Katniss and Peeta, is played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson whilst Donald Sutherland does a great job as the quietly spoken, yet dangerous President Snow.

Other characters are equally well cast with  Lenny Kravitz capturing the tenderness of stylist Cinna and Stanley Tucci proving himself to be the expert chatshow host in his role as Caeser Flickerman.  Gale, Katniss’ loyal friend back in District 12 and the other tributes also stay close to their book characterisation.  However it is little Rue who almost steals the show by ensuring the whole cinema has a tear in their eye with ‘that’ scene.

The images of District 12, the Capitol and the Arena itself are just as imagined in the book with the greyness and poverty of District 12 in evidence, just as the colour and greed of the capitol is. In fact at no point during the film was I ever thinking that’s not how I thought it would be.  It’s clear that Suzanne Collins has been involved with the screenplay as the film has not been hollywidised and stays almost entirely true to the book throughout.

The real strength of the film lies in the fact that Katniss takes us on her adventure without ever saying very much.  It’s almost as if we are out hunting with her, quietly watching as our prey stalks around us. This is not to say the film is slow or lacks the intensity or brutality of the book.  This is still very much on show and the collective gasp from the audience when Thresh breaks the neck of a fellow tribute was evidence of this.

So often the film adaption of a book can go wrong and spoil our memories of the story.  The Hunger Games is not one of those films!  Staying true to the book and capturing everything that made the book such an amazing read this is one film that you must go and see.  You will be blown away all over again by the story that Suzanne Collins has created. Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds be Ever in your Favour!

Marks out of 10: 9

Still can’t make up your mind whether or not to go and see it?  Watch the awesome trailer for The Hunger Games…