I Know All There Is To Know About the Hunger Games

Instead of going through all the work it would take to coordinate schedules with all the friends who wanted to see The Hunger Games, I slipped out one Tuesday evening and made it a rare trip to the movies by myself. I'm glad I did, because I really wanted to let this movie soak in afterwards, and to think about how I liked it as a film and as an adaptation.

Getting into plot seems silly, because you've no doubt heard a gazillion summaries by now, but it suffices to say that in a futuristic America (or Panem), the government forces each of the country's districts to offer up a boy and a girl to fight to the death in televised arena combat. Jennifer Lawrence plays the protagonist, and I'm happy to say she does a great job at making Katniss a person with actual complicated feelings and motivations, and doesn't just run around wringing her hands over which boy she should take to the vampire sock hop or whatever the fuck.

In The Hunger Games, there is still a love triangle, but it's wisely downplayed in many parts, and downright unreliable in others - is Katniss really in love with fellow District competitor Peeta, or are they playing up their relationship for the sake of getting life-saving materials from the viewing audience? There are naturally several other characters, both within the arena and without, and the movie does a good job of making sure all their bases are covered as far as filling in the story for each of them, although it gets a bit thin at times. At least they didn't skimp on my favorite character. Shout-out to Foxface!

If there's a big problem I had with The Hunger Games it's that the excitement and suspense in the build-up to the combat is more effective than the combat itself. I'm not asking to see arterial spray spewing out of eleven-year-olds, but some of the struggles were downright tame. Other minor issues presented themselves, from disappointing CGI to puzzlingly low-key characterizations of Katniss' drunken mentor (Haymitch) and stylist (Cinna).

Taken in total, though, The Hunger Games had far more good than bad, and certainly lived up to the massive hype it set up for itself. As of this post, it's the third-highest opening weekend film ever. It was a faithful adaptation that had some truly heart-pounding scenes, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the trilogy progresses from here.

The Hunger Games: B+


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