The Hunger Games (2012) Poster

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Battle Royale minus humor plus cheese
JWJanneck5 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I do not know the book this movie is based on, but I sincerely hope that it is much better (and have been told that it is) than its adaptation. As it stands, the movie is a PG13 version of Battle Royale, with a hint of Running Man, a touch of Truman Show, minus any irony or humor, with a lot less gore (to keep it PG13 no doubt), and a lot more cheese.

The one thing that might have set it apart from its many predecessors would have been the political and social background story which is hinted at in the brilliant but short performances of Tucci and Banks, but gets drowned out by the tedious, incoherent, and unconvincing attempts at action and cheesy teenage romance of the Twilight variety.

Even though the "action" is clearly intended to carry the movie, given the amount of time devoted to it, it is largely vapid PG13-type stuff, where the heroine MacGyvers her way out of a tight corner by dropping a hive of waspy insects onto her assailants --- who, in spite of being in a fight for their lives, guard her, and themselves, by collectively taking a nap at the foot of the tree their opponent is trapped in. Common sense isn't the strength of any of the contestants, which gallivant unguardedly and noisily through woods they know to be full of people out to kill them, and spend quite a bit of time publicly (and noisily) emoting when disagreeable stuff happens. Gimmicks abound, many of which easily predictable as they are introduced hamfistedly one by one during the preparation and training phase.

Movie making is a business, and much of the revenue comes from young people, and there is every reason to believe that this movie is successfully catering to their tastes and preferences. Unfortunately for the rest of us, this means that all the interesting commentary on our own lives and societies that the source material might have contained is only a small subtext to a teenage drama that has been done before, better, sharper, and more convincing. The scenes with Tucci (equipped with dental enhancements that accentuate everything he does) and Banks (also in magnificent costume) are the highlights of this film, degrading the main action to mere filler for the teens. Unfortunately, for more than two hours, that's just not enough.
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(Battle) Royale with cheese...and a side order of over exaggeration.
ArT_of_InSaNiTy25 November 2013
So as a movie enthusiast and a Cineworld unlimited card holder i do my fair share of visits to the cinema. Of course when a film garners interest the trailers become more and more prominent; this could be said for the newly released "Hunger Games:Catching Fire". Constant trailers and advertisements on TV....which led me to think...well i haven't even seen the first one yet. This led me to take up the opportunity that CineWorld had put before me, in seeing the first film in the Cinema in a one day special showing of the 2012 blockbuster.......

....but oh how i wish i didn't. Fast Forward to the end of the film and i walk out wondering what all the fuss is about and ahead of me i see an ever growing queue outside of anxious teens awaiting the midnight showing of the sequel. And it hit me like a bullet. This is why there is so much hype. I mean there could be no better an example of teen power than the Twilight saga. And this is very similar. Has any of these nutters seen "Battle Royale"? That is how you do a film focused on individual survival. That is a film that shows you the depths people will go to survive. It doesn't hide from the violence and it doesn't over complicate it. It is live or die. Simple.

Now this farce of a film is more focused on creating a love triangle between Katnis, (Lawrence) Gale (Hemsworth) and Peeta (Hutcherson). All this district nonsense, all this sacrifice, all the deaths...just for a love triangle. That is what the underlying story and forthcoming films are going to be all about; twilight anyone? It is one of the cheesiest films ever; made me cringe so much i was almost sure my spine would snap at any moment. That my head would go all exorcist and just keep going when i constantly turned away in dismay. This film is successful because of the vast amount of teens who are vacuumed into love stories and won't let go until a shirt is taken off. And anyone over the age of 18 who still enjoys this needs to grow up and go watch Battle Royale and that'll show you what would really happen in a circumstance like this.

The film takes almost an hour to start and when it does start, it actually doesn't. It's slow, uneventful and the characters they try so hard for you to feel sympathy towards are so incredibly unimportant that you simply don't care.

Yet another film, that is over exaggerated, over hyped, over advertised and over the top with cheese.

2/10 (and that's me being nice)
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It's Battle Royale...In PG-13!
dmhughes-448-69510214 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Alright, I'm going to be honest. I thought this film was going to be terrible. I really did. I've read all the books, and I thought they were okay, but not really worth all the hype. Then I saw the film, and I was blown away. This was one of the best films of 2012, and I cannot wait for the sequels to come out, although I am a little upset that they're splitting Mockingjay into two films! Oh, and by the way, there is a film just like this one; it came out 10 years ago, was called Battle Royale, and it was better than this, even though this film was excellent.

The film takes place in a dystopia future, where the world was destroyed by an unknown event. The area that survived, now called Panem (North America), is now split into 12 districts, all ruled by The Capitol. We find out that the districts attempted to overthrow the capital, but they were defeated, resulting in the destruction of District 13. Now, for the past 74 years, two citizens of each district; a boy and a girl, all between the ages of 12 and 18, are sent to die in a tournament called the Hunger Games. The last person standing receives a lifetime of fame and fortune, and the district reaps the benefits. This film follows 16-year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) of District 12, an expert archer, who volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the games. Her partner, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), is a baker, and they come with a strategy of pretending to fall in love with each other in order to look good and get help from the outside world during the games. They are guided by Haymitch (a great Woody Harrelson), a drunkard who is the only surviving winner from District 12 (only two from the district have ever won).

They head for the Capital, and are trained, and they meet the other tributes. Here is the movie's biggest flaw; most of these characters actually had bigger parts in the book. Here, they run around and get killed off. Only Rue from District 11 is given any substantial screen time, but it's still not enough. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is the wicked leader of the totalitarian Capital, and he doesn't want District 12 to win, because it results in the poorer districts (9, 10, 11, 12), to stand up and want to rebel again. The games are overseen by Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) and the Gamemakers, who add new obstacles in order to make the games exciting. Those two were barely in the first book, so their larger part in this film is very welcome.

Eventually, our two heroes work together to try and win, and I won't spoil anything else. This was a very well done film. The actors are great, especially Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. The effects are all well done, and the cinematography, which I heard people didn't like, is also pretty good. Director Gary Ross (who sadly isn't directing the next film) did a great job translating the book to the big screen, and it was a success. Hope the sequels are as good as this. "May the odds ever be in your favor".

Final Verdict: 8/10
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A bad copy of Battle Royale
Isra23 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A highly americanized version of Battle Royale, with essentially the same impossible happy ending. Capitol's aesthetics, which I find close to Alice in Wonderland's Red Queen (especially that pathetic Effie Trinket), contribute to the childish ambiance of the film. A contrast that, rather than increasing the dramatic power of the film, gives off a typical American smell.

The use of Holocaust films aesthetics in the Districts scenarios is, for my taste, another proof of lack of imagination, of narrative consistency.

However, the great work of Jennifer Lawrence (in contrast with other characters) and the resources of Hollywood can make this film an acceptable piece of entertainment.
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Truman Show meets Battle royal
tjrmmm-17 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I would say the only thing that saves this movie is the acting.Jennifer Lawrence and surprisingly a great performance by Woody Harrelson .Story is predictable .It is like watching bits of ripped off story lines from other movies.From the opening scene from the coal miners daughter ,parts from The Running Man .Robin Hood ,Truman show .This story is just a bunch of other better movies compressed into on Disney like Battle royal.It might be a good thing that Gary Ross will not direct the next movie .This movie had a lot of potential but it fell short of what it could have been.There is no connections with the characters .You do not care about who lives and who dies .
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Well, it's no Battle Royale...
wandereramor23 May 2012
There's almost nothing to say about a movie like The Hunger Games -- it's been so worked to death to be a successful blockbuster that all of its edges, the things that make a film good or bad, have disappeared. It just exists as a spectacle, a finished product that defies any critical lens.

I could go on about the particulars of the adaptation -- the ridiculousness of the entire Capital setting, or the sometimes disorienting shakycam work, or the great cast of adults patiently playing supporting characters -- or the source material -- the gestures at social commentary, the way that the story protects Katniss from ever having to morally sully herself -- but they all seem to be beside the point. Look. The movie has the things that happened in the book, but in a movie, competently shot and acted, with absolutely no risks taken. If you liked the book, or want to learn what this whole Hunger Games thing is about without having to read the book, you'll probably like this. It's a digestible film, even an enjoyable one, but in the end it's not really interesting or memorable. But to be fair, it wasn't meant to be.
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A Twilight take on Battle Royale
Cinema Scholar6 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it seems that everything has been said already. The film and the book it was based on adapted the premise of a great Japanese film/book called Battle Royale, without ever giving it credit for the original idea.

Despite knowing this beforehand, I still went to see the film expecting something decent. I was quite disappointed when I walked out. For a film that was supposed to be all about teen violence, there seemed to be very little violence in the film. The few scenes depicting violence were toned down and lacked gore.

Perhaps good character development could save this, but, sadly, there was hardly any. All the dialogues seemed forced and monotonous. I was hoping to see the characters converse with each other, but all I saw was actors reading their lines. I like feeling emotions during films, but short of sadness of knowing I just spent $20 and wasted 2.5 hours of my life, I can't remember feeling any.

The only memorable scene for me was the return of the film's heroine to her district, however it was for all the wrong reasons. It struck me as odd that the boy who liked her was all smiles, despite seeing his love interest make out with some nerf herder on the big screen.

My advice is to wait until you can rent this for $2, and even then, only if you really want to see it for yourself. Otherwise, buy a nice Blu-Ray of Battle Royale and see how The Hunger Games should have been made.

6/10 (1 point added out of my respect for Woody Harrelson)
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watch Battle Royale instead
pacoulen13 August 2013
This is could easily be a copy of Battle Royale for children. I do not understand why the author of the books would copy so blatantly an outstanding book/film and turn it into this. The Japanese film(which is also based on a book) is absolutely shocking an breathtaking. If you have not seen it yet, please do.

Nonetheless, hunger games is a watchable teen movie. I don't understand why they had to repeat some scenes over and over at the beginning. Its a long film with not much action. The ending seems rushed and very much predictable.

It could be worse. But has been better, in Japanese.
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Similarity between movies
gaklinkja1 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Does this movie remind you of another? It did for me. Russel Crowe had fantastic performance in that movie, Gladiator. Even though both movies are centuries apart, they have similar ideas. 1. showmanship. you win the crowd, you win your freedom. similar ideas. i would prefer to watch a new idea,theme,entertaining aspect than watch a movie with the same idea as a movie that depicts the same thing. 2. i agree with someone who said studios should remove the person who used the technique of shaking a camera. i would like to always see what is happening, not blurs and fuzzy images. during fight scenes,the camera shakes like an earthquake is happening. it even shakes in the first ten minutes, like someone is extremely nervous. get rid of the people who shake cameras, and bring back the people who want to deliver a quality film that the audience can see without getting headaches. oh, the falling action is short.
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Poor Adaptation
emptygravity23 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
What a bitter disappointment! In order to explain what is missing from the film, please allow me to describe what I love about the books.

Suzanne Collins creates a moving portrayal of a girl living under a cruel dictatorship. Set against a background of extreme poverty, these books show how the unequal distribution of wealth affects Panem's society. Those living in the wealthy Capitol have so little in common with the destitute people from the Districts that they regard the deaths of District children as entertainment. The violence in The Hunger Games is shocking because it is brutal and unnecessary, yet wholly embraced- even celebrated- by Capitol residents. As for the District tributes, they are not enemies but they kill each other all the same, some reluctantly and others with enthusiasm. As the trilogy progresses, it becomes a compelling commentary on the madness of war and the sad futility of violence. However, these themes are woven into the books in such a way that you may not even notice they're being discussed. You become so immersed in Katniss's world that poverty is a given, and violence a sad but expected part of life.

The film follows the basic storyline but lacks emotional depth. The character development is almost nonexistent and the deaths in the arena are bloodless in every sense of the word. The tributes are little more than walking stereotypes so their deaths have no impact. Even Rue's death- heart-wrenching in the book- is little more than a side note in the movie. If I hadn't read the books, I don't think I would have understood the dynamic between the tributes at all, including the conflicted relationship between Katniss and Peeta. Their romance comes across as cheesy and unconvincing. There is no hint of the bond that grows between them as the story progresses.

Perhaps my biggest criticism of this movie is that no one seems to be going hungry! I cannot believe the filmmakers overlooked this important point. The Capitol's exploitation of the Districts is supposed to be the backdrop for the entire story. When Katniss arrives in the Capitol and observes how food appears at a touch of a button, she cannot understand how Capitol residents fill their time. The majority of her days are consumed with feeding her family. It defines her. Most of the tributes have never had enough to eat and this is a major factor in the Games.

The beginning of the movie seemed promising. The ominous mood in District 12 was just right. It is apparent that the people who live there are exhausted and resigned to their fate. When residents appear for the reaping, they look like cattle being rounded up for slaughter. The Capitol, in contrast, is frightening in it's frenetic artificiality. This juxtaposition was well-done. However, the filmmakers lost me when the tributes entered the arena.

There was no sense of tension. The tributes make all kinds of noise as they move through the woods, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are being hunted. Katniss stands about ten feet away from Cato as he snaps a boys neck and we are supposed to believe he doesn't see her? The scenes from the control room are pointless and add nothing to the movie. They should have spent that time on character development! Unfortunately, this lack of character development causes the emotional scenes to fall flat. I am astounded this was even possible, given the subject matter, but the overall result lacks intensity and depth.

I will credit Elizabeth Banks with an excellent portrayal of Effie Trinket. She adds humor and a sense of the absurdity of Capitol life. Donald Sutherland also does well as President Snow. Jennifer Lawrence is an adequate Katniss but Josh Hutcherson is terrible as Peeta. He's just not very likable. We see none of his inner strength. Instead, he comes across and whiny and weak. And Wes Bentley seems to be included just to showcase his ability to grow an amazing beard.

One more thing. What happened to Haymitch?! He's supposed to be a self-destructive drunk! His cunning is all the more unexpected because he seems incapable of taking care of himself. I was thrilled when they cast Woody Harrelson and he does well in some parts but it seemed like they had to water down his character to market it to young adults.

This movie had a lot of potential but it fell short in many important ways. A score of 3/10 is pretty harsh but I felt as though the filmmakers kept all of the plot points and none of the meaning. Read the books instead.
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