The Hunger Games plays out as a science fiction film that serves as both a criticism of the present and a precautionary tale for the future. It stands above most other big event pictures in that there are scenes that portray human emotion, this isn’t to say it’s a heartfelt drama, but it beats out many films of similar blockbuster magnitude in that it can be enjoyed on multiple levels. Suzanne Collins’ novel draws the blueprints for this loyal adaptation, which questions morality and gives us characters that have some depth and motivation to them.
The story takes place in the fictitious nation of Panem, established somewhere in what used to be the United States and Canada. Panem consists of a wealthy Capital and 12 poorer surrounding Districts, with District 12 being the farthest away from the Capital, and the poorest district. Years ago an attempted rebellion by the 12 Districts was thwarted by the Capital, and in return for their revolution, each District must annually offer up one male and one female “tribute” between the ages of 12 and 18. These children compete in what is known as “The Hunger Games”, a to-the-death competition between 24 youths that takes place in a controlled environment, controllable by the ‘Games-Master’, who takes his orders directly from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). What originally began as a post-war tribute has become a corrupt method of giving false hope to the colonies through the media of a grotesque reality show.
Once released into the arena, the older tributes from Districts 1 and 2 immediately slaughter some of the younger and slower competitors. Katniss and Peeta spread far away from the heard, also abandoning each other, as they know that at some point there will come a time when they will need to kill each other in order to win the games. Alliances initially form between various tributes, and Katniss attempts to hide and wait for most of the battle to finish. However, the Games-Master has control over the environment, and he starts a forest fire to flush Katniss out of her hiding spot and right into the clutches of an alliance. Without ruining the ending, I’ll just say that the progression of the film is a little predictable, but still very enjoyable and contains one or two morally ambiguous situations.
The Hunger Games is a fun and somewhat thought-provoking film. It is far better than other huge opening weekend films like Twilight and is much more enjoyable as well. The Hunger Games is a critical film, and is relatable to themes of Roman gladiator battles, war, slavery and abuse, and reality television. Appealing to both young and old audiences, much like the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games is a winner. The Hunger Games exceeded my expectations, and it provides us with highly enjoyable ride that, although lacking in certain aspects, is still definitely a movie worth seeing. Even though I saw it yesterday, I’m already looking forward to the sequel.