‘The film of the year’- was the phrase I used to describe the Hunger Games when I left the cinema. For a typical rom-com girl like me to say this about a sci-fi action film- a genre I usually tend to avoid- I am saying something. Initially, I didn’t want to see the film but I am so glad I did because it was honestly the best film I have seen in a while. The quality of acting, costumes, storyline, CGI and everything else all packed together makes this a film that you will lose yourself in, your mind solely focusing on The Hunger Games as if you were a tribute competing in it.
Set 74 years after a nuclear war in the future, the Hunger Games is an annual event where one boy and girl- aged 12 to 18- from each of the districts surrounding the Capitol, are selected to compete in a televised battle where they fight to survive and there is ultimately one winner. When Katniss Everdeen, a feisty, intelligent 16 year old hears that her younger sister Primrose has been chosen to compete, she volunteers to fight in The Hunger Games to protect her sister from her likely death, knowing the possible consequences of her own actions. Also selected from District 12, Peeta Mellark- a boy from Katniss’ school who is secretly in love with her- travels with her to the Capitol and then fight in the Hunger Games together.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find an aspect of The Hunger Games that I can fault. Before seeing the film, I was unaware of the large dependence it would have on CGI effects in order for the film to work but nevertheless, it did not disappoint. The CGI used makes the Capitol look realistic and is perfect to every last detail. Similarly, the costumes worn by the people living in the Capitol reflected their personalities perfectly. The bright colours of their attire, somewhat comparable to what characters in Alice and Wonderland would wear, reflects their delusional positivity in the fighting and how they haven’t let the nucleur war defeat them, unlike the 12 surrounding districts that wear drab, old-fashioned clothing that are visibly deprived. The teenagers participating in The Hunger Games wear clothing appropriate for combat- clothing that depicts being given a survival challenge, but not to the extent that it is over the top or ridiculous.
Jennifer Lawrence gives a memorable portrayal of Katniss, showing her pure grit and determination whilst simultaneously reminding the audience that she is still a human being who experiences physical and emotional pain throughout the whole film. Lawrence demonstrates this diversity when Rue- her ally in the games- dies in her arms as though a part of her died with Rue, highlighting the emotional toll and stress The Hunger Games put on the tributes. Josh Hutcherson was equally brilliant as Peeta, capturing the character’s desire to keep Katniss out of harms way in The Hunger Games and expressing Peeta’s undying love for Katniss so naturally and effortlessly, making myself as an audience member believe that he had always loved her and always would.
For those of you like myself who need a bit of romance to add more depth to a film, The Hunger Games holds the essence of young love, showing what both characters would do so that they can be with one another, without making you want to reach for the barf bag. However, my one criticism is that the film glosses over the fact that Katniss was acting the part of a young girl falling in love to earn more gifts and it is unclear of her ulterior motives to gain the gifts.
If I were rating The Hunger Games out of ten (which I probably should be doing, seeing as I am being a reviewer), I would have to give it a nine simply for the sensational and believable acting. I must commend the younger actresses who played Primrose and Rue as their portrayal of the fear their characters would have been experiencing was accurate and made me stop to appreciate the acting skills that they have acquired at such a young age. I struggle to think of any other actors and actresses that could have played Katniss and Peeta even a fraction better than Lawrence and Hutcherson. The Hunger Games has you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout, yet encompasses the humour, action and romance that we all want to see. It is not often that I leave a cinema saying ‘I could sit here and watch that all over again,’ and I genuinely could with this film. As I sit here typing away and feeling foolish for having not read the books, I am ecstatic at the thought of the sequel ‘Catching Fire’ being out at the cinema next year and if it is anything like what The Hunger Games was, I have no doubt it will be dramatic, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-entertainment that cannot be missed out on. The odds are ever in your favour, Hunger Games.