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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'll have a battle royale with cheese. "The Hunger Games" Review

IM BACK BABY!!! OK I know I know; I didn’t post the reviews of the films I said I would and to add insult to injury I left you guys hanging for over a month. Let me explain: I was both on vacation and staycation. I went to my second home Greece to visit my friends and family and to spend the summer there and have fun. I could have continued to write reviews from there and that is where the staycation came to be. I really wanted to continue writing from Greece but the overwhelmingly fun time I spent there really didn’t give me much room to do this. Next time something like this happens at least I am going to be prepared and don’t make a promise I can’t keep.
In order to make it up to you guys, I have prepared something very special; a review of the 3 biggest blockbusters of the year so far: “The Hunger Games”, “The Avenger’s”, and “The Dark Knight Rises”. And this time instead of promising something and then not going through with it, I am going to write all 3 of them and then post them together. First is the newly released on DVD “The Hunger Games”

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 8 months, you have probably heard of “The Hunger Games”; but for the sub-rock residents here is a brief summary: It is based on the first installment of the highly successful young-adult, action, book series of the same name written by Susanne Collins.

I don’t want to give away much of the plot because finding out about it is the best part, but the main story goes like this: Sometime in the future, where America has been renamed “Panem”, there is an annual televised event called the hunger games, where young adults and teenagers battle to the death until one survives. The winner might be filled with riches and glory but after what goes on in the games the most valuable prize is being allowed to live. The story follows a 16 year old girl named Katniss as she experiences the horror of the games through her own eyes instead of through her television. A boy named Peeta is the deuteragonist as he comes from Katniss’ hometown, district 12 and acts as a catalyst for the emotional essence of the story.

Gary Ross directs the film, and makes sure to be quite faithful to the book even if some die-hard fans nitpick at some small changes. I consider myself a die-hard fan of the book as it is probably the second greatest book I have read in my life( with my absolute favorite being the book that spawned my favorite movie of 2011). I must confess that because of my determination to like this film, I did inject some bias into my first evaluation of the film and gave it a higher score than I should, but now that I have seen it 3 times I feel confident that I have been professional and have judged the film fairly and accurately.

As a film critic I have to admit that the film is massively flawed; there are only 2 or 3 standout performances, the cinematography is noticeably lacking, the special effects are nothing more than average, and even at about 2 hours and 20 minutes the film still feels rushed. But giving it a rating based solely on the quality of its production would go against my beliefs as a critic. “Entertainment over art” is my motto and this film definitely passes the entertainment test. I enjoyed it quite a lot and admired how some scenes where made with plenty of artistic vision by Garry.

Many of the film's detractors point out that the plot is similar to that of "Battle Royale" with more cheesiness or "The Running Man". I would be lying if I said that those observations aren't true but I don't really care how similar two plots are as long as the executions are different.

Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss gives by far the best performance in the film, surpassing not only her costar Josh Hutcherson, but veteran actors like Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrleson. Other welcome cast members include Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, and Lenny Kravitz; all of whom give memorable traits to their characters.

Eventually this film succeeds because it does not become a slave of its source material; it coexists with it quite harmoniously and gives the fans what they want: a fun and exciting adventure film that people will enjoy, even if it is flawed and altered from the book.


What is your favorite movie of the year so far? Click here to cast your vote. Mine is one of the 3 movies I’ll be reviewing, can you guess which one before I give out all their scores?

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