The Hunger Games Lives Up to Expectations

The Hunger Games Lives Up to Expectations


By: Meilan Solly
When people imagine the future, the results are often quite different. Some hope for utopias, while others picture dystopias. Suzanne Collins created one of the most intriguing, complex, and memorable dystopian futures when she wrote The Hunger Games. This book catapulted Collins to fame, leaving her with millions of fans and one anxiously awaited movie.
The Hunger Games, which was released on March 23rd, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.  It takes place in a country called Panem. Panem is divided into 12 Districts and one elite city, the Capitol. Every year each District must send two tributes to fight to the death in a bloodbath known as the Hunger Games.
Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) becomes one of the District 12 victors after she volunteers to go to the Games in place of her sister Prim (Willow Shields). The other District 12 victor is Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), a boy who once indirectly saved Katniss’ life. Add in Katniss’ best friend Gale (Hemsworth); a vicious tribute named Cato (Alexander Ludwig); and a constantly drunk mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson); and you’ll have an idea of how complicated Katniss’ world is.
Expectations for The Hunger Games were high, and the movie meets them. One way it differs from your average Hollywood movie is that the director, Gary Ross, decided to film the movie using the “shaky camera” technique. He explains his reasoning for this, saying, “I tried to put you in Katniss’ shoes. I wanted to take you through the world using this kind of serpentine tunnel vision that Katniss has.” Ross’ risk definitely was worth it. The disorienting and constant jolts help give a realistic feel to the film. When Katniss is experiencing hallucinations, the audience also is. When Katniss is surrounded by tributes killing each other at the Cornucopia she is stunned, and by looking through her eyes, the audience can tell why.
Another reason The Hunger Games is such a success is because of its actors. Jennifer Lawrence gives a fantastic performance. She makes Katniss seem vulnerable, fierce, and realistic all at the same time. Her reaction to Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) pulling Prim’s name out of the bowl at the reaping really shows the audience how much Katniss loves her sister. The other two members of the Hunger Games trio are Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Both do an unbelievable job of portraying their characters, though it is easier to become attached to Hutcherson’s character, Peeta, simply because he has more screen time.
When reading the books, it is fairly easy to overlook Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker. In the movie, however, Wes Bentley refuses to be missed. His beard and its eccentric designs don’t hurt, of course, but it really does feel like Crane is developed more in the movie. It is enlightening to see how he and the other gamemakers create the arena and seem to feel absolutely no disgust at its purpose.
One of the main Hunger Games scenes many fans were anxious to see translated onto the big screen was Rue’s death. Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, is Katniss’ ally. In the book it seemed like the two had a long time to bond (or at least long for the Games), but in the movie their relationship has no time to develop. Rue’s death scene is therefore touching but not as heart wrenching as it could have been.
It’s understandable that a few characters seem underdeveloped. There are obviously time constraints, but it feels as if all the tributes are dead before the audience even figures out which one is which, and even characters like Gale and Katniss’ mother (Paula Malcolmson) have very few lines. This is the way the story goes in the book too, though, so it makes sense.
The Hunger Games really is an absolutely exceptional movie. It outshines a lot of other big series movies (cough cough, Twilight) because of its cinematography and acting, not to mention how true it is to the book. It definitely deserves at least a 9 out of 10.