This weekend we were some of the many that headed to the cinema to watch the biggest release of the year so far, The Hunger Games. A film that has been eagerly anticipated by many. At first I was a little dubious as I though this was going to be another franchise like the Twilight saga and the Harry Potter series. I can safely say however that it is much better than both of these. I was never a huge fan of the these films and was skeptical about The Hunger Games on first knowledge of it, but the trailer eventually hooked me in and I am so glad that it did.
If people don't know, the film follows Katniss Everdeen, a brilliant Jennifer Lawrence, who volunteers to take part in the annual Hunger Games in place of her younger sister. The Hunger Games consists of 24 teenagers being sent into a pit to fight to the death. 24 go in, 1 comes out, and all of this to please an entertainment craving totalitarian future society, a theme that is explored brilliantly. Many have compared this to The Running Man or Battle Royale but I thought this took it down a completely different route, especially considering the battle consists of kids. It gives you an automatic sympathy with them.
The film seems to be split in two parts. The first is the set up to the games and the second is the game itself. Surprisingly it was the first half that was my favourite. The first half showcases all the great acting talent on show, and it definitely is brilliant. Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks (when she's unrecognisable she's good) are all great in their supporting roles, a great moment is between Kravitz and Lawrence moments before the games begin. All do the job they need to do but don't take any of the gloss or shine off our leads, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, who are brilliant. In this first half we see them preparing for the game. They train in front of sponsors in order to impress and gain help within the game. Here we get to meet the enemies for when the game commences, all seeming to be more talented in the death fighting department. This section gets you hooked in, the costumes, the acting, the intrigue sets you up for what should be a great watch when the games commence, however I was gutted when the game began as I wanted to see more of the costumes and more of the great acting; also of the growing confrontation between the two leads.
The second half is purely the game and it starts strong, unfortunately however it does dip, something the first half didn't do. We see Katniss run up a tree to hide, come down, get chased and climb another tree to hide. I'd seen that and wanted to see something more. The games begins with a bloodbath but it instantly slows up and we are left waiting for the next rush. When the violence kicks in it is well worth it and it is what you are all waiting for, however during the game many out of the ordinary things take place, such as one contestant painting themselves as a rock and hiding, could have been a good idea if he had a mirror!! This was the sort of thing that took place and annoyed me, something that didn't happen in the first act.
Having said that this film is great. It is without a doubt the best film of the year so far. So much of it is good, and the negative is mere picky points on my behalf. The first half alone is brilliant, despite a difficult to watch opening due to a hideously shaky camera, and the second was good. I just feel it could have been even better. So much is good with the film; Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely great, and also plays the role with a large sex appeal, something me and the girlfriend both noticed!! She was already on to great things but this will be her springboard. I do hope sequels are being prepared but do hope they don't ruin what could be a fantastic trilogy. Watch The Hunger Games not many will be disappointed.
Pros: The acting, the costumes, the production design; everything bar the slight negatives.
Cons: The use of shaky cam and the few niggles during the game itself.
8 / 10
Top 10 of 2012 so far:
1. The Hunger Games 8 / 10
2. 21 Jump Street 7.5 / 10
3. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7 / 10
4. The Grey 7 / 10
5. Safe House 6 / 10
6. The Raven 6 / 10
7. Man On A Ledge 5 / 10
8. This Means War 5 / 10
9. J. Edgar 4.5 / 10
10. The Iron Lady 4.5 / 10