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The Hunger Games - Film Review

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published April 25th 2013
Teenagers fighting for their lives
After the book series of Harry Potter and Twilight have wrapped up, next comes "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - the first book of a best-selling trilogy for young adults. Similar to the darker sides of both Harry Potter and Twilight, The Hunger Games also deals with some very heavy issues and material. This made it a great series not only for the young adults but also for readers of both sexes and all ages.

As a result, it came as no surprise when The Hunger Games was adapted for the big screen and the Hollywood version of this captivating story was released in 2012. The results surpassed expectations as the film set new benchmarks within the movie industry for sold out shows right after its official launch.

As it usually happens when you read the book and then watch the movie, I had a slight feeling of disappointment with the director's vision of several scenes. However, we have to admit that turning a 350 page book written in the first person into a 2 hour and 22 minute film is not an easy job and that the movie Hunger Games does an amazing job of covering a decent amount of the book's backstory. Moreover, the Hollywood product adds in some new elements and moments that even those who have read the books enjoyed.

The whole story is set sometimes in a hypothetical future, in a country called Panem, which is what used to be known as North America. The dominating power, Capitol city uses hunger games as a means of ruling over the surrounding districts of forcing them to obey and comply with very strict rules. Each year, a representative of Capitol visits each of these districts with the purpose of randomly selecting one boy and one girl. These innocent children, called tributes, are then whisked away to compete in an event that required them to fight to death, until only one child remains alive.

Hunger Games 2012
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) - screenshot from the movie

Right at the beginning of the movie, we see Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) selected to be District 12's tribute and her older sister, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) quickly stepping up and volunteering to take her place in this lethal competition. Katniss' masculine counterpart is Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) - an insecure young man who lived under his father's (a strong baker) shadow. Peeta and Katniss are then taken off to the Capitol to face off against other tributes from the remaining 11 districts and one another.

Another important character is Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) - the previous winner of the hunger games for district 12, who is supposed to be their mentor. Although he struggles with a drinking problem, he succeeds to help the two teenagers and to play an important role in their lives. Once he realises what is at stake and the fact that Katniss could really be a great, strong player in the games, Haymitch gets his act together, and along with Effie Trinket (Elisabeth Banks), he helps Katniss and Peeta learn how to possibly survive the games.

As someone who has read all the Hunger Games trilogy, I can honestly say the movie was an amazing adaptation from the book. They covered many of the things the book had to offer. However, I can say that if the movie had been longer, possibly with an intermission, I sure would have paid extra to see it. My biggest complaint with the movie was the shaky camera. There were scenes when it was obvious the camera should shake to simulate the running, explosions, and the like, but there were times when it just wasn't needed and it only distracted from the movie. Overall, the movie was amazing and well worth watching. I, personally, can't wait for Catching Fire to be released in November of 2013.
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