Last night, after much hype, I finally went to see ‘The Hunger Games’ at the cinema with my friend. I haven’t yet read the books and usually my rule is to read the book before seeing the film but I may have to break the rule for this as I’m now really looking forward to reading the trilogy.
I didn’t really know what to expect from ‘The Hunger Games’ except that it was for “youngsters”. I have never seen the Twilight films (or read the books) so I was worried as to whether I’d like ‘The Hunger Games’ or not. I shouldn’t have worried, what I saw last night was a feat of cinematic brilliance.
The dystopian world of Panem, where a boy and girl from each of the twelve outlying districts are picked each year to participate in the Hunger Games as punishment for a previous uprising against the government. It’s kind of like a Lottery you never want to win. I’m also hoping that it doesn’t give certain dictators ideas.
The Hunger Games require a fight to the death until one of the twenty-four participants is crowned the victor. Katniss Everdeen hears her younger sister’s name called and volunteers as “tribute” to protect her sibling.
This film is simply outstanding. It must win awards for costumes and make-up alone, not to mention screenplay. Although the violence is toned down for its younger audience, this film is just spectacular.
The intelligence of this concept is mind-boggling. The technology is impressive and the cast are wonderful – Elizabeth Banks (from ’30 Rock’, one of my favourite TV shows) is great as the whimsical Effie Trinket. Her make-up and costumes are reminiscent of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Absolutely cracking cameos from Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland and Stanley Tucci. Even Woody Harrelson plays a good part as the alcoholic former victor.
Aesthetically, this film paid homage to many other cult classics; there were hints of ‘V For Vendetta’, ‘District 9’ and, even, ‘Schindler’s List’. This reminded me of Charlie Brooker’s recent ‘Black Mirror’ show.
The Hunger Games themselves is like our current reality shows crossed with Gladatorial games. The participants are trained up before being sent out to fight it out between themselves; from the moment they are chosen, they are scrutinised and televised. The tributes are interviewed a la Davina and ‘Big Brother’ before the games begin.
Tributes are expected to gain audience support to get sponsors who will provide food and tools, as well as medicine during the games. Like all reality shows, the audience like a love story – whether it’s real or not.
The film explores quite adult concepts, particularly once the tributes are out into the games. This would be a very interesting film to analyse as a media student: there’s feminism, religion and politics. But this, in no way, makes it boring. I could watch it over and over despite the often-shaky camerawork.
If you haven’t seen it, you must.