May the Odds be Ever in your Favor
Sandra Ellis Lafferty
Running Time: 142 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
In the not-too-distant future, North America has been left ravaged by fire, famine and civil war. The country of Panem has been formed with the victorious ultra-modern Capitol at it’s heart and twelve backward districts surrounding it. As a penance, each year the twelve districts are forced to give one male and one female to compete in a very shiny fight to the death televised throughout the country. In the 74th Hunger Games, brave Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) volunteers in place of her young sister and is joined by fellow district 12er Peeta (Hutcherson).
Yes, The Hunger Games is not at all original as Battle Royal, The Running Man and Rollerball are just some of those that have done it before, but overall this newest one is a pretty well-executed effort. The entertainment factor is always there and the build up to the event is excellent as a decent amount of time is devoted to finding out about this dystopian future and the people involved’s strengths and flaws. There are a number of little plot details and interesting side characters, like Harrelson’s past winner and Tucci’s madcap television host, to mix thngs up a bit more.
Hunger Games is a bit like how I imagine the Olympics in London to be like. Exciting build up and massively expensive opening ceremony, just for you to spend all your precious time watching synchronised swimming or fencing. The Hunger Games competition consists mainly of people sitting around with the occasional child-friendly killing being masked by shaky camera work, an off screen death, a peripheral character doing the dirty work or an imaginative death that makes you smirk. Of course, none of the guys from District 12 ever get their hands dirty unless it’s in self-defence or by saving a small child.
Therein lies the flaw of this movies’ concept. It’s a tweenager film based on a very adult subject which has already caused many adults to stop their kids from seeing it and also the sanitised action will also alienate a potential adult market. So, exactly who is it aimed at?
It's Got: Good characterisation, multi-stranded and engaging story with some clever subplots, some excellent beards
It Needs: To bite the bullet and go for a 15 rating
The Hunger Games is a well-worn concept done fairly well but it’s a bit confused by who it’s target audience is. Basically this sanitised Battle Royale is like Twilight, if everyone decided to kill each other.