As someone who has read the entire series of Suzanne Collin's books "The Hunger Games", I had only two things on my mind for the film adaptation. 1) Is it good?(simple question but better than nothing) And 2) Will it be faithful? Well let's find out.
In what used to be America is the world of Panem. 74 Years ago, there was a rebellion against the capitol of Panem and their 13 Districts. District 13 had fallen, and the Hunger Games was born to remind the citizens of their failed rebellion. Each year, 12 Males and 12 females of each District would be chosen to fight to the death in the games. During the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen bravely volunteers for her sister after she is chosen. With her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark, survival is their only option in a game where only one can win.
I thought this movie was great. It's not too heavily violent like the books, but it finds its perfect balanced tone on the deaths of the children. I knew the moment that the book would turn into a movie, it would be PG-13 and not R. It should have been pretty obvious since it's Hollywood trying to make cash on another series.
Now I believe this to be a brave film. It's coming right after Harry Potter has ended, and the arrival of the final Twilight film. Even though we know many other fantasy films has tried to cash in on the Potter fandom, they failed. But now that Potter is gone(ending that franchise spectacularly I might add), we needed a new movie. And because of the overhype, and the film itself, we have a winner!
The performances in this film are strong, from most of the cast. Jennifer Lawrence is now at the top of her game(Winter's Bone proved it back in 2010) while playing Katniss Everdeen. From a fans perspective, I wouldn't have chosen anyone else to play her. Josh Hutcherson has more than enough charisma to play Peeta, and that was a character that needed a lot of charm. Liam Hemsworth(who I'm pretty sure only had less than 15 minutes of screen time) did a fine performance in a character who's build up is done and will now see a more blossomed character in the next film. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, this guy can act, a lot of musicians can't act, so it's fresh to see some actual talent. Elizabeth Banks, under all that make up, you can't tell who she is, and her performance is actually one of the highlights of the film, seeing as how she is a very ironic character(she orders politeness in a barbaric game). Wes Bentley(who lately has been in a ton of really REALLY bad movies) does a good job as Seneca Crane. Alexander Ludwig and Issabelle Fuhrman are actual bad asses, they can turn in good performances and not feel like a plot device. Donald Sutherland is great as the mean spirited president of panem, he's not an underdog(as he would say in the film). If there was an Oscar for scene stealer of the year, it would have gone to Stanley Tucci as Ceaser Flickerman, this man will make you feel and laugh in seconds. I don't really like Woody Harleson as Haymitch, he was much more of a drunk in the book, but he's just too soft for this role, even though he was another perfect casting choice!
I've stated so many times that Visual Effects are the reason why I love film, and I'm not going to lie, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the effects. It seemed too campy for my taste. An example would be the(SPOILER ALERT) mutant dogs, they were scary in the book and had this really cool twist with them. But the moment they appeared on film, they didn't feel like Ceaser the ape from Rise of the Apes, they felt more like 0's and 1's from computers.
The make-up design on the film worked so well, I predict an Oscar nom. It's supposed to be this really ugly city in the eyes of Katniss, and it succeeds in doing so. Also, that design for Peeta in the mud was just fantastic.
Tom Stern really knows how to give an atmosphere for this film, to be honest, it felt very much like Winter's Bone. I do have this to say, the camera moved just like Cloverfield. I think the reason for that is because of the films rating and the mix of violence that the book has.
Gary Ross is did a great job adapting the book into film. I'm guessing he's an actual fan of the books, so he really does try to bring some justice into this movie. He never drags the film, everything has its pace and moves on even though we all know making a book into a movie is really hard.
If you're still sad over the fact that Harry Potter is gone, see this movie, it might cheer you up.
If you hate Twilight, see it, the romance isn't really focused on at all in this movie.
If you bitch and whine about it being a rip off of Battle Royale, shut up, they both were inspired by the greek story of Theseus.
Overall, if you want great entertainment value with a side politics.
I GIVE IT 4/5 Stars.
Just for fun, if I were in those games, most likely, I would run for my damn life. I'll probably die, but it's better than dying in the beginning of the games.