Hotly-anticipated film The Hunger Games has finally hit cinemas and the long wait has definitely been worth it. As the director Gary Ross’ film is based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel of the same title, fans of the novel feared the movie would be simply a poor adaptation of the book; however, critics are are now acclaiming The Hunger Games film of the year.
The story tells of a post-apocalyptic North America, where food shortages and a communist government are in place. The plot focuses on determined brunette Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her struggle in her home, ‘District 12’.
The novel takes its name from “The Hunger Games”, a brutal, gladiatorial contest in which children and teens must fight to the death; this annual event started as punishment for a failed uprising against the Capitol (the government). Although several decades have since passed, each district must continue put forward one boy and one girl to take part in the bloody competition.
When heroine Katniss’ sister Prim is unexpectedly selected for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers in her place, and prepares to meet her fate in the Capitol alongside attractive Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson), the boy chosen from District 12. This partnership has prompted many to compare the series to Twilight, due to the emerging love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss’ best friend and hunting companion. However, with all the ‘Team Peeta’ and ‘Team Gale’ on the horizon, there is plenty of action to go round.
The tranquil setting of the forest, where the Hunger Games takes place, is particularly unsettling as it is juxtaposed by the idea that 23 young teenagers are about to be killed. This just serves to underscore the horror of the contest, as what could be considered a utopian setting becomes the ultimate dystopia for Katniss and the other “tributes”.
One aspect of the film that was a disappointment was the camera work. Much of the action and gore is removed and Ross attempts to disguise the limited supply of violence by distorting the audience’s view by moving the camera continuously throughout the fight scenes. This frustrating technique leaves the viewer longing for an unobstructed view of the action.
The Hunger Games is a gripping, futuristic adventure filled with romance and action that all audiences will enjoy. Although the film has proved to be a hit both with box-offices and critics, many wonder whether the sequels will be able to live up to the standard set by this first film.