Information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/
Set in a future totalitarian North America. The capitol are holding their 74th annual edition of “The Hunger Games” – a reality television show where 24 children must fight to the death.
The opening scenes of The Hunger Games are indeed the best scenes of the movie. There’s a raw intensity to them; the atmosphere of a struggling totalitarian world is immediately created, and we root for the characters immediately. To be more precise, the best scene of the movie is the “reaping” scene, in this scene, every child and teenager effectively waits for their death, as they discover which boy and girl will battle to the death.
This scene is perhaps the most moving, and arguably most disturbing scene in the movie. We pan across the faces of innocent youthful children, some attempting to be brave, some sobbing. Either way, none of them can be considered to be feeling ‘ecstatic’ about potentially being murdered with a cross-bow, or a knife (or, having a brick smashed across your face…take your pick). This is then contrasted with a woman more ‘fabulously dressed’ than Lady GaGa, named ‘Effie Trink’ (Elizabeth Banks). She walks slowly, smiling and filled with joy, to the bowl with the names of the potential competitors in, and begins to slip her hand in and take out a random envelope.
“Ladies first” Trinket says; she picks out an envelope, only to reveal that a young timid girl called ‘Prim’ has been selected. Moments later, her sister, ‘Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) screams, wails and demands that she is to replace her sister. Effectively, suicide. We now sympathise with Katniss and with all of the other children, and we’re borderline disgusted at the state. Later on, we find out that the competitors must get sponsors in order to survive (“it’s television!”), and we’re offered with moments oozing with light satire as we see how the competitors gain fans (we’re reminded of talent show competitions such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X-Factor). Not only that, but this section involves the only funny section in the film (it involves an apple…).
So a harsh satirical tone was set, and I thought that The Hunger Games had the potential to be something better than a teen blockbuster, to be a movie that says something quite profound about state-control and reality TV. The Hunger Games appeared to have some degree of intelligence. Unfortunately, as the film progressed, all of this was lost.
The disturbing atmosphere is abandoned from then on, and The Hunger Games descends into something trivial and infuriating as it appears to almost sugar-coat its subject matter: everyone in Panem wears bright and cheery clothing, Seneca Crane has a silly beard, there’s cheap cliche dialogue, moments of comedy which just aren’t funny. The disturb is thrown away with uncomic comedy, and what makes it worse is the fact that it isn’t satirical in the slightest, when it’s clearly trying to be.
In simple terms, my one main criticism of this film is that it should be darker, and this is not just a criticism of the film but also of the book it is adapted from. The book is classed as “Young Adult Fiction”, a genre which essentially doesn’t know what its target audience is. Is it for kids, or is it for an older audience? For the ‘young’, or for the ‘adult’? It has dark subject matter, yet it is aimed at a younger audience; is this film a cross between Lord of the Flies and Twilight?
In my opinion, The Hunger Games is better suited to an adult audience rather than just 12 certificate ‘popcorn entertainment’. It should be a bleaker vision, there should be more crying, more moments of disturb, more moments of panic, more glimpses of human nature – it should have more violence, more pain, more upset: so much so that it has a 15 certificate.
To be brutally honest, this film shouldn’t be a ‘popcorn film’, it should be a harsh psychological thriller, which leaves you shocked, disturbed and terrified as you leave the screening room. As I left, I just heard laughter.
A film with flashes of brilliance: the odd moment of disturb, human nature and survival. However, this dark atmosphere wasn’t kept up, and is essentially – in my opinion – the films most obvious downfall.