Entertaining Platt: The Hunger Games (Movie – 2012)

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Take Stephen King’s The Running Man and The Long Walk. Mix generously with William Goldman’s Lord of the Flies. Add a dose of young adult angst from the Twilight series. Throw in costumes and funky hairdos from The Fifth Element and Amadeus.

Welcome to The Hunger Games!

It doesn’t matter that it is extremely derivative. Derivative can be awesome if it’s done well. In this case, Hunger mostly satisfies. For those who’ve been living under a rock, it’s the story of a girl in post-apocalyptic podunk North America who volunteers to take her little sister’s place in a brutal reality show that pulls young people from twelve districts once a year.

Jennifer Lawrence does an excellent job bringing to life the character of Katniss Everdeen, a young woman who has already grown up too much before being yanked away from her coal-mining town to the Capitol. Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson also deliver solid performances as Kat’s stylist and mentor, respectively.

Really, the acting is great all the way around. Even Donald Sutherland, a master of quiet menace who can sometimes over-camp it, is at his low-key evil best in this movie.

But the movie leaves me wanting in some areas.

First, it felt like it took way too long to get to the actual competition. An odd complaint coming from me, I suppose, because the wait allowed for some decent character development. Still, it seemed draggy, a little heavy around the middle. Like I feel after chomping down a burger at Five Guys.

Second, due to the PG-13 rating, the film’s creators had to throttle back on the violence. There’s lots of fast editing and vague splashes of what might be blood, with mere glimpses of the savagery during the competition. It mutes the message and dulls the impact.

Overall, though, it’s a great effort that makes me look forward to the next installment.

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