Jennifer Lawrence is compelling at best as she faces 23 other tributes in a national must-see TV event called The Hunger Games.

Synopsis

Based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel collection, The Hunger Games brings us into a dystopian world where every year on Reaping Day, the Capitol picks a teenage boy and girl from each of twelve districts to compete in The Hunger Games. Panem’s thirteen districts once waged war on the Capitol, leaving one of these sectors obliterated and the rest defeated. To remind the citizens of their rebellion and misconduct, a nationally televised event called The Hunger Games was invented in which each ‘Tribute’ must fight one another to stay alive. The last boy or girl standing will earn an annual supply of goodies and a respectable reputation for his or her district.

Characters

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Mention The Hunger Games and immediately Katniss Everdeen comes to mind. And for good reason too. Jennifer Lawrence gives a stunning performance as the main protagonist, holding the film together with her tenacious acting chops and tough-as-bricks demeanour. Fierce yet vulnerable, Jennifer portrays the perfect rendition of ‘The Girl on Fire’ in a way that only this Oscar-nominated starlet can – perfect. Director Gary Ross hits a bullseye with this one.

We were very much pleased with the film’s overall casting, seeing how each character held their own ground. From Katniss’ younger sister Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) to the ever vibrant Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and enigmatic host/interviewer Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), each character was perfectly cast, bringing the story to life.

Josh Hutcherson as ‘The Boy With The Bread’, Peeta Mellark, is nothing short of delightful. His protective streak over Katniss and genuine kindness are enough to make him a crowd favourite.

Despite downplaying the drunk and cranky personality, Woody Harrelson makes for a pretty hilarious Haymitch while handsome musician Lenny Kravitz dazzles as Katniss’ talented stylist Cinna.

Highlights

Besides splendid casting, the film’s intensity will leave you at the edge of your seat. The Cornucopia bloodbath is thoroughly thrilling without stepping over the PG-13 rating. Leaving us slightly breathless is the final battle involving a pack of vicious wolves (Mutts) and the boisterous Cato.

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Another significant component in the film is Katniss’ friendship with Rue (Amandla Sternberg), which is both lovely and absolutely heartbreaking.

Look out for the fiery costumes in the opening ceremonies as well as interviews

Look out for the fiery costumes in the opening ceremonies as well as interviews

Verdict

Without straying too far from the novel, the film manages to make it through 142 minutes of fun, drama and intensity. Since the novel itself has such a strong narrative framework, some tweaks were made to the script namely the roles of President Snow and Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane being amped up in the film to give audiences an alternative perspective.

A scene which always gets to us is the three-fingered salute signifying thanks, admiration and goodbye to a loved one.

A scene which always gets to us is the three-fingered salute signifying thanks, admiration and goodbye to a loved one.

Distinction between District 12 (as well as other Districts) and the Capitol is perfectly presented – the former a remote mining outlet while the latter a luxurious and extremely unorthodox society. The outdoor arena in the 74th annual Hunger Games is pretty accurate with massive and ample fireballs, tracker-jackers as well as mockingjay tunes to keep us satisfied. (We can’t wait to see how the arena will be presented on the big screen in the sequel Catching Fire, where the Quarter Quell takes place.)

A downside to the film is the romance facet between Katniss and Peeta. Perhaps more dramatic gestures could have been implied to showcase Katniss playing along with the whole ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ idea. Strategies were very much softened in this case.

 Overall, a satisfying film that exhibits willpower and heart. Jennifer Lawrence’s effortless poise proves to us once again that she’s the epitome of a real talent. The film is well-executed enough that no prior reading needs to be done to fully understand the plot. Although certain details are left out in the film (e.g. Mayor and his daughter, Madge), we think it’s safe to say that The Hunger Games will not disappoint even the most loyal of fans.

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Rating: 4/5

Book your tickets now at the Cathay Cineplexes!

Written by: mrandmrsraveous