It seems that recently, everyone has been gobbling up the film adaptation of the first book in Suzanne Collins’ popular Hunger Games series. Already, the movie has claimed fifth place in a ranking of opening night box office hits, coming in just behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part two and the Twilight films. I wouldn’t bet on a decrease in ticket sales anytime soon.
Is all this hype well deserved? In my opinion, yes. I recently had the pleasure of seeing the film with my children and can tell you first-hand that it is spectacular.
Initially, I took their enthusiasm for the release with a grain of salt, for a number of reasons our taste in cinema varies. Among these are age, life experience, and basic personal preferences. Also, I still haven’t forgotten their promise that I would love the first Twilight film, the only one I sat through. Let me just say that they were unfortunately unable to keep their word.
Lo’ and behold, The Hunger Games was a pleasant surprise. This movie is more than an action-packed thriller, though it certainly packs a punch. Bloody, violent, and cruel it is at the same time an introspective and emotional piece that stares into the dark abyss that is human nature. It forces us to question how we would react if our survival came at the cost of the survival of others.
It is also a chilling portrait of a nation laboring beneath the iron-fist of an uncaring government. The series paints a grim picture of the results of apathy with one’s governing, a warning that will not go astray in our own political climate. The movie demands revolution, of both society and spirit.
The revolution required is not merely with the government though. A second theme is obvious in the Hunger Games. As other writers from previous times, Collins reflects our societies problem with airing our laundry on television; Reality television to be precise. There is a fear of the mind numbing power of t.v. and the hold it has over us. A sort of Roman bread-and-circuses distraction from the important issues facing us.
As for the cinematography, it is absolutely superb. This is of course an amateur opinion, but I felt that Gary Ross, the director, really brought out the deeper emotions and motivations of the characters. The dialog never felt stilted or forced, it moved the story along nicely and really enhanced the character development. He did especially well with the capturing of the poverty and discontent of Panem’s citizens. The special effects in this film were also very well done.
I definitely recommend this movie to any and all, though I would pay attention to the pg-13 rating in regards to younger children as the film is intensely violent with very graphic portrayals of murder and death.