100 movies: The Hunger Games

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100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games (23/03/12)

Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.

Vague disclaimer: I have not read the books. I know very little about the books other than a load of teenagers fighting to the death with only one winner. Very simplistic. But that’s all I knew going into this film.

Right, onto the film. So we have a future world where things ain’t so great for the every day people. But of course there are the city folk who seem to be doing pretty well with themselves. Oh and they look absolutely fabulous. The government’s got the people under their thumb and are doing a pretty damn good job at controlling the people. And then we’ve got The Hunger Games. The chance for the Districts to proudly watch their teenagers fight for their people. To the death. For entertainment.

The Hunger Games brought a couple of films to mind – Battle Royale and The Running Man. With Battle Royale you’ve got the fighting teens and The Running Man’s got the reality TV aspect. Smoosh them together with a bit of a Tween feeling and you’ve got The Hunger Games. But… it just didn’t work all that well for me. Sure, I enjoyed the film and thought it was good enough. But thought there were a fair few things that didn’t work for me in the film.

The whole thing with these kids killing each other for entertainment is pretty damn dark. There were some fairly brutal scenes. But I didn’t think it went far enough. In The Running Man you’ve got the over the top reality TV aspect which was missing here. It was just a by-the-by kind of thing. It wasn’t capitalised enough upon.

The film began to drag a little bit. It is a fairly long film. I’m not adverse to sitting in the cinema for over two hours, but when it begins to feel like more than two hours I start to get a bit ‘eh’. The pacing was great – really snappy, until the games actually got going. Things got slow and I grew a little bored. Well, bored’s a strong word. Restless moreso.

It was hard for me to connect with the characters. Jennifer Lawrence did a great job, but I thought I could feel more invested in Katniss’ plight. I just didn’t. She was just going through the motions. And me watching along with.

The rest of the supporting cast are great. Just wish there was more time spent on them. Though, I guess, it’s not really their story.

There was one point in the film (SPOILER ALERT) when District 12 have their little uprising after a certain death. I didn’t understand why after 74 Hunger Games, after that many deaths, that’s when they really think about things? Really?

I feel like I’m being really hard on the film. Thought it was good. Not great. The fangirls in the cinema loved it, so it must have done a lot of things right. Heck the guy in his 40s sitting in front of me was cradling his head during the last 20 minutes of the film. Just didn’t quite effect me that much.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

25 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)


  1. Haven’t seen Hunger Games yet, but from what little I’ve read of the books it seems oddly ripped off from Battle Royale…

    • It is very much like Battle Royale, with the whole kids killing kids thing. Though with Battle Royale there’s more of a reasoning behind it all. Not sure if it just wasn’t explored in the film and was in the book, but The Hunger Games lacked any reason as to why.

      • It’s probably better explained in the book than in the movie but I just read the first couple chapters of the book and basically it says that The Hunger Games is a way for the Capitol to keep an iron grip on the population and keeping them passive by showing them that they can come and take a boy and a girl from them each and every year and parade them in this brutal game without anyone being able to do anything about it.

        • If the film had made a bigger deal of this aspect, I think there would have been more of an emotional punch when Katniss volunteered. It was an emotional scene, but there was only one side of it – Katniss’ desire to protect her sister. There was lacking an overall feeling of fear.

  2. Thank goodness! I knew I can count on a solid rating of ‘3’ and I haven’t seen the film. It seemed like about a 3. To be honest, I kinda like the all out 86’ing-survival-of-the-fittest sport about the film. Since I am loyal to the Japanese film ‘Batoru Rowaiaru’ or ‘Battle Royale’ I’m glad you at least enjoyed the prettied up version of the film and I like that you stated why wait until 74 games to rebel? After that many matches, I think many of them were handling it in stride. Great review and good to see you back!

    • Battle Royale’s got the edge over this film because it’s brutal. Hunger Games, you’ve got the characters’ romance going on, which there was a lot of focus on. Clearly aimed at the tween market.

  3. Would definitely agree with you that I wish there had been more time spent on the supporting characters, which would add depth to them. I’m also with you in that the games part was a bit long – and that’s unfortunate, given that the games take up only 1/3 of the book! The earlier parts were a bit rushed through to get to “the action” part. That’s one of my biggest complaints, and I read all the books, so your thoughts/questions make complete sense there, Jaina ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, I think characters mean more when you’ve made connections with them, reading the books. There’s a higher expectation when you already love these characters and the story and hope for them to mean just as much to you when watching them on screen. Perhaps that will explain the sad 40-year-old dude in the theater ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Bless that 40 year old dude. He was so into it!

      Fleshing out the supporting characters and delving a bit more into the whole sponsorship thing are my biggest gripes. The fantastic supporting characters felt almost just like wall decorations.

  4. Not sure how I missed your review. I love how candid you are in this, Jaina. Brought up some stuff I hadn’t thought about…

    You’ve seen Battle Royale, huh? I was curious just how close the 2 were to each other. Which do you like more?

    Great review.

    • To me Battle Royale and The Hunger Games form a resemblance because the whole part of the teenagers killing each other. Battle Royale is more visceral. More violent. But the violence there, I think, was more called for.

      The reason the teenagers were set about to fight to the death was because there, if I remember rightly, teenagers in Japan were becoming more unruly. Youth violence was a major issue. Which is where the Battle Royale act, introduced by the government, came into things.

      Sure there are parallels but the main similarity is the kids killing kids aspect. The reasonings are different. But I still think BR, no matter how ridiculous a film it is, got the message across better than The Hunger Games did.

  5. YES. You are not alone, Jaina. I haven’t read the books either, and I felt underwhelmed after watching the movie. It was enjoyable, yes, but the lack of character development was disappointing, and I also questioned the whole uprising scene. It seems to be one of those movies where reading the book is required to get the most out of it.

    • Thank you Eric! I was feeling so alone on thinking that The Hunger Games was just an average film.

      Agree with you whole heartedly on the character development. I didn’t feel there was an arc at all, apart from the Katniss’ route to and through the games.

      The uprising scene felt like it came from nowhere. Small children were getting killed for SEVENTY FOUR previous games.

  6. kids killing kids I also found disturbing, especially that its such a box office hit (fingers crossed nobody gets inspired in the real world)

    The costumes of the city folk certainly are different and futuristic, can you imagine anyone dressed up like that in today’s world, maybe only would happen on the catwalk ( :

    • There is one guy I’ve seen a couple of times in my local shopping centre who comes close to those in Panem. Every time I’ve seen him he’s wearing a different brightly coloured, very shiny suit. Including cane and hat. I need to get a photo of him!

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