Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hunger Games

If you're at all plugged into pop culture, chances are you've at least heard of 'The Hunger Games'.  It's a wildly popular book from 2008, the first of a trilogy, and has been a highly anticipated movie for some time.  Well, get ready for what will surely be the first mega-successful blockbuster of the year, because unlike 'John Carter', this one's actually pretty good.

I didn't know much at all about the storyline, which is the way I prefer to go into a movie.  So I won't ruin any of it for those of you who feel the same.  But to give you a flavor, the story takes place in a post apocalyptic society where 24 teenagers are selected at random every year against their will to compete in a reality television show, which ends when only one person remains.  Call this one 'Survivor' meets 'The Running Man'.  For my money, that's a pretty good pitch and it works really well, at least for the majority of the 2 hour and 22 minute runtime, which doesn't feel long at all.  The lead is played by Jennifer Lawrence ('Winter's Bone') who gives a fine performance, while Josh Hutcherson ('Journey to the Center of the Earth' and 'Journey 2') is satisfactory at best.  The supporting cast is great though, including Woody Harrelson (who continues to be one of my favorite actors of late), Stanley Tucci (as the over-the-top host a la Richard Dawson from 'The Running Man'), Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, and Lenny Kravitz.  The action scenes are exciting and with a real sense of danger (even though it's pretty obvious the protagonist's safety is guaranteed until at least the end.)  But the violence isn't excessive or gratuitous, thus making this PG-13 film ok for teens.  All in all, I was totally into it, at least until the end when a few cheesy turns occur, headed to a way too cheesy ending.  I understand this is a fault of the book rather than the movie, and unfortunately a necessary evil in order to make this appreciable by the masses, and particularly the targeted teenage girl demographic, but I would have preferred it to be more than a smidge darker.  But that's how I roll.

Grade: A


  1. This is why you should read the books. As it's a trilogy you haven't actually gotten to the ending yet, so you'll have to wait for your smidge of darkness...

    I thought the movie was great and true to the books. There were definitely times where I felt the books read like a screenplay, so it's no surprise it translated so well to the big screen. While I agree there is a bit of cheese in this movie it doesn't bother me that much. Although I suppose I'm 'the masses' that need to be accommodated.

    In short - whether you read the books or not, go see this!

  2. Hey Bri - big shout out to you today in particular, hoping that you had a romping good time on the Fox Philadelphia station this morning. Good stuff! I was overwhelmed and SO excited to hear that the Philly Fox audience got to check out Fliederific this morning.

  3. Holy heck, Bri - that Philly appearance was absolutely AWESOME. David just watched and called to direct me to the myfoxphilly site, and I found it under the Good Day tab. You ROCKED! They have to bring you back regularly - this was spectacular. Smooth as butter. Your our fave critic ever!! Here's the link:

  4. Is the review up early cause of the Fox appearance? No heads up for the local audience, cmon, haha. Good job. I probably would've seen the movie but now I am looking forward to it based on your review.

  5. TMcG, I posted my review early because they lifted the embargo on reviews early. Generally we are not allowed to post reviews ahead of release date. But they made an exception for this one as of Tuesday.

    The Martins, thank you for the praise! I'm not worthy!

    Good points, Taralyn. You read the books and I haven't, so you definitely have more information than me!