The Hunger Games, if you didn’t already know, is set in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic country of Panem or North America as we know it today. Panem is split into 12 Districts with a shining, wealthy Capitol who exert their power over the proles by entering a boy and a girl from every district, to fight to the death, into the annual Hunger Games. The film reflects the book perfectly as District 12 is shown as a dusty, 1984-esque, bleak wasteland that forces Katniss Everdeen to escape to the leafy, green woods, with her close friend Gale, to hunt. The journey to The Capitol reflects how the elite live, while the rest of the country starves, with lavish food, expensive furniture (mahogany to be precise) and a team of stylists to transform the tributes before they’re thrown into the arena to bludgeon each other to death. It’s America’s Next Top Cadaver to quote Xan Brooks
Peeta Mullark, the male tribute from District 12 who’s played by Josh Hutcherson, fawns over Katniss for the entirety of the film, shocks the capitol during interviews with the amazing Stanley Tucci and magically transforms into a rock. There are also appearances from favourite video camera obsessed loner Wes Bentley who sports some amazing facial hair and everyone’s favourite psycho Russian orphan Isabelle Fuhrman who again, goes a bit psycho and attempts to kill everyone. Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks provide the much needed humour that balances out all that killing and bounce off each other as the depressed, alcoholic mentor Haymitch Abernathy and the peppy, glamorous Effie Trinket. And then there’s Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, the smart, brave heroine of the film. She doesn’t fawn, she doesn’t whinge and she certainly doesn’t give up. Finally! A strong female character that teenage girls can look up to!
There are moments that contrast with the bloodshed, constant surveillance and manipulation of the battle arena that will leave you weeping and cheering, sometimes at the same time. Yes people actually cheered during the film! The Hunger Games is a spectacular, fast paced, exciting action film with the only explosion scene that I can tolerate, heartfelt moments that contrast with the murder and an ending that leaves you hungry for more. Oh and the next person to compare The Hunger Games to Battle Royale gets a lengthy rant from me.