Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Hunger Games ~ movie review

DISCLAIMER
For those of who have followed my blog near the beginning, you may remember my post against a book called The Hunger Games. I had read a few reviews that pointed out several issues of morality in it, and, in addition to hearing these reviews, I also have a disdain for almost all popular books because they usually turn out to be stupid or immoral (in my opinion). However, I have always been intrigued by anything in the dystopian genre, and The Hunger Games did sound like my kind of "thing". I also want to be able to post honest reviews of something I was unsure about...because if it isn't appropriate, I want to be able to warn people, but not by using someone else's review. And so...I finally watched the movie.

If you're wondering what is the reason for this disclaimer...it's just to let you all know that I don't want this review to be another of those "The Hunger Games is so awesome and there could be nothing ever wrong with it!" posts. I am not one to take any immorality in movies lightly.




In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.


Cast:
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket


WHAT I LOVED
I was shocked when I saw The Hunger Games...in a good way. The movie was quite good and definitely plays on the emotions, down to the little things like Katniss' little sister, Prim, tucking in the back of her shirt even when she's walking towards pretty certain death. There's also the big things, like Katniss sacrificing herself for her sister, or giving Rue a burial after her death (most beautiful scene in the entire movie). However, it was not so much the story itself, but really the elements surrounding the story that blew me away... A society that has reverted back in morality to the days of the gladiator, glorifying death. The rich show their immaturity in dress and in the way they act in the stands. The immoral thirst for bloodshed. The entertainment shows complete with a ridiculous host, laugh track, and the show itself being just wrong. The fictional world of Panem felt so real, and chillingly close to the way our world is now.

the rich in stands
But it was one of the last scenes that really hit home. Let me provide some back story to explain (as spoiler free as possible).

Seneca Crane is the master of games, under the cruel President Snow. By a "mistake" at the end of this year's games, he is quickly moved out of the President's favour. Requested for an audience with the President, Seneca enters an empty room. No President here... only a glassful of poisonous berries. The message is very clear - not only what the berries mean to Seneca, but also to the whole system. Relationships are very unstable here. It is those who are highest up in power and favour that are the
Cinna wishing Katniss good luck
closest to death. One false move, and you're out. It's just like you might read about in a historical fiction with a cruel king. Or, as Suzanne Collins points out... just like in our society today.

The friendship within the movie is really nice, too. Cinna, the guy who designs costumes for the tributes, is the first person in Panem is to be really and truly kind to Katniss. Haymitch, who appears gruff and insociable on the outside, sends Katniss ointment for her injury and soup for a sick Peeta during the games.



WHAT I DIDN'T CARE FOR
Katniss isn't the most likeable character. And while Mrs. Everdeen is portrayed as a weak woman, although she definitely loves and cares for her daughters, Katniss' behaviour towards her just before the games is inexcusable. I know that she is worried for her sister, but it seems like she doesn't care for her mother at all. First, Katniss acts as if her mother barely exists, and then she angrily tells her that she has to take care of Prim because Katniss isn't there to do it for her anymore.

Katniss Everdeen
I hated all the killing, but who likes seeing the worst of humanity? I like that Katniss never kills anyone, except to defend herself. However, there is one quick scene with her that I didn't like. Katniss and her friend Peeta are the last children standing (literally and figuratively). There is one more young boy who is being attacked by digital dogs. He is being tortured and he screams for mercy. Katniss raises her bow and "mercifully" kills the boy. I don't agree with this because we are not in control of who lives or dies. God is - and only Him because only He is wise and good enough to be in charge of this. The boy did try to kill Katniss and Peeta earlier, but he wasn't trying to kill them now, so the kill wasn't in self-defence and was, therefore, unacceptable.

The whole thing with the eating-poisonous-berries-together-because-we're-not-going-to-kill-each-other at the end was a nice thought, but it's really similar to the problem above. Katniss probably guessed that the game makers would make sure to stop her and Peeta because they need a winner...but if not, she and Peeta would have committed suicide. That's not all right.

And, finally, there's the problem with the Careers (the gang of kids from Districts 1 & 2). These kids have supposedly been training for the Hunger Games all their lives. So how come they can't climb trees and every arrow they shoot in Katniss' way misses? The Careers are obviously stupid, as well because they only make three attempts to kill Katniss and then they go to sleep beneath the tree... without setting a watch. That's called lazy writing, folks.



Seneca... why do you think we have a winner? I mean, if we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four at random and execute them all at one? It would be a lot faster. Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it's contained.
- President Snow


IN SUMMARY
Besides a few things here and there, this movie is surprisingly quite good.

Alyianna's reviews: 8 out of 10


Katniss buries her friend Rue

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