There has been a lot of media attention and general Twilight-esque obsession over the release of the first Hunger Games movie; but is the hype justified?
Despite the fact that comparisons to Battle Royale are well-founded (sending young people to fight to the death with only one victor because of a rebellion that happened is a description of which movie?), there are plenty of other comparisons one could easily make. Everyone is dressed as if they’re attending a Demolition Man convention, for example, and there’s a smouldering love interest watching jealously as the weird stalker gets the girl, as in Twilight – I don’t think that I personally am ever going to understand the current trend for “I’ve been following you around and watching you secretly” being followed by “awesome, let’s kiss” rather than “where are the police, I called them ages ago?”.
But for all that, there’s no need to write off The Hunger Games just because it might have similarities to other films – after all, there is such a thing as riding the Zeitgeist, and it sells. With a cast made of relatively inexperienced and unknown actors alongside faces such as Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz, the mix is just right, positioning this somewhere between teen thriller and A-List blockbuster. The games themselves do not begin for quite some time, as instead we are introduced to the characters, seeing them grow and train together for a while and even getting some character development in the form of flashbacks and memories. Although the film feels quite long, it certainly benefits from this first segment.
Talking of fighting, though, there isn’t much of it. The lower rating seems to have been calculated to attract younger fans, but there’s a chance it will put older ones off. After all, what’s a fight to the death without much actual violence? I also could not help but feel as though certain moments would have been more understandable if I’d read the book, which is always a bit of a disappointment.