“The Hunger Games” proves to be the next huge phenomenon
This past weekend brought the long-awaited arrival of the film “The Hunger Games,” which astoundingly raked in $155 million during its opening weekend. That number gave the film the third highest-grossing opening weekend in Hollywood history, surpassing the “Twilight” series and “Spider-Man 3.”
The film, based on the first book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, tells the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where North America is broken up into 12 districts ruled by the Capitol.
There were once 13 districts, but after the districts rebelled against the Capitol, the 13th was destroyed. As punishment for all of the other districts, each district must offer up a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in a televised Hunger Games, where each “tribute” hunts the others in an arena, leaving only one sole survivor.
After her 12-year-old sister, Primrose, is picked to participate in the games, Katniss volunteers her own life to save her sister’s. Along with Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from her home (District 12), Katniss travels to the Capitol to begin training for the games.
Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for her role in the independent film “Winter’s Bone,” carries the film as Katniss. From the opening minutes of her interactions with her sister in the film, Lawrence embodies the strength, pain and vigilance that are the major characteristics of Katniss in the novels. Even under pressure from a huge fanbase, Lawrence never falters, creating a Katniss that truly came to life off of the pages of the novel.
Additionally, Josh Hutcherson, as Peeta Mellark, captures the kindness and warmth that Peeta provides throughout the series. Upon being cast, Hutcherson encountered backlash from fans due to his physical features that differed from the blonde, muscular build of Peeta in the books. Hutcherson overcame the backlash, dyeing his hair blonde, and putting on 15 pounds of muscle to become the beloved Peeta Melark. Lawrence and Hutcherson capture the chemistry that is necessary in the two most important roles in the series.
Surprisingly, the most memorable role in the film is that of Caesar Flickerman, played by Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci. In the novel, Caesar is a minor role, being the commentator who interviews all of the tributes and family members during the duration of the games. Here, Caesar is given a larger role, providing comic relief in a film of such serious and tragic subject matter. Tucci showcases his comedic chops, bringing the innocent and vain Caesar to life.
The movie captures the action of the novels, becoming an entertaining adventure for all audiences. With a tantalizing score, each moment is mesmerizing, from the moment Katniss takes her sister’s place to the moment she finally eats a full-course meal and holds a dying tribute in her arms.
The one flaw in the film, however, is the lack of darkness that carries the novel. Collins’ major theme of the first book was the fault of society and how the games were a type of reality show that showed children killing one another. The film never illustrates the Capitol watching the Games as a type of sick and brutal entertainment, providing an almost happy conclusion to a heart-wrenching novel.
Overall, this film will make fans of “The Hunger Games” even more obsessed than they already are, and should even win over some new fans.
4.5 out of 5 Dolphins