Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games: Raw and Violent Beauty

I’ve decided to write a review of Hunger Games even though most of the known world has already seen it. 3rd biggest opening of all time? That’s crazy! I guess this is one of those rare times where pop culture (the book), the tween audience (AKA twilight fans), women (like the love triangle), men (like the violence), geeks (awesome nerd factor) and Hollywood (stellar cast) all combine to create an ultimate box office champ if you will. I am not going to bother with a brief plot synopsis because if you don’t know already you have been living under a rock, or in Russia.

The Hunger games opens unexpectedly on a conversation taking place on a television show with all its glitz and glamor then cuts to the decrepit plight of those living in District 12, one subservient area that are oppressed by the Capital. It's this juxtaposition that builds the strength of the film. The constant sense of unfairness, of unnecessary opulence by the capital, of underlying fear and horror for anyone that lives in one of the tribute districts that bring the tension and power of the film.

It’s no secret that Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers as tribute for her district in the 74th annual Hunger games, which pits two children from each district against one another to the death. What the movie brings is a subtlety to the emotions running through Kat, through Her friends, through the other tributes (except heavy-handed Cato) and through her family. Everyone knows the games are a farce, a dreaded punishment and yet everyone participates. “What if we all just stopped watching,” proposes Gale, the one constant in Katniss' life. It’s enough to question our own motives to take part in exploitive behavior and even in some sense to even be watching a movie about kids killing one another.

What I really loved about the movie is the artistry and emotion. I truly felt for the oppressed, I truly loathed the access. I truly cared what happened to Katniss, Rue, Peeta and even some of the nastier characters. Aside from the acting, the filmmaking went beyond the book. Hallucinations from the tracker Jack stings were vividly realized, death is with reverence and beauty and even a killing field can be humanized by the appearance of a single butterfly that kisses the tip of your finger. The use of the ‘televised’ portion of the games came in handy to explain to a general audience the finer details of the dangers, but it is in the images of the trees, the smell of the soil, the stickiness of the blood and earnestness of the glances that the film really earns its emotion, and the involvement of its audience as well.

Final Consensus:
See it now!!!!
See it in theaters!!!
Rent it on DVD/BluRay!!
Wait for it on TV!
Don’t Bother