The World Will Be Watching, And So Should You!
There's no denying that as adaptations go, The Hunger Games is pretty much as faithful a take on Suzanne Collins' brilliant fantasy novel as we were ever going to get. However, as many movies (e.g. Deathly Hallows Part 2; Never Let Me Go) have learned before, mimicking your source material efficiently isn't always enough to subsequently make for engaging viewing. Fans worrying that I'm leading into the revelation that this thrilling flick disappoints as a standalone piece can breath a sigh of relief, though.
Jennifer Lawrence in particular performs beautifully, ensuring that we remain loyal and confident in Katniss Everdeen's valiant fight to win for District 12 alongside Joe Hutcherson's equally lovable Peeta in a bloodbath of a competition where the only guarantee is that not everyone will make it out alive. Throughout the movie there are some great, intensely emotional setpieces- the death of one young Tribute particularly resonanted with me- that will provide a number of highlights for fans and newcomers alike when the credits roll, and on a wider scale I reckon that's doubly telling of the major potential Collins' trilogy has on the big screen if it continues to develop and flourish as the opening instalment's stars, direction and narrative do along the way.
There are a few problems that hold this back from Film of the Year status, however: the CGI is weak for starters, and to be frank that's an understatement, not to mention the post-apocalyptic world of districts and the Capital is portrayed in perhaps the most grimly stereotypical way of recent times. I would dismiss these aesthetic flaws instantaneously if they were the film's only gripes, but the one other major bugbear is that Collins and her fellow screenwriters ask a lot of members of the audience who haven't read the book, whizzing through a brief summary of the situation at hand's context in the opening moments and unashamedly leaving plot threads wide open to be dealt with in the inevitable sequel due for release next November. Although there's a possibility that the author of the original knew she would be commissioned for a sequel when writing the book, the allusions to things to come were much less obvious there, as well as making a lot more sense without having read the latter two novels. I don't want you to come out of this review thinking you should give The Hunger Games a miss of course, quite the contrary- you'll regret skipping Hunger Games now, as it's a visceral, thrilling cinematic experience that deserves to be seen on the big screen and showcases the massive potential this film franchise has when it picks up the pieces of the gripping narrative next year and beyond.