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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

‘The Hunger Games’ satisfies but lacks excellence

“The Hunger Games” isn’t an excellent film by a long shot.

I didn’t read the books before watching the movie, so all I knew before seeing the movie was that the series is absolutely huge, causing people who don’t read at all to crack open a book for once.

I’m not sure why, since the movie adaptation from writer/director Gary Ross (director of “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit”) is an above average science fiction story that is entertaining but not exceptional in any way.

“The Hunger Games” is set in a futuristic America ruled by a repressive government that bizarrely goes out of its way to torture its citizens by forcing every district to send two teenagers to fight to the death in the titular event. This setting makes “Dragon Ball Z” look realistic.

The movie follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a 16 year old girl from District 12. She volunteers for the Games in place of her little sister; also joining her in the contest is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who has had an unrequited crush on Katniss since childhood.

This movie could have been terrible because of how strange the setting is but strong performances save the day. Lawrence,Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson as Heymitch, a drunken but likable mentor and Wes Bentley as Seneca, the director of the Hunger Games, all deliver great performances that ground the setting in reality.

The best part of “The Hunger Games” was its subversive characterization. In a bold move for Hollywood, Katniss is one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve seen while Peeta was resembled a damsel. This is the polar opposite of “Twilight,” which featured a weak female protagonist in Bella, and I’m glad this movie exists for this reason alone.

The dialogue was nothing special. There weren’t any particularly stupid lines but I can’t think of anything quotable besides the tagline, “May the odds ever be in your favor.” Despite that, the writing lacked depth. I felt as though the movie missed out on a satirical angle. It didn’t have to be “Network,” but the idea of a lethal reality show run by the government could have been rather timely and interesting to see. “The Hunger Games” isn’t hurt by this, but it would have made it a great movie instead of a good one.

What really hurt “The Hunger Games” were the special effects. In the long running tradition of movies after 1999 having terrible visual effects, we have CGI dog monsters that look exactly like the Mabari war hounds from the video game “Dragon Age: Origins.” They’re obviously not real.

There is also a visually dull sequence which simply uses boring camera movement and distortion to show that Katnisshas been poisoned. Considering the filmmakers were able to make entire crowds of people look like Johnny Depp from Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” I’m a little curious as to how they couldn’t make a hallucination sequence look interesting.

Despite its flaws, I’m not mad at “The Hunger Games.” It’s a good way to spend two and a half hours thanks to good acting and the subversion of gender roles should be lauded. However, bad visual effects and a lack of depth prevent the movie from being truly great.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as 'Katniss Everdeen' in THE HUNGER GAMES.
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About the Contributor
John Kesler
John Kesler, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2012. Staff member, fall 2011.

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‘The Hunger Games’ satisfies but lacks excellence