For the fans of the book (I’ve read the entire trilogy of books with my two older kids), it’s hard to see how this movie will disappoint. It’s well done on every level – acting, sets, look. They stayed close to the book – only a couple of scenes were dropped. I was impressed how much of the book they were able to include in the film.
The actors were perfect. These are not kid actors that will have to grow into their role over the course of multiple films – re: Harry Potter. These actors nail their characters. This is the best acting from a teen/tween movie ever. There isn’t even a comparison.
The ONLY annoying thing of the movie is the first few scenes are shot with the ‘shaky’ cam for effect and it doesn’t really work. It ends up looking like someone shot the scenes with their camcorder. Fortunately, they ditch this effect after the two heroes get on the train.
The biggest thing I was worried about with my 12 year old was the violence. It’s a movie basically critiquing a modern-day Rome with kids 12-18 in the arena fighting till the death. I let Camber read the same reviews I read – mainly the IMDB Parent Review – and we discussed it. Did she think she could handle it? How did it compare to other movies he had already seen?
We both decided to take the risk. Nothing else in the movie was worrisome. No language or sexual stuff.
Again, I think the directors did a great job in this area of making the point without being graphic. If anything, this approach made the death of one Tribute particularly moving. Don’t misunderstand me – there is killing. The whole movie is about killing (more on that in a minute). And it’s not grown men in battle, it’s 12 to 18 year olds. It’s not supposed to be alright and acceptable. But most of it is done off-screen with no graphic shots at all.
(You can ask my kids – we actually talk about this kind of stuff when we go to the movies.)
Hunger Games in general is an observation of what happens if humanism gets full freedom in a culture. That’s about as simple as I can make it – hedonism is the core of this but particularly the hedonism of the rich and powerful over everyone else in society.
This so clearly gets painted in the movie – my 12 year-old saw it. This is what happens if there is no God or no moral law.
BUT – I countered – that’s the rub – there is a moral law, a moral code that can not – even in the most extreme of circumstances – be eradicated from humanity. Even in a death match where all know that only one can win – there are some characters that CHOOSE differently. Katniss, District 11 participants, Peeta. They CHOOSE love and honor and morality in spite of circumstance and culture that is “forcing” them to choose differently. It’s the strongest that buck the system and find another way, a better way.
And it comes at great cost – but it was their decision none the less. And love wins out…eventually. Right wins out…eventually. Long term, not necessarily in the short term.
Overall – I think the movie is great. I’d go see it again. I think it is going to break all kinds of records (it already has). What is unfortunate about this series is that the first book was the best of the bunch BY FAR. The next one is good but not as good as Hunger Games and I don’t even want to talk about the third book.
But for now – this is an outstanding movie and has lots of talking points!