Story updated on Mar. 25, originally published Mar. 23
Director Gary Ross turns a gruesome tale of hope and fear into a choppy emotionless story with mediocre action in his adaptation of “Hunger Games.”
Based on the scientific young adult novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, the film introduces the annual televised event known as “The Hunger Games,” where two teenagers, known as tributes, are chosen from the 12 districts of Panem to come together and fight to the death until one is declared the victor. The story centers around the struggles of a sixteen year old tribute from District 12 named Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her fight for survival in the 74th Hunger Games.
The film does a great job with its adaptation of “The Capitol” and capturing the ruggedness of the Katniss’s home in the “Seam” and “The Hob,” a place equivalent to a black market in District 12. I was also pleased with the fact that the film featured the Gamemakers’ operation of designing the Hunger Games. The actual Hunger Games played out very nicely with each aspect of the Games being highlighted and explained.
However, I wanted the Games to be a little more violent. The intense, cringing feeling that I felt while reading the novel became nonexistent during the film. The point of the Hunger Games is to elicit fear from not only the characters but the audience as well. Unfortunately Ross did not make the Hunger Games exciting or terrifying, but rather tepid with its minimal blood and gore.
Along with the missing feeling of horror, the main leads, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, have no chemistry and Lawrence maintains an expressionless face throughout the film. Still, Hutcherson’s portrayal of “lover boy” Peeta Mellark hits the mark with his adorable expressions and swooning smile.
The biggest disappointment was how much the film strayed from the novel. While I was not expecting it to follow the book completely, the film left out so many details that become the main focus in the second and third novels of the trilogy. If Ross somehow miraculously salvages these details in the sequel “Catching Fire” then I will let go of my animosity towards him for taking them out in the first film.
Overall the film is a lackluster interpretation of the book and has left me, as a fan of the series, unsatisfied with the result.
Scale: ½ a Rice Bowl