The Hunger Games – Reviewed

Normally when a big budget adaptation of a best-selling novel comes out I would read the book first and then watch the film and not enjoy it as much as I did the book. I think that if the book is the original then you should read that before seeing the film based on it. The original is always better in my opinion, although the Harry Potter films were almost as good as the books. Almost.

So we come to another successful franchise based on a YA novel.

I don’t watch trailers of films I know I will watch, and so came to this film completely open minded.

To say that I was disappointed is an overstatement. Underwhelmed is more like.

Having a good knowledge of The Running Man (the film and the story it was based on), Lord of the Flies (the storyline rather than either the book or the film), Nineteen Eighty-Four (the book) and Predator (the film), it seemed there was nothing, absolutely nothing new for me here.

The film starts in a kind of post-apocalyptic rural community where, each year, a boy and a girl from each of the twelve community that make up this world (Panem), is chosen by lottery to enter the Hunger Games, a televised survival-of-the-fittest contest to the death where there can only be one winner. Katniss Everdeen volunteers when her younger sister is chosen, and goes through the training and popularity process (sponsors can help while you are in the jungle fighting for your life, but only if they like you). Then we have the games, which is basically a cross between The Running Man and Lord of the Flies (Battle Royale has also been touted as heavily influencing the story, but that’s basically Lord of the Flies with bullets and on a brutal scale), with some Predator (the jungle setting) thrown in for good measure, with fighting, gangs, hunting, traps and cheating. It gets quite exciting, and the characters are pretty good, Jennifer Lawrence does a solid job as our lead. The story manages to include quite a lot of back story and explanation without getting bogged back, but there is nothing original. We’ve seen all of this before, and apart from putting it all together in a nicely presented package nothing is new.

The Hunger Games would not have been a success if not for the best-selling book series. If the film had a lower budget and wasn’t connected to the books at all no one would have noticed its release. When the next film comes out I won’t be queuing to see it, but I might download a copy and check it out. More than likely I’ll pick up the first book in the series to see if that’s any better. Slightly disappointed.

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3 Responses to “The Hunger Games – Reviewed”

  1. Martin L. Shoemaker Says:

    Yeah, as I get older I realize that a lot of “fresh new stuff” isn’t so new. But I’m trying to learn to filter that out. Star Wars (the original) wasn’t really new if you knew Asimov and Herbert and Smith, but it was new to me at that age.

  2. Blumin’ ‘eck! I subbed my novel – Survival Horror – in for review to Morpeus Tales, so this doesn’t bode well for me. I’ve been promoting my novel as a mix of The Hunger Games, 28 Days Later and The Running Man. My idea was simple: The Running Man, but with zombies.

  3. I was debating whether or not to make the effort to watch this. You have decided for me. Thanks, Stanley!

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