Movie review: “The Hunger Games”


I read “The Hunger Games” last summer when Partner and I were vacationing on Cape Cod.  It’s a quick and compelling read: lots of suspense (which I normally hate), violent, sentimental. 



The movie came out a few weeks ago.  Partner and I waited until this past weekend to see it, to allow the crowds to thin out (you may have heard that the movie had the third-largest opening in Hollywood history).



Positive news first:



·       Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, the intense deadly heroine, is just about perfect.

·       Liam Hemsworth (aka “Thor’s brother”) is dark and brooding and handsome as Gale, Katniss’s darkly broodingly handsome boyfriend.

·       Stanley Tucci is wonderful as a noisy empty television announcer with blue hair.  Donald Sutherland freezes the camera with every glance as President Snow. Woody Harrelson can really act.  And Lenny Kravitz, who was so unexpectedly good in “Precious,” turns in another low-key precise performances as Cinna the hair/makeup guy. 

·       Also, like the book: lots of action, lots of tension, lots of suspense.  The movie departs frequently from the book, but it makes the story a lot more accessible for those who haven’t read the book.



Now the not-so-good stuff:



·       You notice I didn’t mention Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, the doe-eyed baker’s boy.  Well, meh.  You can only get so far playing vulnerable, and Peeta looks like he’s about to burst into tears at any moment. 

·       The cinematography is shaky and unfocused.  I know it’s supposed to make you feel that you’re running through the underbrush with Peeta and Katniss, but it just feels blurred and sloppy after a while. 

·       Speaking of blurry: when Katniss finally kills someone, the camera conveniently goes out of focus so that you can’t see the death.  You can explain this away any way you like – Katniss’s remorse, blah blah blah – but Partner and I agreed afterward that this was mostly a way to get the movie a PG-13 rating.  (It’s one thing to read a book about twenty-four teenagers trying to kill one another, but just try making a movie out of it!)

·       Also filed under “cinematography”: I am always irked by movies that present long complicated scenes in thick darkness, so that you can’t see what’s going on.  I was mildly pleased by “Hunger Games” on this score, because the first few nighttime scenes were clear and well-photographed.  Well, without ruining the movie too much for you, I will tell you that the climactic finale scene takes place in the dark, and I had no idea what was going on most of the time. 

·       The movie, unlike the book, flags frequently.  We get long pastoral moments, long romantic moments, long meaningful-glances moments . . .



Ah well.  It wasn’t bad, I suppose. 



And it had a bigger opening weekend than any of the “Twilight” movies.



Which means that the world may not be coming to an end after all.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: