Movie Review: The Hunger Games











News flash!  “The Hunger Games” isn’t ALL THAT!  I deliberately avoid reading a book before seeing the movie.  Maybe afterwards.  But, I saw nothing in this much-anticipated film that would make me WANT to read the over-hyped novel that started this craze.

Yes, I realize it’s number-one on the best-seller list.  But, that means nothing to me if the filmmaker’s vision is off the mark.  This movie has problems that are hard to overlook.

But, let’s start on a positive note:  Jennifer Lawrence.  This is an actress with amazing potential.  Her Oscar nomination for “Winter’s Bone” was no fluke.  She has talent in spades.  I’m gratified to learn that “Hunger” fans have more-or-less bestowed their blessing on her performance as Katniss Everdeen.  The only downside is that she may have to reprise the role.

Now for today’s sermon on the “suspension of disbelief.”  In the future, the overwhelming majority of the population lives in hunger and despair.  Except those fortunate enough to live in the Capital City, where the uniform of the day seems to be the Munchkin stylings from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Like in “Rollerball” and “The Running Man,” the population is so depraved they want to see human kill human in some sort of amusing role-playing game.  In “The Hunger Games” they use children from each district and let them OFF each other in a technologically advanced Sherwood Forest.

Victims are chosen by lotteries conducted in their districts, so no one is picked unfairly.  After all, this is certainly about fairness.  It’s implied that the districts are pretty much fed up with the carnage.  But, apparently it’s really tough to turn away from the televised action because the ratings are through the roof.

So, what else is wrong with “The Hunger Games?”  The logic.  It just doesn’t make sense.  We are told the districts were defeated in a civil war decades ago.  By who?  The morons who populate the Capital City?  Let’s face it.  People do not dress or speak like the people in this movie.  Not even in the weird postapocalyptic future.  How can such a group of puffy over-the-hill fops exert any control over the masses?  They look like they should populate a scene from “Alice in Wonderland.”

As far as the novel is concerned, what works on the page may not translate to the screen.  That’s always been the challenge of bringing a writer’s vision to the movies.  Adjustments must be made, even if the results might be disappointing to some.  It all comes back to “suspension of disbelief.”  Amen, and God bless.  Grade: C-