Hunger Games is the Battle Royale for the PG-13 crowd who want an easy to digest YA dystopian movie.
It’s a satire of reality TV in a post-apocalyptic world. The extravagant and pompous launch of the Hunger Games reflects people’s bizarre fixation with gladiatorial entertainment – the Capitol’s citizens cheer and celebrate the impending death of children who are interviewed in a talk show like celebrities.
At the center of this are the protagonists’ Katniss and Peeta, who are portrayed with great performances. Jennifer Lawrence creates a self-assured character that you can root for. Her character is complemented by Josh Hutcherson’s sorrowful Peeta, who manages to stay strong despite being constantly overshadowed.
At the Capitol, there are also other characters who stand out – Stanley Tucci as the entertaining talk show host, Wes Bentley as the game coordinator with a manicured beard, and Donald Sutherland as the cruel president.
As long as you keep your expectations low, the Hunger Games is entertaining enough for general audiences. Expect bloodless scenes, excessive camera jerks to hide lite thrills, and perfunctory villains. It isn’t clear what the Hunger Games is for unless you’ve read the book – which could’ve added gravitas to this spectator sport – but there is enough good acting to compensate.
Hunger Games has an interesting lead and timely media satire that makes it a franchise worth looking out for. It’s not going to wow anyone who has already seen Battle Royale, but such masterpieces can’t be duplicated anyway.
Hunger Games is a watered-down Battle Royale, but a charismatic lead and smart subtext make it entertaining enough for the PG-13 crowd.