Hungry for more
Gary Ross’s latest project The Hunger Games, opened this weekend to largely positive reviews and record shattering ticket sales. Earning $155 million in its first weekend, The Hunger Games became the third-strongest release of all time, behind Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight — both sequels with the strength of a franchise behind them.
The highly anticipated film, based on the novel trilogy by Suzanne Collins, depicts a dystopian society in which “The Capitol” exploits its social and economic power by implementing an annual “Hunger Games” to punish the remaining districts for their attempted uprising years before. In the Games, a girl and boy from each district are selected to enter a competition to be broadcasted live, with a sole victor. The remaining competitors inevitably die, from natural causes, or at the hands of one another.
The films protagonist Katniss, portrayed flawlessly by Jennifer Lawrence, volunteers to enter the games when her younger sister is selected. The panel agreed that Lawrence’s performance was the film’s strongest aspect. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the boy set to compete from Katniss’s district, once gave her a loaf of bread when she was starving, an event which functioned to unify the two throughout the film. The pair forged a romantic connection during their time in the games, but the validity of the connection remains unclear.
The panel agreed that the film was extremely well executed and all were impressed by the cinematography and art direction. “It looked professional,” said Staff Writer, Danielle Dmytraszko. Incoming Life Editor, Carly Basch agreed that that cinematography worked to engage the audience in the action, making it more effecting.
However, some aspects of the film fell short and left the panel in want of more. As Visual Director, Wade Thompson put it, “I feel like it was two-thirds of a really great movie.”
One aspect the panel thought to be poorly executed was the casting of the films villains. Wes Bentley, who played the master of the Games, was especially lacklustre.
“Outside of having really creepy facial hair, there’s nothing to really hate him for,” said Thompson.
Arts Editor, Liz Smith found the romantic subplot both juvenile and unbelievable and expressed frustration that Lawrence was not cast alongside a male counterpart of equal talent and appeal.
Liam Hensworth, who plays Gale, a sideline character with an obvious love interest in Katniss, appeared in little of the films action, causing the panel to question his purpose in the narrative.
“It’s an Edward and Jacob situation,” said Thompson. “It’s like Twilight toned down a thousand levels,” incoming Sports, Editor Shelby Blackley agreed.
The panel agreed that another high point was the star-studded cast, which featured Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harelson. “All the high profile actors were able to step away from their celebrity status and really get into the roles,” said Basch.
Ultimately, the panel agreed the story line was executed well and done justice by Gary Ross’ direction, agreeing unanimously that they had been won over – at least enough to guarantee a seat in a screening of the second installment of the franchise.