***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

The Hunger Games has been impossible to avoid over the past few weeks, maybe even months. Aside from the three big superhero films, The Hunger Games is probably the most anticipated film of the year. It has been adapted from Suzanne Collins’ worldwide best selling novel and directed by Gary Ross who is best known for The Tales of Despereaux and Seabiscuit.

The Hunger Games is set in the future; a future where teenagers are forced to compete as ‘tributes’ in ‘the Hunger Games’ where it is every man for himself and only the last man standing survives. These games are broadcast on televisions throughout each ‘district’ of the world. Katniss Everdeen is our hero and she volunteers to compete in the games in place of her sister.

The film relies a lot on the acting ability of Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss. Lawrence is an absolutely wonderful actress and she needs to be brilliant in this film to keep the audiences attention. Despite having a supporting cast that includes Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson most of the scenes involve Katniss and require Jennifer Lawrence to hold the audience and she proves that she can do that.

It is a horrible world we are taken into that gives the audience a feel of the bleak future which our heroes inhabit. From the offset, even from the trailers, anyone with half a bran could predict the ending considering there are a couple more books (and probable films) to follow The Hunger Games. But it is the journey we go on that holds the audience, how everything unfolds, this is what we are interested in.

The visual elements of the film are spectacular and it is such a wide world in which events take place that the effects need to be perfect to really suck the viewers into the arena. From the fire in the forest to the spaceship flying above the district, the special effects are really powerful without distracting from other aspects of the film which is great as it the story could have easily been lost in the big wide world of The Hunger Games.

Katniss is a conflicted character in terms of film making. We are introduced to her as this strong, family kind of girl who sacrifices herself for her sister. Yet, as the film goes on, to me, she actually seemed like a weak person, completely opposite to what we were promised at the beginning. Whilst she proves that she is smart and adept with a bow and arrow, she still needs saving a couple of times and gets overruled by feelings inside the arena with a love story that really was not needed.

The poor character development is not unique to Katniss, however, and it is this that lets the film down in my opinion. Other characters are not given enough time to develop really and Josh Hutcherson’s character Peeta Mellark, I thought, was really really unlikeable and I was actually hoping that Katniss would kill him at the end of the film, but alas it was not meant to be.

The Hunger Games has proven successful with audiences already, opening to the third biggest weekend in history. It sets the foundation of the franchise and is an entertaining film, but character growth and strength of story hold back Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic job in the lead role.

My Rating: 7/10

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