Early on in the film The Hunger Games Gale (played Liam Hemsworth) says, “They just want a good show, that’s all they want.” And that’s just what Gary Ross and the folks at Lionsgate have done; they’ve managed to put on a good show.
As a 42yr old man going to see what has been marketed as a movie for the tween audience I will admit to being more than skeptical about The Hunger Games. Let’s face it, I’m no more its target audience than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a movie for the scores of girls wearing their “Team Peeta” hoodies!
But you know what? I have to admit the team of Director and Screenwriter Gary Ross and The Hunger Games original author, Suzanne Collins managed to keep me interested. And dare I even admit it, at times emotional. Yeah.. I said it. Emotional.
Even after reading the entire trilogy I felt the shock of hearing Prim’s name being called at the Reaping. (Stop screaming! It’s not a spoiler it’s in the freaking trailer!) And I dare anyone not to shed a tear when District 11 loses its first “player.” (Okay… that might be a small spoiler for some. Sorry.)
That being said, there are some obvious weaknesses in the film. And what makes this even more unfortunate are most of these could have been avoided.
One could almost hear the theme from Days of Our Lives just before the “Romantic” moments.
Instead of allowing the audience experience what the character is going through. Where in the book we can feel the conflict Katniss (Well played by Jennifer Lawrence.) battles over her feelings about Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).
Unfortunately, we only seem to get a glimpse of this. The audience never really has the opportunity to penetrate the façade Katniss portrays. In the end, the corny dialogue coupled with some ill timed flashbacks removes any emotional investment one might make.
And that’s my biggest issue with The Hunger Games.
Here’s a movie based on a book that forces us to ask, “What is a society is willing to accept and even call ethical? How far one will go to save themselves while maintaining their humanity? And how little it can take for one to lose it?” Instead we’re served an overly sanitized Lord of The Flies mixed with Twilight.
Granted all of these themes may be too mature for its intended audience. After all we know what they want. They just want a good show. And The Hunger Games delivers. It’s just that, a good show.