The Hunger Games

"May the odds be ever in your favor."

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by Britni McDonald

I'm not usually one who enjoys hyped-up movies. Just like pop songs, they’re usually overrated and popular for all the wrong reasons. I even avoid movies that most would argue are smash hits for all the RIGHT reasons, like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Sorry, don’t do anything for me. Hope that doesn’t discredit me as a reviewer to some of you ;) Part of this is because sci-fi and fantasy are probably my least favorite genres-- I don't relate! Although I'm learning they are perhaps the most impactful and philosophical. (The Matrix movies are some of my favorite.) Having said that, I hadn't planned on seeing The Hunger Games. It had both of these things: hype and sci-fi/fantasy. But this is why I say you never categorize or judge a book by its cover-- This movie is spectacular. I understand the hype of this movie. Take everything away, and the story, which is always the key to a great film, is like nothing I've ever seen-- something the cinema is in dire need for. Add into that incredible acting and beautiful cinematography, and you have a great film.

When you tell people about the plot of this movie, it usually leaves them disturbed, wondering why you think it's so great. That was my first reaction. "There are 12 districts, and two kids from each are randomly chosen to battle the other districts to the death..." Yeah... sounds great? Of course, it's much deeper than that, and sometimes it takes a little disturbance to make an impact. And let me tell you, it does. It's unique, relatable, and poignant. Without getting too philosophical, at its essence is a beloved tale of the underdog rising up from suppression. It, arguably, represents the dog-eat-dog world we live in and the disturbing future we could be headed towards.

We perceive the idea of sending children into battle disgusting and preposterous. Those at the capitol have been able to dehumanize these districts to the point of viewing this deadly battle as a game, even cheering for the winner. Could it be a portrayal of where we are heading? As a society, we love games; we love reality television; we dehumanize celebrities; we even love violence and being shocked. We find the behaviors of those in the capitol disgusting, but do we not have similar behaviors in certain circumstances now?

The extent of this film's greatness is shown through its ability to engage audiences of all ages. When a story can touch anyone at any point in their life, you know it's a great story, even unifying. Not only does it touch people, but it's appropriate for kids! I wouldn't recommend kids younger than 15 viewing the film because of its violent subject matter, but the violence in this film is nothing more than you'd see in a video game or war movie. It's necessary to its plot. While kids battling to the death is disturbing and brutal, it's done tastefully. There's no foul language or sexual content, proving truly good films don't need these aspects-- they're merely cop-outs for a lacking storyline. So refreshing! It's a movie you could go to as a family, that wouldn't leave you embarrassed, that you could talk about with them-- which is an amazing thing about film-- opening discussion.

And above all, it's a GIRL POWER movie. You KNOW I love that! The underdog and hero of this tale is the one and only Katniss Everdeen, played by the beautiful and brilliant Jennifer Lawrence. How refreshing is it to have a strong, young woman lead, outsmart, and conquer? What a wonderful role model for young girls today-- and Lord knows they need some! While disgusting, the Hunger Games as a whole are at least equal among gender, age, race.

The cast included some newer faces, and I was impressed by all of their performances, namely Lawrence. I can't wait to see what she does next! Visually this movie was fantastic as well. I admit I have not yet read the book, so I don't know if it lives up to the pictures painted in the reader's minds, but what I saw was captivating-- the make up, costume design, sets-- all so bright and vibrant. It was truly its own world but in a believable way. Another benefit of the sci-fi/fantasy genre-- it encourages this kind of creativity and innovation... Alright, I think I'm becoming more of a fan...

So if I haven't already made my point loud and clear-- GO SEE THIS MOVIE. You won't be disappointed.

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