Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Tucci ... Caesar Flickerman
Wes Bentley ... Seneca Crane
Jennifer Lawrence ... Katniss Everdeen
Willow Shields ... Primrose Everdeen
Liam Hemsworth ... Gale Hawthorne
Elizabeth Banks ... Effie Trinket
Sandra Ellis Lafferty ... Hob Vendor (as Sandra Lafferty)
Paula Malcomson ... Katniss' Mother
Rhoda Griffis ... Registration Woman
Sandino Moya ... Propaganda Film Tribute (as Sandino Moya-Smith)
Josh Hutcherson ... Peeta Mellark
Raiko Bowman ... Peeta's Mother
Dwayne Boyd ... Peacekeeper #1
Anthony Reynolds ... Peacekeeper #2
Judd Lormand ... Peacekeeper #3
In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.
I'll start by saying that I have read the book, and I did enjoy the content even though I got more of a "Battle Royale" and "The Lottery" vibe. I was generally excited to see the story come to life on screen. Within the first five-ten minutes of the movie my excitement quickly dissipated. The plot already started to veer off the main track and became somewhat of a cheese-fest. The soul of the story was ripped out and replaced with something much colder...something detached. There wasn't a shred of character development. The actors just stood on the screen and said some lines that should have meant something. Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson seemed to be the most uninspired, while Jennifer Lawrence had some strong (and terribly unlikable, weak, and over-dramatic) moments. Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland were spot on despite their lack of time on screen.
Now here comes the real brutal beating (a beating that should have been portrayed in this movie!). I was literally bored to the point of wanting to walk out. The book flies by fast, but the movie drags on and on. The worst part is that I was more bored during the second half of the film when the actual games are playing out. I guess I'm just as bad as the people in Panem because I wanted more action. I wanted the intensity of the book to be displayed on the screen, but the only thing served up was yawns and nauseousness. That brings up my next point... the camera work was awful. When it wasn't blurred or zoomed in on something insignificant, it was shaking like a naked polar bear (that's pretty bad). The camera shaking took place through the entire film and served little purpose. There was an entire scene that lasted a whole minute that was botched up so horribly that I figured the cameraman had stumbled over a rock while trying to film 24 teenagers running around doing nothing. I swear that The Blair Witch Project had better camera work! Just save yourself the pain of watching the book being butchered on screen.
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