Review of “The Hunger Games” Movie

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As part of this month’s series on Suzanne Collins’ series, The Hunger Games, I wanted to share my review of the film based on the first book in the trilogy.

It is well known that The Hunger Games trilogy of books is being made into four films, with the second film, Catching Fire, being released later this month.

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In The Hunger Games, we are introduced to Katniss Everdeen (portrayed by award-winning Jennifer Lawrence) as she comforts her  younger sister, Primrose, who is suffering nightmares where she is chosen as tribute for District 12.

In a matter of moments, we become familiar with the harsh and destitute way of life in District 12, and the fact that Katniss risks her own safety to hunt in the forbidden woods with her friend Gale Hawthorne (portrayed by Liam Hemsworth).

When Prim is selected as the female tribute from District 12, Katniss volunteers in her place, becoming the very first volunteer in the history of District 12.

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After the reaping, Katniss and Peeta Mellark (portrayed by Josh Hutcherson), the male tribute from District 12, are sent to the Capitol, where they are trained to fight and survive in the arena, along with the other tributes.

When the Games begin, Katniss runs into the forrest of the arena, hiding and escaping death, before making an alliance with a young female tribute called Rue. While destroying the food supplies of the Careers, or professionally trained tributes from Districts 1 and 2, Rue is killed, leaving Katniss alone, mourning the death of her young friend.

As the Games continue, the gamemakers announce a new rule: there can now be two victors, as long as they are both from the same District. Filled with hope, Katniss sets out to find Peeta.

When she finds him, he is weak and wounded. Can she use her skills to save them both? Will they make it out of the arena alive? And if they do, what price will they have to pay?

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I know it will sound cliché, but the movie is not as good as the book.

I understand that it is impossible to portray every detail of a book, and inevitably a fan of the book will feel that an important aspect was left out. And really, The Hunger Games is an excellent adaptation, possibly the best book-to-screen adaptation I have ever seen!

I have to admit that as I read the book after seeing the film, I saw Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, and heard Woody Harrelson’s voice everytime Haymitch called Katniss “sweetheart”. And while there were some changes and additions to the storyline, I believe that viewers will walk away with many of the same sentiments and reactions.

Horror at the cruelty and corruption of the Capitol. Touched by the love of Katniss for her sister, Prim. Devestation at the loss of sweet Rue. Emboldened by the bravery of Katniss, risking everything for those she cares about.

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A few words of caution to parents: please take the PG-13 rating to heart. While the violence is not gratuitous, and handled delicately, it does consume a large portion of the film. There is also some brief mild language, including taking the Lord’s name in vain on two occasions.

The film is a worthy adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ amazing book, including a wonderful soundtrack that features the music of both Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars.

A fun note for fellow homeschool graduates: Willow Shields, who portrays Prim in The Hunger Games is actually homeschooled!

Interested in reading Movieguide’s review? You can find it here. Want to know more about some of the Biblical principles seen in The Hunger Games novel and film? You can read more here.

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