Buzz Review: “The Hunger Games”


Courtesy of Murray Close/MCT

Erin Niederberger, copy editor

Fans counted down the days with bated breath. First day ticket sales broke records, and the movie made $155 million on its opening weekend. The author posted a gushing reaction online.

Still, I wasn’t about to make an opinion on the film version of “The Hunger Games” until I saw it for myself.

The Hunger Games, first in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, is a dystopian novel brimming with action. In Panem, a future North America ravaged by disasters and war, the wealthy and sadistic Capitol rules the impoverished twelve districts with an iron fist. As punishment for an attempted rebellion and a way to keep Capitol citizens entertained, Panem holds the Hunger Games every year. In the Games, 24 ‘tributes’ (a boy and a girl from each district) between the ages of 12 and 18 fight to the death on live TV.

The protagonist of the book, 17-year-old Katniss Everdeen, expects to die when she takes the place of her little sister as the female tribute for District 12. However, her survival skills and uneasy alliance with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark give her a fighting chance. Katniss’ struggles rise above conflict with the other tributes to symbolize the battle between subject and ruler, the oppressed and the oppressor.

I went into the movie theater with moderate expectations. Generally, even the best film adaptations disappoint me. Something is always different or left out. However, Collins’ reaction to the film was positive and the trailers had looked promising, so I was prepared to at least give the movie a shot.

What I liked:

Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job as main character Katniss Everdeen. She managed to capture the character’s mix of toughness and emotional vulnerability without either making her look like a weakling or a robot.

The filmmakers did their best to present background information without interrupting the story. The cuts to the commentators and the Gamemakers explained major details without detracting from the film.

The movie’s greatest strength was its ability to leave Katniss’ perspective and see events all over Panem. Conversations between President Snow, leader of Panem, and the Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane added another layer to events. However, it was the rebellion in District 11 that proved to be one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. Though not an event present in the book, it captured the spirit of rebellion that exists throughout the series.

What I didn’t like:

The camerawork tended to be choppy. During fight scenes, it relied on quick or wobbly cuts to preserve the PG-13 rating. During the whole movie, long takes were rare. The constant switch from image to image prevented a good buildup of suspense and got tiring after a while.

The movie was obviously made with readers in mind. A few plot points – Katniss’ relationship with Rue, the flashbacks with the bread, and whether Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship was real or not – weren’t exactly clear unless you were familiar with the story.


Even though I had high expectations, “The Hunger Games” managed to impress me with its set design, acting, and storytelling. I’d definitely recommend watching it, especially if you’re familiar with the series.


What did YOU think? Did you love it? Hate it? Was the book better? Sound off and leave your comments below!