For someone TOTALLY ignorant of the ‘phenomenon’ “Hunger Games”, I was certainly quite fast to watch the movie in a movie theater. (The best seats ever by the way: in case you’re interested, it the Dunbar Cinema on 4555 Dunbar Street) Waiting in a line with overexcited people using some weird words like “Panem” or “District 12”, came a serious moment of doubt: What the hell was I doing there?
To reassure the non-initiated persons like me, you won’t be lost. It tells the story of a 16 years old girl living in the District 12 (Here it is!), last and poorest districts of the nation of Panem. For the safety of her sister, she volunteers to the “Hunger Games”, an annual reality TV program that shows 24 teenagers (one boy and one girl from each district) trying to survive in a hostile environment. The winner is the last survivor, no need to say that the participants are equally threaten by the other candidates and by the poor living conditions. Now that everything is clear, let’s move to the heart of the problem how is it? The movie being compared once in a while to the “Twilight” saga, I was quite anxious to watch another namby-pamby love story among fury teenage girls. Fortunately, it did not happen. You can watch “The Hunger Games” without fear: it is far from being a “Twilight bis”. First, it is not – artistically speaking – much less painful to watch (yes, I mean that word, “Twilight” is painful). The movie is quite long (maybe to satisfy the readers) but not boring. And more importantly, the “Hunger Games” benefits from its main character, Katniss Everdeen. She’s great – Brave, sincere, strong, active. Yeah, probably too perfect. But from what I heard that’s the problem of the movie, she’s actually much more complex in the books.
As any movie adapted from a book, the “Hunger Games” suffers from the comparison. I can say objectively – as I did not read the books before – that the movie is a good entertainment in many ways and rises unsetting questions because of the very violence of the subject. But this is precisely the shortcoming of the movie. It tries too much to be the new Twilight or the new Harry Potter success saga, therefore trying to reach the largest audience as possible. And by large, we should understand “young” here. As a result, they tend to tone down the violence contained in Suzanne Collins’ books.
Maybe I will revise my judgment after reading the books, that I just started, following the advice of this critique found on slate.fr (–>« Hunger Games, Allez voir le film mais n’oubliez pas le livre »)