The Hunger Games
“Battle Royale” in Hollywood Version
23 March 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Producer: John Kilik / Nina Jacobson / Suzanne Collins / Robin Bissel
Screenplay: Gary Ross / Susan Collins / Billy Ray
Cast : Jennifer Lawrence / Josh Huctherson / Liam Hemsworth / Woody Harrelson
Cinematography : Tom Stern
Editing: Stephen Mirrione / Juliette Welfling
Music: James Newton Howards
Studio: Lionsgate / Color Force
Running time: 142 minutes
Budget: $ 78 million
Science fiction-action movie, The Hunger Games (HG) was adapted from the first of trilogy novel “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. The sequel, Catchfire was scheduled to be released next year. With distant future setting, this movie told about a game in Panem country named as The Hunger Games, where some groups of teenagers (around 12 – 18 years old) from different districts, gathered in an ‘arena’ to kill each other until one person left as a winner. Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) and Peeta Melark (Hutcherson) was chosen to represent District 12. Both of them had been trained by a mentor named Haymitch (Harrelson) who was already being a winner several years ago. Haymitch taught them how to get the attention from jury, spectators and sponsors, and he also guided them how to survive in that game later. Then Finally the game had came.
This movie had similar plot with a controversial Japanese movie, Battle Royal (BR/2003). The story was nearly correspond, the collapse government had lost control of its country, especially the teenagers that had mutinied, had been anarchist as well. Overcame this problem, the government held an annual game, Battle Royale, where one class was chose randomly, and each students had to kill each other in a remote island. BR was much more stressful, faster, and more brutal, though the technique achievement much less than HG. The rule of BR was more clear and firm than HG, it could say that HG did not have “rule“ at all, since it could change easily by the game control. HG accentuated the dramatic side than harshness. The story was stick in the mud with 2,5 hours duration.
BR was more excellent in plot aspect, but not in technique aspect. Here, we spoke about Gary Ross, a director who had made two high quality movies, Pleasantville and Sea Biscuit. But his third movie, was not as good as those two movies. Unlike the other sci-fi movies that exposed visual effect, HG was more casual since half of whole movie setting was in a forest. The downtown setting mainly used interior setting with minimum visual effect. It had low budget for such kind of genre, however it did not seem like that. The most impressive accomplishment was the appearance of Jennifer Lawrence who played cool and elegant as Katniss. Half strength of this movie was the acting of this rising stars. Moreover two other players, Hutcherson and Harrelson were playing nice as well.
HG was merely soft version of BR. It was not as brutal as we predicted, the love story and the dramatic aspect more dominant in this movie. Unlike BR, the origin of conducting this “Dead Game” was unreasonable. The justice became the main problem, hunger everywhere nevertheless the possessor in food abundance condition. But why this game? Clearly the simple reason beyond was a symbolic to describe the mankind who did not have the humanity at all. Too cliche, it was a long long time ago since The Running Man carried the similar idea. After all, HG only reminded us how fabulous was BR. (Score: C)
Assistant editor and senior writer at Montase, and movie lovers