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Movie Review: The Hunger Games – An Unquenchable Fire

I feel that there has to be two reviews for this particular movie – one for the fans, and another for, well, the non-fans, or those with no background knowledge of The Hunger Games, the novel by Suzanne Collins.    My word to the non-fans: Read the books. Read my review. Then decide whether or not you want to see the movie.  But this review is for the fans who haven’t seen the movie. This review is also for those who have seen the movie and are merely curious to see what other teens think of it. (Haha, gotcha!)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the 74th Hunger Games!

Directed by Gary Ross, flash forward into this post-apocalyptic setting, and the world as we know it has fallen.  The shining Capitol rose out of the dust and chaos, and underneath are the 12 districts, each serving its own function. To remind the citizens of their power, the Capitol holds an annual Hunger Games, a twisted source of entertainment for all of Panem. One boy and one girl (called tributes) are selected from every district to participate in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a 16-year-old living in District 12, one of the poorest districts, manages to feed her mother, her beloved younger sister Prim, and herself by hunting in the off-limit woods. Katniss’ world is turned upside down when Prim is chosen as a tribute, and bravely volunteers to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is her tribute partner, and they must play the angle of the star-crossed lovers to win the Capitol audience’s heart.

This was one of the best adaptations I’ve seen in a long time. It stayed true to the book as much as possible, and we (as an audience) are definitely sucked into the story, applying our background knowledge from the books to every character that appears on-screen.

Jennifer Lawrence embodied her character from head to toe. She became Katniss – her audacity, independence, and nerve shines ever so brilliantly on screen. Lawrence also brought out Katniss’ flaws, enabling fans to relate, connect, and love her as a well-rounded character. Josh Hutcherson is perfect as the easygoing, sweet, gentle Peeta, and Liam Hemsworth, with what little screen time he had, immediately established himself as the tough hunter Gale is. Woody Harrelson acted a lot like the Haymitch I imagined. Fans will not be disappointed in the roles of the tributes – although many are first-timers, they portrayed their characters flawlessly. I still wish they had more screen time, even though the movie is already two hours and twenty-two minutes long. The pacing is well done; audiences won’t squirm, but rather, their eyes will be riveted on the screen. The shaky-cam style wasn’t really my favorite – it was a relief when the camera stood still. Even so, it was a good technique that gave us quick, choppy shots that hid most of the violence.

And so now, to my initial conflict. Based on my review, how do you think I liked it?

I liked it very much, and that was why it bothered me. How can someone say that they like a movie about kids killing kids? The Capitol audience is entertained by watching the Hunger Games. We pay to watch the movie The Hunger Games. What difference is there? When you root for Katniss to win, you want everyone else to die.

As I was in great conflict, I wondered why I didn’t feel this way in the books. I came to the conclusion that Katniss’ anger towards the Capitol isn’t as prominent in the movie than the books. That moment with the berries is supposed to be monumental, something that will be remembered, but in the movie, it was over in a flash. Even so, her survival and willingness to give up her life for others still manage to win me over.

The deaths and killings are no way over glamorized, and I’m happy to report that the violence was toned down, true to its rating of a PG-13. We are not meant to cheer for the deaths. Even those who are part of the “bad” group reveal that they are simply hurt and scared, pawns that have been used in the inhuman system of the Hunger Games.

Fans will love it. Nonfans will probably love it. All I can say is that it turned out better than I expected, and that’s saying a lot. May the odds be ever in your favor. So watch with the world, ‘cause the world will be watching. Ages 12+

Check out my book review for the Hunger Games, and tell us your opinions below!

Movie Review – Bridge to Terabithia

Grade A

Starring Josh Hutcherson, Anna Sophia-Robb, Bailee Madison

MPAA Rating: PG

Genre: Drama

Everybody’s buzzin’ about the coming release of The Hunger Games. So, I decided to take a look into Josh Hutcherson’s acting past. He’ll be playing Peeta Mellark, co-staring with Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen.) What better place to start than Bridge to Terabithia?

This movie came out a few years ago, in 2007. Based on Katherine Paterson’s book, all I remember was that it was about a fantasy world with trolls that looked like school bullies. Oh, and that it had two amazing actors.

And that I loved it.

I don’t quite remember what it was that made me love it but recently, I reread the book and rewatched the movie.

And then I found the reason why I loved it.

Artistic-handed Jesse Oliver Aarons would prefer to blend in with the crowd, coming from a large, financially struggling family where he feels as if he doesn’t belong. On the other hand, Leslie Burke, his new, well-off neighbor and already the weirdo/outcast of the school, is open-minded, has a great imagination, and is not ashamed of who she is. Even with their differences, they form an amazing friendship, and become the king and queen of Terabithia, their fantasy world. It’s only until a terrible tragedy occurs that Jess realizes what Terabithia has brought out in him.

Many people expected a Narnia-like film, coming from the producers of Narnia. Yet the storyline is not about the kingdom, but rather the moving friendship between such contrasting characters. Leslie challenges Jess to open his mind and see things he hasn’t seen before. Even hours after I had watched the movie, I was still contemplating every aspect that was brought out on screen.

It’s about two very real characters and their famalies. It’s about their not-so-perfect relationships with their parents. It’s about dealing with financial struggles, tag-along siblings, and bullies. It’s about connecting with the coming-of-age audience.

It made me cry. It’s definitely a tear-jerker. Josh Hutcherson (Jess) and Anna Sophia-Robb (Leslie) were absolutely beautiful in their roles, but the real screen-stealer was Bailee Madison, who played the little tag-along sister.

I enjoyed it immensely, and I have to say, it will remain one of my favorite movies forever. Like I said, it gave me a lot to think about. Watch it with your family!!!


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