Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thoughts on “The Hunger Games” Movie

I am a librarian. I did the same thing pretty much every librarian did last weekend: I called my librarian friends and they gathered their loved ones and a crew of ten to see "The Hunger Games." It has been several years since I have read the book, so I will resist even trying to compare the movie to the book. Instead I will concentrate solely on making this a movie review and not a comparison. First of all, I feel compelled to say the movie is violent. I have described the plot to many people as a futuristic "Gladiator." My high school history teacher told me I had to study history because history repeats itself. "The Hunger Games" is exactly that. 24 kids, called tributes, between the ages of 12-18 are put into an arena, which can be altered at the push of button, and the winner gets to live. As a tribute, you can help your odds of winning by getting sponsors. You get sponsors by getting the public to like you. This may sound familiar if you have seen the movie "Gladiator" featuring Russell Crowe, but "The Hunger Games" has less blood.
Now that the violence of the movie has been addressed (you are prepared when a character actually says "It's a bloodbath,"), it is time to move forward. First of all, go to the bathroom before setting foot in the theatre. This is a two hour and twenty-two minute movie. Normally, I start squirming at the hour and a half mark, but this movie did not feel like a two-plus hour movie. It has action, compassion, young love, chess-like strategizing, Jennifer Lawrence, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, and a very nice cast mix. The blood, violence, and historic aspect (think of the Colosseum in Rome and all the people who died fighting to the death in an entertainment arena) of this movie is the draw for guys, but the refreshing independence of a female protagonist is a perk for the ladies in the audience. But it is not all business; there was more than one moment that left me teary-eyed and there was at least one instance where the theater was completely silent, creating an opportunity for sniffles to be heard from several movie goers.
I am cheap and prefer to see movies in the comfort of my own home, but I was happy to cough up the money. CNN says the movie raked in $155 million in the opening weekend, making it the third largest opening weekend in history (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight). If you do not see it, you may be left out of many upcoming movie conversations over the next few years. Also, go ahead and make sure you mark November 22, 2013 on your calendar. Why? That, my friends, is the next biggest awaited movie release, the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, "Catching Fire."

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