The game of life or death

Okanagan movie reviewers give their opinions on the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games.

  • Mar. 29, 2012 8:00 p.m.
The Hunger Games starring Elizabeth Banks (left) as Effie Trinket and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen opened with $155 million (U.S.) at box offices

The Hunger Games starring Elizabeth Banks (left) as Effie Trinket and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen opened with $155 million (U.S.) at box offices

Based on the novel of the same name, The Hunger Games is the tale of children (Tributes) forced into gladiator-like roles for a contest to the death.

The games are televised in this future, totalitarian world, to the delight of the blue-haired, androgynous weirdo elite. Contestants are chosen by a lottery known as a Reaping, two kids from each of the 12 districts of what appears to have been the former United States.

The powers that be call this an honour, the contestants and their families do not, but as this is the 74th annual games, everyone seemingly plays along.

We presume it’s because there is no other choice beyond rebelling against the powers that be.

Are we correct in this assumption? Is this film a metaphor for something bigger? Are we searching for meaning that isn’t there?

We say, What is this thing you bring us?

TAYLOR: As I haven’t read the books, I can only base my review on the film I saw tonight and I’m not sure it was clear enough. Agrarian post-apocalyptic police states are fodder for a rich backdrop, but ultimately what The Hunger Games gives us is just another Roman circus.

The fact that it’s kids killing each other can just as easily be deemed lazy as clever. Unless that is the point: a set up for rebellion.

HOWE: The Running Man (kids ask your parents) plus The Truman Show (but without the funnies) equals The Hunger Games.  I don’t get the point of this movie, and by this I mean why would anyone want to see teenagers killing teenagers? It’s not that I’m a prude, I just wouldn’t want my own tween to watch kids slaughtering each other in a movie.

What was the point? What was the prize? Did they even mention one?

TAYLOR: I heard a rumour that the prize was a year’s supply of food, but I don’t think the film stated the prize. They indicated that the victors would be “rich,” but that was all. They explained the games were a penance for past uprisings, a chance to rebel against oppressive rules for possible fortune. I get it. However, this movie feels like the first act of something bigger, which I suppose it is.

HOWE: This movie’s makers did a lot of things right. They saw an opportunity after Harry Potter and Twilight, and marketed this movie towards a powerful group of spenders, tweens. At $150 million in its opening weekend it can’t be bad. Myself, I enjoyed John Carter more.

TAYLOR: Dollar signs don’t necessarily equate to artistic success. Stretching one act into a whole movie is a bad idea. At two hours and 20 minutes, there should have been a much more exposition than there was.

However, I’m sure fans will enjoy it probably more than I did as they already know the story.

HOWE gives The Hunger Games 2.5 cooked squirrels out of five

TAYLOR gives it two mocking jays out of five.

The Hunger Games is currently playing at the Pen Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers living the Okanagan.