Every year, a boy and a girl are chosen from each 12 Districts of Panem to take part in the Hunger Games. In this televised event, the chosen tributes fight to death until only one remains. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to save her little sister, she must learn how to survive before it’s her turn to die.
Katniss and her family are from the 12th district, the furthest one from the luxurious Capitol. She’s strong and independent, used to filling the role of a mother ever since her father died, and cares deeply for Primrose, her sister.
For the 74th Hunger Games, Primrose has just turned 12 and thus filled the minimal age requirement. She’s chosen but Katniss takes her place, promising to win and return. Peeta Mellark is chosen as their district’s male tribute and they’re then taken to the Capitol to prepare.
At the Capitol the tributes go through training and eventually start the Games that’s held on an arena that simulates a vast forest and is constantly monitored. Katniss doesn’t want to kill anyone so she tries to avoid the other tributes but it’s not made easy. The Games are shown live after all, and people crave for action. As the Games get harder and more brutal, Katniss needs to use all of her strength and wit to survive and, if possible, to save Peeta as well.
The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future where people are separated into districts with specific tasks, such as mining. The Games are designed to remind people of a past rebellion, thus keeping the citizens in line.
I enjoyed the portrayal of the world and characters. Jennifer Lawrence especially did a wonderful job as Katniss and I think every actor/actress worked well for their chosen characters. I also liked the costumes and locations as they helped give some sense of the world.
Even though this is the first part of a trilogy (or quadrilogy, since the third book was split into two movies), the plot held up on its own while still leaving me wanting to know more. The movie is over two hours long but it never felt slow or boring to me. There was just the right balance of action, adventure and drama. It didn’t take me long to get attached to the main characters and later on the story had some deeply emotional moments.
If I’d read the books before, I probably would’ve known much more about the history of the Games and the different Districts, but the movie explained enough to keep me interested. My only real criticism is the camera work, which at times was just too shaky to really figure out what was going on.
If you’re into dystopian, apocalyptic worlds and things like Battle Royal, you’ll probably enjoy this. Just remember the movie was rated PG-13, so it’s aimed more for the teenage audience than adults.