Film Focus: Hunger Games does not fully satisfy the appetite

Hunger Games film focus

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games films

By Gareth McKeown

The third film in the blockbuster, money-spinning Hunger Games trilogy is the subject of this week’s review.

Although I say trilogy, there are actually four films, as greedy Hollywood film executives squeeze more money out of a popular franchise.

Think Harry Potter and more recently ‘The Hobbit’ for other examples. How the latter; a 300 page novel, has inspired three feature films, each over two and a half hours I’ll never know, yet, I eagerly await the final instalment on December 12.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is the latest installment in the adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the people of Panem. Having twice survived the brutal Hunger Games, where contestants from the districts of Panem fight to the death, Katniss is now separated from Peeta, her fellow tribute, after destroying the games arena at the conclusion of the last film.

After being rescued Katniss and fellow victors Beetee and Finnick O’Dair are taken to district 13, the hub of the rebel movement. The film sees Katniss’ progression to the symbol and leader of the rebels, standing against the capitol ‘s communist regime and President Snow, played once again with menace by Donald Sutherland.
The first two films provided both suspense and action, with the games setting akin to that of war.
Now that war has come to Panem, the ironic thing is the action is few and far between, certainly in this film. Much of the film centres upon the relationship between Katniss and her two male love interests Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutherson) and Gale Hawthorn (Liam Hemsworth).

Katniss is torn as Peeta, captured by the capitol, condemns the rebel movement, while Gale, her trusting friend and confident yearns for more than friendship. This film is as much about setting up the finale and tying up lose ends than anything else. There is no real direct fighting between the two opposing sides, nor are we any clearer to discovering where Katniss’ affections truly lie.

Yet it is engaging and the 123 minutes do not drag. I left the cinema frustrated, not at the film itself, but rather at the fact the film executives will in the not too distant future get more of my hard-earned wage.

The next film promises war, answered questions, a final resolution and a more action-packed two hours. I could of course read the books, or look online to see what happens and save myself the £6, but where’s the fun in that?

Gareth McKeown puts American Sniper in his crosshairs

Film critic Gareth McKeown casts his eyes over The Hobbit: Battle of the five armies


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