Hunger Games (Mar 2012)


Directed by:
Gary Ross


Release date:
Fri 23, Mar 2012

Budget          $78 million
Box office           $685 million

     The Hunger Games is a 2012 American science fiction film directed by Gary Ross and based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. The film was produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik, with a screenplay by Ross, Collins, and Billy Ray. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland.
     The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, where twelve boys and twelve girls must participate in the Hunger Games, a televised annual event in which the "tributes" are required to fight to the death until there is one remaining victor. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the games. Joined by her district's male tribute Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss travels to the Capitol to train for the Hunger Games under the guidance of former victor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson).
     The film was released on March 21, 2012, in France and other countries and internationally on March 23, 2012, in both conventional theaters and digital IMAX theaters. When the film released, it set records for opening day ($67.3 million) and opening weekend for a non-sequel. At the time of its release, the film's opening weekend gross ($152.5 million) was the third-largest of any movie in North America. It is the first film since Avatar to remain in first place at the North American box office for four consecutive weekends. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 18, 2012.
     The Hunger Games was well received by most critics, who praised its themes and messages, as well as Lawrence's performance as Katniss. Like the novel, the film has attracted criticism for its similarities to other works, such as the Japanese novel Battle Royale, its film adaptation, and the Shirley Jackson short story "The Lottery". It is noted, however, that Collins' novel and screenplay possess key differences by drawing on sources of inspiration such as the myth of Theseus, Roman gladiatorial games, reality television, and the desensitization of viewers to media coverage of real-life tragedy and War, to not think as just an audience member, "Because those are real people on the screen, and they’re not going away when the commercials start to roll."


     The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve poorer surrounding districts. As a punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol by the districts, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery (known as the "Reaping") to participate in the Hunger Games. The participants (or "tributes") of the Hunger Games must fight to the death in an arena controlled by the Capitol until only one remains alive; the victor is rewarded with fame and wealth. Primrose Everdeen is a 12 year old girl from District 12, and in her first Reaping, is selected by the lottery. Her 16-year-old sister Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark, a baker's son who once gave Katniss bread when her family was starving, was also selected.
     Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol, where their drunken mentor, former Games victor Haymitch Abernathy, instructs them to watch and learn the talents of the other tributes, especially the "Careers", who have been trained from birth to compete in the Games. During a pre-Games interview with TV personality Caesar Flickerman, Peeta unexpectedly reveals his love for Katniss. She is initially outraged, believing it to be a ploy to gain audience support, as "sponsors" may provide in-Games gifts of food, medicine, and tools. The Games begin with more than half of the tributes killed on the first day, while Katniss relies on her well-practiced hunting and outdoor skills to survive. Peeta forms an uneasy alliance with the Careers, including Cato, Clove, Marvel, and Glimmer, and with his tracking help they corner Katniss in the woods. Katniss develops a partnership with a District 11 tribute named Rue, when the young girl points out a tracker jacker nest, which Katniss drops on the Careers, killing Glimmer. Rue cares for Katniss as she recovers from tracker jacker poisoning. Katniss decides to destroy the alliance's food stash by triggering the explosives surrounding it. Upon discovering the destroyed food and supplies, Cato breaks the District 3 boy's neck because everything was destroyed under his watch. Katniss and Rue's partnership ends when Rue is fatally wounded by Marvel, whom Katniss kills in their defense. Katniss stays with Rue as she dies, then spreads flowers over her body as a sign of respect. When this is televised, it sparks a riot in District 11.
     Since Katniss and Peeta are presented to the public as "star-crossed lovers", the Gamemakers, led by Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker, is convinced by Haymitch to avoid inciting further riots and instead promote a rule change, which is announced midway through the Games, stating that two tributes from the same district can win the Games as a pair. Upon hearing this, Katniss searches for Peeta and finds him suffering from an infected sword wound, a result of a fight with Cato. As Katniss tries to nurse Peeta back to health, she presents herself as deeply in love with him to gain audience favor and sponsorship. When she tries to retrieve medicine for Peeta from an announced feast, Peeta begs her not to go and risk her life. Katniss kisses Peeta and promises him she won't go, but after waiting for Peeta to fall asleep she heads to the feast, where she is attacked by Clove. Thresh, the other District 11 tribute, appears and kills Clove after overhearing Clove tormenting Katniss about killing Rue, sparing Katniss in memory of Rue. "Foxface", the girl from District 5, dies from eating nightlock berries stolen from Peeta, who did not know they were highly poisonous. A pack of vicious hound-like creatures is released, killing Thresh and forcing Katniss and Peeta towards the Cornucopia, where they encounter Cato. After a brutal fight, Katniss wounds Cato with an arrow and Peeta hurls him from the Cornucopia to the creatures. Katniss shoots Cato, to spare him a prolonged death. With Peeta and Katniss apparently victorious together, the Gamemakers suddenly reverse the rule change allowing two victors, setting them up to duel each other to the death. Instead, Katniss takes a cache of nightlock berries and hands half to Peeta. Realizing that their mutual suicide would deprive the public of any victor, the Gamemakers hastily announce them both as victors of the 74th Hunger Games.
     Although they are treated to a hero's welcome in the Capitol, Katniss is warned by Haymitch that she has now become a political enemy after such a public defiance of her society's authoritarian leaders. As Katniss and Peeta return to District 12, the Head Gamemaker, Crane, is locked into a room with a bowl of nightlock berries, arranged by President Snow to convey his anger at the Games. President Snow watches the celebration and ponders what to do about the joint victors, and the feelings of rebellion they may have inspired.



External links:

"Main Page." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2012. <>. 



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