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Monday, 16 Apr 2012, 10:48

 

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By: Vincent Camilleri

May the Odds be Ever in your Favour

“The Hunger Games”

Cast:
Jennifer Lawrence                Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson                  Peeta Mellark
Woody Harrelson                  Haymitch Abernaty
Stanley Tucci                         Caesar Flickerman
Donald Sutherland               President Snow

Directed by Gary Ross
Running time 142 minutes

The Hunger Games is the first book of a best selling science fiction trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Aimed for an adolescent readership, the three books - Catching Fire and Mockingay are the other two – are set in Panem, a futuristic nation that rose from the ashes of what once was North America. What remains of the 50 States are 12 very poor Districts controlled by the powerful and wealthy Capitol. The protagonists of the trilogy’s adventures are a 16 year old girl Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, a boy of the same age both from District 12.

As a retribution for a failed revolution by the districts against the Capitol, the ruling class force one boy and one girl aged between 12 and 18 from each of the twelve districts to participate in The Hunger Games, an annual event in which the 24 participants, called Tributes must fight between themselves in an open wild country until only one remains alive.

The film opens on the eve of the 74th Edition of The Hunger Games. A young widow whose husband was killed in a mining accident lives in poverty with her two daughters, 16 year old Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her younger sister Prim, aged 12. All the eligible youngsters are herded in the square for the draw by lots of the Tributes who are to participate the games. Prim is terrified when her name comes up but Katniss volunteers to take her place. The boy  is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol by their appointed mentor and instructor Haymich Abernaty (Woody Harrelson) a former winner of the Games driven to alcoholism.

The Hunger Games are an extremely violent reality television show in which the fantastic imagination of director Gary Ross stands out. He builds amazing sets for the live audience following the Hunger Games show hosted Caesar Flickerman, played by Stanley Tucci, sporting a weird hairdo and flashing a revolting artificial smile. The game-master, under the directions of Capitol President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who wishes all contenders that the odds will be ever in their favour, manipulates the progress of the games by  igniting terrible fires and letting loose a pack of ferocious computer generated animals on the competitors from a state of the art control centre. The citizens of the Capitol are shown as a decadent society dressed in transgressive, Fellinesque costumes in dramatic contrast with the wild environment where the 24 Tributes kill each other to the last man/woman standing.

No prizes are given for guessing who wins The Hunger Games. Although the story line builds up a strong sense of suspense, the result is particularly predictable, considering that plans are ready for the filming of the second book Catching Fire to begin next autumn with the lead characters Katniss and Peeta to be played again by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Gifted with a rare beauty, a strong screen presence and fine acting skills Jennifer Lawrence takes much of the credit for the well earned success that this film is making on the international box office – above $300 million. At the centre of the action most of the time, the young actress with a brilliant future lights up the screen and captivates the audience with a demanding performance as the brave warrior with a golden heart. Credit is also due to director Gary Ross who, according to latest reports, will not be directing the second segment.   Mr Ross directs an excellent team of actors in supporting roles and the vision of a crew that includes production designer Philip Messina and costume designer Judiana Makovsky  who worked with Gary Ross in Pleasantville   (1998) and Seabiscuit  (2003)   

Watch trailer: http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1392170/#lb-vi1187553561

Top Ten Films in Malta

4 - 8 April 2012

1. WRATH OF THE TITANS

2. THIS MEANS WAR

3. MIRROR MIRROR

4. THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS

5. SAFE HOUSE

6. WE BOUGHT A ZOO

7. PUSS IN BOOTS

8. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL

9.THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

10. JACK AND JILL
 

 

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