Saturday, September 29, 2012

Movie Review For "The Hunger Games"

Directed by Gary Ross, The Hunger Games is an adaptation from the book of the same name written by Suzanne Collins. It is a breathtaking, heart racing film in which the characters are believable and easy to identify with. The music was written by James Newton Howard, the same composer that worked on Snow White and the Huntsman, Batman BeginsKing Kong (2005), Hidalgo, The Fugitive, Treasure Planet, and The Dark Knight. All of which those movies are known for their great musical scores and The Hunger Games is an awesome addition to that resume.  The role of Katniss Everdeen was played by Jennifer Lawrence and the role of Peeta Mellark was played by Josh Hutcherson. Together theses two relatively new actors are joined by Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Lenny Kravits (Claudius Templesmith) and Donald Sutherland (President Snow). Together, this cast makes the film come to life in a way most people would think impossible but they work amazingly well with each other and truly bring the book that the movie is based on, come alive.

The movie starts off with an excerpt written in white on a black screen saying "From the Treaty of the Treason: In penance for their uprising, each district shall offer up a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 at a public 'Reaping.' These Tributes shall be delivered to the custody of The Capitol. And then transferred to a public arena where they will Fight to the Death, until a lone victor remains. Henceforth and forevermore this pageant shall be known as The Hunger Games."
Caesar and Seneca discuss the Hunger Games

We then go to an interview between Caesar Flickerman (Tucci) and Seneca Crane (Bentley) where they discuss the origins of the Hunger Games and what it means for the country and their people. After Flickerman asks Crane what defines his personal signature as Gamemaker we immediately jump to District 12 where we hear a girl screaming as she wakes up from a nightmare.

Katniss comforts Prim after she wakes up from a nightmare

 She is calmed down by her older sister Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) who assures her that it was only a dream. Prim (played by Willow Shields) tells Katniss that in her dream "it was me." Katniss assures her that it won't be her since it is her first year and her name is only in there once. "They're not gonna pick you." Prim is still upset and asks Katniss to sing to her so that she might be able to get back to sleep however Katniss does not stay long and leaves to go and slip out of the district's boundaries and go hunting with her bow and arrows. She almost shoots a deer when she is startled and stopped by Gale (Hemsworth) her hunting friend.

Since he scared off her deer, Gale helps flush some birds out of the underbrush and Katniss shoots one. Then they see an odd silver airship flying over head and they run and hide under the brush so that they won't be seen. We jump to a woman in a magenta colored outfit carrying a parasol over her head. She obviously does not belong here with her very vibrant and outlandish outfit and makeup. Everyone else in this district is wearing pale colors that remind me of films i've seen of Nazi Concentration camps. This whole ordeal taking place also reminds me of that. There are other people from the Capitol around setting up a screen for the villagers to watch the Reaping and lights and fences and other things are being set up to go along with that.
We go back to Katniss and Gale in the forest where Gale is trying to convince Katniss to not watch the Hunger Games and that if they could convince everyone else to do so maybe they could stop it from happening. Then he suggests that they run off together and live in the woods away from society. Katniss refuses and reminds him of his brothers and her sister. Gale then pulls out a small loaf of white bread that Katniss can't believe is real. Then he wishes her a "Happy Hunger Games" and she replies with the normal response but affecting it with a British accent "and may the odds be ever in your favor." She then asks him how many times his name is entered into the reaping bowl and is surprised well more upset that surprised when her tells her that it's in 42 times.
Jump to Katniss selling the bird she shot in a dingy market for some yarn and then sees a Mockingjay pin which the seller just gives to Katniss for free.
Mockingjay Pin 

We go back to Katniss's house where Prim is dressed up to go to the reaping with her hair in two braids but her shirt isn't tucked in in the back and Katniss fixes it. She then goes and bathes before putting on one of her mother's dresses that she laid out for her. Her mother then braids her hair and helps her pin it up into a nice knot on the back of her head. Katniss then gives Prim the Mockingjay pin that she got at the market and promises her that as long as she has it she will be safe. Then they all hear the sound telling them to come out to the Reaping.
The Reaping
They are herded into be registered using blood as identification. Katniss holds Prim's hand. Prim starts to freak out when she sees that they are going to take some blood from her finger but Katniss calms her down and they make it to the table and are separated into their proper age groups so that Prim is with other 12 year olds and Katniss is with other 16 year olds. When everyone has been sorted and identified the woman in magenta Effie Trinket (Banks) comes up to the microphone and proceeds to show then the annual video of why the Hunger Games take place and what will happen. This video helps solidify what the writing at the beginning of the film really means. When it's over Effie goes over to the girls' bowl of names and picks out a card. She takes it to the microphone, opens it up and reads out the name, "Primrose Everdeen." This is Katniss's sister, Prim, and she is paralyzed by shock. Meanwhile, Prim starts to walk up to the stage while tucking in the back of her shirt which has come untucked again. She is walked towards the stage with 4 peacekeepers guarding her. Then Katniss unfreezes and runs toward her sister calling her name. She is stopped by other peacekeepers until she yells "I volunteer! I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!"
Katniss volunteers to take Prim's place in the Hunger Games

Katniss hugs Prim after volunteering for her in the Hunger Games
 The guards let her run to Prim where she tells her to go and find their mother and that she is sorry about leaving her. Prim won't leave and starts screaming no repeatedly as Gale comes forward and forcibly picks her up and takes her away while Prim continues to scream no in increasingly higher pitches. Katniss climbs onto the stage where Effie congratulates her for being the very first volunteer in District 12. She calls for the audience to give Katniss a round of applause. Not a single person does so. Instead they all kiss the 3 middle fingers on their hand and turn them towards Katniss. It is a sign of respect and significance and sadness. They all applaud what she has done by sacrificing herself to save her sister but they mourn losing her and this gesture says that to her. After the awkward pause from Effie clapping by herself and the people showing the gesture of respect to Katniss, Effie moves on to the boys bowl and pulls out the name "Peeta Mellark." Peeta (Hutcherson) is escorted up to the platform where he stands beside Katniss as they are announced the Tributes from District 12. Effie tells them to shake hands and we see Katniss and Peeta in a flashback for a moment on a very rainy night outside the bakery where he lives and works with his parents. Then we are back in the present and Katniss and Peeta shake hands. Then they are both escorted inside the Hall of Justice.
Katniss waits alone in a room for her sister and mother to come and bid her farewell. Prim is crying and Katniss promises her that she will try to win and Prim gives her the Mockingjay pin to keep her safe in a reverse role scenario opposite the one that took place at their house. Katniss tells her mother not to tune out like she did when dad died. She has to stay in the present to take care of Prim. Then the 3 minutes they were allotted were used up and they were escorted out of the building. She is alone in the room when all of a sudden Gale comes in to bid her farewell also. Katniss asks him to keep her family safe and please don't let them starve. Gale gives her a sort of pep talk assuring her that she can and will win the Hunger Games because she is smart and knows how to hunt. He is escorted out and Katniss is alone again.
Gale: "You're stronger than they are. You are."
Then we jump to Peeta, Effie and Katniss riding in a car towards the train station while Effie talks about how wonderful everything is Katniss tunes out and Effie's voice and comments become indistinct. They arrive at the station and get out of the car and into the silver train where there is tons of food, crystal dishes, silver/platinum decor and more very nice and expensive things. The train starts and off they go at 200 mph heading to the Capitol of Panem. Peeta and Katniss meet their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson) who is a drunk man who won the Hunger Games from District 12 many years ago. Katniss is not impressed with the man and barely talks to anyone on the first day. When she gets up in the morning she sees Haymitch and Peeta talking and comes over to investigate and demands to be told the advice he has shared with Peeta. He finally tells them that the best way to get sponsors so they can win is to get people to like them and that Katniss isn't off to a very good start. They reach the Capitol where they escorted to a facility in which they are bathed copiously and have leg/arm/any hair removed. Afterwards Katniss waits alone in a room for her stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), to come and help her get ready for the tribute parade that night.
Katniss and Peeta make quite an impression on the sponsors and the world by wearing costumes set on fire

Cinna's view of what she should wear tonight is different than past years and so when the tribute parade starts Katniss and Peeta find themselves dressed all in black with flaming wings on the back of their suits. They capture everyone's attention with these outfits and to make the picture even better they grab each other's hand and hold them intertwined up in the air for all to see. President Snow (Sutherland) welcomes them all to the Capitol and bids them a happy Hunger Games and "may the odds be ever in your favor."
President Snow welcomes the tributes
Haymitch and Effie meet Peeta and Katniss after the parade and escort them up to their home for the next 4 days on the 12th floor since they are from District 12. It is a very posh and decorated apartment with luxuries neither of them have every had before in their lives. The next morning they are taken to the training facility in the Capitol where they will be taught different means of fighting as well as multiple survival skills. They will be evaluated after the 3rd day and given a score on a scale of 1 to 12 with one being the worst and twelve being the best.
That evening they have dinner with Effie and Haymitch where they are both given more instructions and advice. Katniss tells Haymitch how strong Peeta is and he tells Haymitch that Katniss can shoot very well. So they both start arguing with each other when Peeta bursts out "I have no chance of winning! None! All right? It's true. Everybody knows it. (to Katniss) You know what my mother said? She said District 12 might finally have a winner. But she wasn't talking about me. She was talking about you." Peeta leaves the dinner table after that and Katniss goes back to her previous flashback where here are now more details. Apparently Katniss was weak with near starvation and Peeta gave her  some bread that not only kept her alive but her sister too.
Peeta about to throw bread to a weak Katniss

After that memory Katniss leaves the table as well. Then we are back at the training center where they continue to learn new things and practice older ones. We then go out to a scoreboard that is posting up the odds against each tribute. Haymitch is there and sees a boy's birthday party where the boy gets a play sword for a present and proceeds to "stab" his sister with it. We skip forward to dinner where Haymitch is advising them on what hey should do for their evaluation on the morrow. He gives them a final piece of advice "Make sure they remember you."
We jump forward where Katniss and Peeta are waiting for their turn to be evaluated. Katniss is called in and she picks up the bow announces her name and district then aims for a target body's head and misses. The judges laugh and pay no more attention to her even when she hits the bullseye on her second arrow. Katniss gets angry at their indifference and to get their attention she shoots an apple out of their roasted pig's mouth and then she says with a mocking bow "Thank you for your consideration." Then she walks out without being dismissed. We see Effie berating her while they wait for their scores to be announced but Haymitch comes in and tells her it was brilliant. Then the scores are announced. Peeta gets a good score of 8 and Katniss is given an 11, the highest rating of all the tributes.
Seneca: "What do you mean?" Snow: "I mean, why do you think we have a winner? ... Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear."
We jump to Seneca talking to Snow about the ratings and why they have a winner in the Hunger Games in Snow's rose garden.
Katniss's interview with Caesar
Then we are back in the dinning room for District 12 where everyone is except for Peeta. Haymitch comes in and starts talking to Katniss when she asks about Peeta and Haymitch tells her the he wishes to be trained alone from now on. We jump from Katniss's hurt facial expression to Caesar Flickerman's show where is is interviewing the tributes one by one live onstage. Since Katniss is from District 12 she will be next to last to be interviews and at first she is overcome with a little bit of stage fright and Flickerman has to repeat his question to her. But she gets through her interview with a little help from Cinna by showing the audience how her dress is on fire when she twirls. After her interview, Flickerman interviews Peeta about how he found the Capitol and if he has a special girl back home. Peeta says no but Flickerman presses him into admitting that there was a girl on whom he'd had a crush on forever but he didn't think she recognized him until the Reaping. Flickerman encourages Peeta by saying that when he wins the Hunger Games and returns home she will have to go out with him. Peeta shakes his head and replies "Thanks, but I don't think winning's gonna help me at all." Flickerman says "And why not?" Peeta answers, "Because she came here with me."
Scenes of Katniss and Peeta in a timeline from beginning of the film to its end
Back at the 12th floor the moment Katniss sees Peeta she shoves him against the wall and starts yelling him. Haymitch has to pull them apart and explain that Peeta did her a favor and then sends them both off to bed separately hoping that he can deliver them in one piece to the Arena the next day. Night falls and Katniss can't sleep so she gets up and wanders through the apartment towards the windows overlooking the city where Peeta is sitting. She apologizes for attacking him and they both talk about how the Capitol is toying with them and how to stop that from happening. Peeta then leaves to go to bed as does Katniss. Night turns into day and all the tributes are put into a plane with covered windows and flown to wherever the Arena is located. Katniss waits in a small room underground where Cinna is and he helps her put on her jacket and shows her where he has hidden the Mockingjay pin. He tells her goodbye and says "I'm not allowed to bet, but if I could I'd bet on you." He stays there as she enters a glass tube that immediately closes shut behind her and cuts off all sound. Soon she is rising out of the ground into the Arena where the 23 other tributes are arriving. They are all set on pedestals in a very large circle around a weird looking cornucopia surrounded by supplies and weapons that can help them all survive. Katniss sees the bow and arrows and despite Haymitch's instructions not to go for it it looks like she has decided to do so anyways. However, as she glances around the circle Peeta catches her eye and subtly shakes his head as if telling her not to go for the bow and to follow Haymitch's instructions to turn and run from the cornucopia, find high ground and water. This movement distracts her so that when the countdown is over she is not off her pedestal as soon as she would need to be if she were to get the bow. She sees the bloodbath of all the tributes fighting over supplies but she sees out of the corner of her eye, Peeta turning and running away just like she was told to do but she doesn't want to leave without something so she heads for the closest backpack and grabs it but is attacked by another tribute boy who suddenly goes limp when another tribute kills him by throwing a knife and Katniss is obviously the next target. She throws a knife at Katniss but Katniss blocks it with her backpack and the knife only gets stuck in the pack and Katniss runs into the surrounding woods where she soon collides with another young girl tribute and they stare at each other before the other girl runs away from Katniss. Katniss continues to run through the forest with the sounds of the fighting fading behind her. She pauses after awhile and looks through her backpack to see what she has. She has a lot of rope, an empty canteen, a coil of wire, a flat sleeping bag, some matches and the knife that got lodged in her backpack when the other girl threw it at her. While she is looking at the matches she hears a cannon go off marking the end of another tribute's life. Katniss counts them and there are 12 shots so out of the 24 tributes that started in the Arena, half of them are already dead. Katniss gets up and continues to hike through the forest and she finds water so she fills her canteen, sets a snare for catching an edible animal, then climbs a tree, ties herself to the tree with her rope and leans back to go to sleep when she hears a mechanical sound and it is of course a camera watching her.
The Gamemaker's Control Room at the very beginning of the Hunger Games
We go to the control room where the controllers are looking at Katniss's image on one of the screens. Seneca stands watch as they do this. Then a female worker shines a light on the edge of the screen surrounding the map of the Arena which plays the anthem of Panem and we go back to Katniss as she sees this list of all the tributes who have died. Peeta is not on the list. Katniss settles back to go to sleep when she hears another tribute nearby. This young girl tribute has started a fire very close to Katniss's tree. Katniss's face gives the "what an idiot" expression right before she hears the girl scream, a cannon go off and some other tributes laughing about killing the little girl. We go back to Caesar as he says, "Well, that makes 13 gone in the first 8 hours. (to his co-host) And Claudius, I think I see an alliance forming." We are back in the woods with Katniss overhearing the other tributes that are the ones making an alliance that Caesar is talking about coming closer to where Katniss is. They do not notice her since she is extremely high up in the tree and it is very dark but she sees them and is shocked and hurt when she sees Peeta is one of them and apparently he is helping the others find Katniss. She hears Cato (Alexander Ludwig) talking to Glimmer (Leven Rambin) and Glimmer is asking why they don't go ahead and kill Peeta and Cato says he's the best chance of finding "her." Katniss rightly assumes that they are referring to her and she also sees that Glimmer is the one who successfully retrieved the bow and arrows at the cornucopia at the beginning of the games. They move on and Katniss goes back to sleep. The next day we see her hiking along through the woods along the edge of a cliff. A worker in the control room tells Seneca that she is at least 2 kilometers from the nearest tribute and Seneca orders them to turn her around.
Katniss running from the forest fire

That night, high up in another tree, Katniss is awakened by a forest fire rapidly moving towards her she quickly unties herself and starts to run but the fire is faster and she is soon running in the midst of it doging this way and that to escape burning. Then the wall of fire starts throwing large fireballs at her which shatter whatever they hit, a tree, a boulder, and one of them injures Katniss in the leg and she has a very painful very severe burn on her upper right leg. She falls to the ground next to a large rock and is there only moments before she sees another fireball headed straight for her. She jumps up and runs until she reaches water where she gratefully falls into. Seneca tells the workers to prepare another cannon because she is discovered almost immediately by the alliance of tributes. While the tributes joke and laugh and stake the claim of killing her, Katniss gets out of the water and starts to run but she can't get far so she starts climbing a tree and the alliance catches up to her and Cato grabs his sword and starts climbing too which shouts of encouragement coming from all the tributes below except Peeta. Finally Cato grabs a rotten branch that breaks and he falls to the ground so Glimmer gets out her bow and shoots at Katniss but misses, then Cato grabs the bow and shoots and also misses Katniss who yells down, "Maybe you should throw the sword." Then Peeta suggests they wait her out. She has to come down sometime for food/water. They reluctantly agree and Cato tells someone to light a fire. Meanwhile, Katniss is in serious pain from her burn. She pours some water on it to clean it and manages to do so without screaming although she is in tears because of the pain but she does not cry out. Back at the Capitol, Haymitch sees this onscreen, takes pity on her and starts talking to sponsors who eventually send Katniss medicine for her leg which heals it almost immediately. She tells them thank you and goes back to sleep as do the tributes below her.

She wakes up before the other tributes and sees the small tribute girl from District 11, Rue (Amandla Stenberg), trying to get her attention. Rue points out a tracker jacker wasp nest about 7 feet above Katniss hanging out over where the alliance tributes are still sleeping. Rue uses gestures to tell Katniss to cut down the wasp nest so that it falls on the other tributes so that she can escape. We are pulled to Caesar who tells us that tracker jacker stings cause, "searing pain, powerful hallucinations, and in extreme cases, death." Back to Katniss who is preparing to cut down the nest to escape. She uses the serrated side of her knife to saw the limb that the nest is attached to off of the tree.
Katniss about to cut the tracker jacker nest off the tree

 She works fast hoping she won't get stung but she does by about 3 or 4 tracker jackers before the nest falls onto the other tributes and they are awakened by wasps stinging them. They scatter but Glimmer gets stung too much and passes out before she dies. Katniss makes it to the ground right as she starts hallucinating. She does manage to get the bow and arrows away from Glimmer's severely stung and swollen hands however she doesn't do anything from there until 3 Peetas who turn into one yell at her to get out of there. Katniss gets up and starts running but keeps falling down and eventually passes out. She has a hallucination regarding her father's death before she wakes up a few days later to find leaves all around her wrists and her neck where she was stung. The bow and it's quiver of arrows are leaning against a fallen log right by her. She looks up and notices someone watching her from behind a tree. It is Rue who Katniss promises not to hurt and they make a sort of alliance of their own. Rue used the leaves to help heal Katniss's stings while Katniss was passed out. So Katniss talks with Rue after she hunts something down for them to eat and cook. While they are eating she asks what's happened and Rue tells her that 2 tributes have died, Glimmer (from District 1) and the tribute boy from District 10. Katniss finds out that Peeta is still alive and Rue asks Katniss if their romance is real but Katniss side steps the question by asking what happened to Cato and the alliance. Rue says they are camped by the cornucopia beside a huge pyramid of supplies. That night Rue sleeps with Katniss high up in the trees. The next day they devise a plan to destroy the alliance's supplies. While Rue will set up a diversion Katniss will go to their camp and figure out how to destroy the supplies. They hug and while Rue is definitely scared she and Katniss devise a signal using Mockingjays to let the other person know that they are okay but are being held up. One last hug and the split up and we go with Katniss to the alliance's camp. She sees that there have been numerous holes dug and refilled around the pyramid of supplies which we hear Caesar say is a boobie trap. Suddenly, the tributes see smoke in a direction away from camp, decide to hunt down whoever it is and leave their camp guarded by only one young boy tribute holding a spear. While Katniss watches and tries to figure out what to do she sees Foxface (Jacqueline Emerson) sneak up to the pyramid in a bizarre way while the guard sees nothing. When Foxface runs off into the woods after stealing some of the supplies the guard is lured off after her. Katniss notices now that not only have holes been dug around the pyramid but they have also been dug around each pedestal that the tributes started on. Katniss figures out that the bombs under the pedestals have been dug up, reactivated and buried around the pyramid. She looks at the pyramid and sees a way to destroy it. She uses two arrows to shoot a bag of apples on the top of the pile until it splits and apples fall down around the pyramid onto the bombs.
Katniss successfully blows up the alliance's supplies 
This blows the supplies sky high into millions of pieces, nothing useable is left amidst the ashes. The alliance returns to camp and Cato kills the tribute who was suppose to be guarding them. Katniss leaves to look for Rue and sends out her Mockingjay signal. When she reaches the agreed on meeting spot, Rue is not there and Katniss hurriedly searches around trying to find her when she hears Rue screaming for her help. Katniss runs to find Rue trapped in a net. She uses her knife to cut the net so that Rue can get out and Rue gives Katniss a huge hug because she was so scared. Everything is fine for a moment until another boy tribute throws a spear at them and it pierces through Rue's stomach. Katniss's reaction to seeing the spear thrown is immediate and she shoots the boy with an arrow before turning to see Rue pull the spear out of her abdomen. She falls into Katniss's arms where she asks if Katniss blew up the supplies and she is glad that Katniss succeeded. She also tells Katniss that she "has to win." Rue then asks Katniss to sing to her and Katniss starts singing the same lullaby she sung to Prim at the beginning of the movie. When Rue dies, Katniss gently sets her body to the ground and gathers up a ton of wildflowers, mostly Queen Anne's Lace, and makes a bed of flowers for Rue to lie on before the gamemaker sends a hovercraft to pick up the body. Katniss finishes by placing a bouquet of Queen Anne's Lace into Rue's hands. She gets up and starts to leave but a few feet away from Rue she turns and kisses the 3 middle fingers of her right hand and gives the salute tothe cameras so that the people in Rue's district will see and know that Katniss is remembering them and is as upset as they are about Rue dying.
Katniss salutes Rue's district and the lullaby lyrics she sang to Rue as she died
As Katniss does this we are taken to District 11 where the people of the city watch Katniss give the salute onscreen and they all send back the same salute although Katniss does not see it. We see the man who must have been Rue's father start a rebellion against the peacekeepers in that District and he is joined by most everyone else in District 11.

We jump to the Capitol where Seneca rushes into the control room and sees Katniss onscreen crying. Then we are in a hallway where Haymitch is talking to Seneca telling him not to kill Katniss or he will make another martyr. He tells Seneca to give the people something to root for if he cannot stop them with fear. Seneca asks what that would be and Haymitch responds "young love." Next, we see Seneca talking to Snow in the rose garden about getting permission to do something regarding the rules for the Arena. Snow talks to him carefully hinting that he is straying away from the safe path and that while he likes Seneca he tells him to be careful of what he is doing as Gamemaker.
Snow and Seneca in the rose garden
We jump back to Katniss in the woods. She has stopped crying but is still sitting down with the "why should I continue doing this" air about her when the Gamemaker announces a change in the rules of the Hunger Games. He announces that "the rule requiring a single victor have been suspended. Two victors may be crowned if both originate from the same district." Katniss immediately says, "Peeta" and goes out to find him. She discoverers a blood trail on some rocks by a river she follows it and is discovered by Peeta grabbing her leg.

He was too well camouflaged for Katniss to see but now she helps him remove his camouflage and discovers that he is severely injured. He tries to tell Katniss to leave him but she won't let him get the words out of his mouth. She asks what happened to his leg and he told her that Cato gave him a sword cut. Katniss can tell that is not healing and he can't even walk without Katniss's help. She helps him into a nearby cave. She tells him that they'll have to get him some medicine but he tells her that he doesn't get many parachutes. She tells him they'll figure it out somehow nd gives him a kiss on the cheek. We jump back to District 12 to see that Gale is watching this happen on a screen as he does some work. His emotions are a bit difficult to tell but he seems a bit upset. Back to the cave in the woods. Peeta is asleep but Katniss hears the parachute beeping at them so she goes out carefully and finds it. She opens it to find a bowl of soup and a message from Haymitch that reads "You call that a kiss?" She brings the soup at Peeta and spoon feeds some of it into his mouth and reminds him that he once fed her by giving her the bread. Peeta talks about his long-time crush on her and after awhile he falls silent and eventually tells her to say something. Katniss says, "I'm not good at saying something." Peeta replies, "Then come here. Please." And Katniss lies down beside him with her head resting on his chest below his chin. A while later another annoucement is said by the gamemaker. He tells them that there will be a feast at the cornucopia at sunrise but it is no ordinary feast. Each of the tributes out there needs something badly and it will be at the feast for them to get. Katniss immediately knows that there will be medicine for Peeta there and starts to leave but Peeta begs her to stay. She won't listen until he asks her, "Why are you doing this?" Katniss looks in his eyes for a short time and then gives him a real kiss on the mouth. Jump to Gale's reaction to this in District 12. He looks sad. Back to the cave. When Katniss sits back up Peeta says, "Now there's no way I'm letting you go." And she finally agrees to stay with him and she lies down beside him with her head on his chest to go to sleep. A little while later after Peeta falls asleep he starts getting sicker with shills and a fever so Katniss gets her bow and arrows and heads for the cornucopia. She gets there and successfully retrieves the bag for District 12 with the help of Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi) the male tribute from Rue's District 11. He kills Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman), the female tribute from Cato's District 2, making Katniss and Peeta the only intact team in the Hunger Games. Clove was about to kill Katniss when Thresh heard her brag on how she killed Rue causing him to kill her. He lets Katniss go this one time just for Rue. Back at the cave Katniss returns with Peeta's medicine. She puts it on his wound and he sees the wound that Clove gave her on her forehead. He insists that she put some of his medicine on it and then does it for her. Back in the control room everyone stops to watch his take place and then they cause the sun to rise again. Peeta wakes up and sees Katniss's face almost totally healed and she sees his is too. Katniss says, "We could go home. We could. We're the only team left." Peeta disbelieving and happy says it too, "We could go home." They have a big hug and we jump forward to them crossing a river discussing the remaining tributes other than themselves who are Cato from District 2, Thresh from District 11, and Foxface from District 5. They decide to pause and Katniss will hunt will Peeta picks berries. They separate but only a few minutes go by before Katniss hears another cannon go off and thinks it means Peeta's dead. She runs back to find him and they run into each other and Katniss sees the berries he was picking and shoves them off of his hands because they cause almost instant death. They go back to where Peeta had been putting the berries he was collecting and find Foxface dead with some berries in her hand.
Foxface died from eating the nightlock berries

Katniss takes the berries and puts them in her pocket telling Peeta that they might be able to use them on Cato. Soon after it starts to get dark but it's only a little bit past noon. Katniss tells Peeta that the controllers "Must be in a hurry to end it." Jump to the control room where Lucia shows Seneca a dog/wolflike creature that resembles a pit bull. He tells her to put it in the middle of the room and he compliments her on it. Back to the Arena where Peeta and Katniss are walking through the woods towards the cornucopia. They hear a disturbance and then a person's yell and a cannon go off. The face of Thresh appears on the sky screen. They they are being chased by the same animal only there are more of them. They run for thier lives to get to the cornucopia and barely make it. Peeta gives Katniss a step up and she's on top of the cornucopia pulling Peeta up when a creature grabs his ankle. She manages to pull him free only to be attacked by Cato who is also up there. They fight while the creatures wait below until Cato has Peeta in a headlock with Katniss aiming her bow at Cato. However, Cato is standing on the edge of the cornucopia and if Katniss shoots both he and Peeta will fall to the creatures and die. Katniss will be the lone victor. Cato talks about how he's been tricked. While he talks Peeta indicates that Katniss should hit Cato's hand holding him and she does so. Cato releases Peeta and falls off the cornucopia and is attacked by the creatures. Katniss takes her bow and gives Cato a mercy kill. Then they hear a cannon and know that they have won. The sun rises and they get off the cornucopia and look around.

Then they hear the voice of the gamemaker saying, "Attention. Attention, Tributes. There has been a slight rule change. The previous revision, allowing for two victors from the same district, has been revoked. Only one victor may be crowned. Good luck. And may the odds be ever in your favor."

Katniss and Peeta turn to look at each other and Peeta says, "Go ahead. One of us should go home. One of us has to die. They have to have their victor." Katniss shakes her head and throws down her bow as she says, "No. They don't. Why should they?" Then she pulls out the poisonous berries and holds them between them. Peeta sees them and says, "No!" but Katniss says, "Trust me. Trust me." and then she gives him half of the berries and keeps the other half for herself.
Sharing the berries
A quick cut to Seneca in the control room getting out of his seat and staring at the screen as he realizes what they are going to do. Cut to District 12 watching Katniss and Peeta onscreen. Gale is watching as well. Cut to sponsors in the Capitol watching and then the camera moves and we see Haymitch is watching.
Peeta: "Together?" Katniss: "Together."
 Back to the Arena with the tributes from District 12.  Katniss and Peeta look at each other and Peeta says, "Together?" And Katniss responds, "Together." Peeta, "Okay. One..." Katniss looks up at the Arena screen and says, "Two..." Peeta reaches over to her and brushes his fingers over her braid and they look up at each other and Peeta says, "Three." They lift the berries to their mouths but before they can put them in their mouths they hear the gamemaker yell, "Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the winners of the 74th Annual Hunger Games." Katniss and Peeta grab each other in a huge hug and an airship appears above them. There is a slow fade to black where we hear Haymitch saying to Katniss, "They're not happy with you." The darkness lifts as we see them on top of the roof in the Capitol and Katniss responds, "Why? Because I didn't die?" Haymitch, "Because you showed them up." Katniss, "Well, I'm sorry it didn't go the way they planned. You know I'm not very happy with them either." Haymitch stops her and tells her that what she did was dangerous and is dangerous for everyone not just her.
We cut to see Seneca walking down a hall escorted by two peacekeepers. They lead him to a room and shut the doors behind him and lock him in. The only thing in the large ornate room is a gold table with a crystal dish on it under a chandelier. After finding out that the doors were locked behind him he walks over and looks into the crystal dish and sees the berries that would have killed Peeta and Katniss. Obviously, he is being sentenced to death for letting that happen. We jump to Caesar Flickerman but we do not hear him. We hear Haymitch talking to Katniss and telling her how to keep everyone safe. She has to tell everyone that she was so in love with Peeta that the thought of being apart was unthinkable. She has to do that to keep everything and everyone she cares about safe. Jump to their interview with Caesar and to all the questions she does exactly as Haymitch told her. They are announced by Caesar, "The star-crossed lovers from District 12, this year's victors of the 74th Annual Hunger Games!"
President Snow crowns Katniss
They are crowned by President Snow. After he sets the first crown on Katniss's head he notices her Mockingjay pin on her dress and compliments her on it after she says it's from her district. He says, "They must be very proud of you." (If you've read the book you know that he isn't really complimenting her because the Mockingjay pin in and of itself is mocking the government he is in charge of. He's really telling her that he is not stupid and will be watching her carefully.)
Katniss and Peeta on the train ride home
We jump to Peeta and Katniss on the train ride home where they discuss what will happen next. Katniss says, "I don't know. I guess we try to forget." Peeta says, "I don't want to forget."Jump to them being greeted as they arrive home. They stand holding hands and waving at the crowd. The camera goes through the crowd and we see her mother waving to her and Prim blowing her kisses while sitting on Gale's shoulders who is smiling at Katniss but in a way that we can't be sure what he's thinking although we see the conflict on Katniss's face. Peeta looks at her and then raises their joined hands up just like he did in the tribute parade. We watch this happen from the control room where it is now controlled by President Snow who is staring thoughtfully at the screen as Katniss and Peeta do this. The last scene in the movie is the camera watching him as he turns away from the screen where Katniss and Peeta are being shown with an expression hinting that he has had an idea come to him and we watch his back as he walks up the staircase out of the room and there is a blackout before he reaches the top and the credits roll.

The actors played the key roles very well but Jennifer Lawrence did an exceptional job portraying hers. All of her expressions were complex but understandable and easy to identify with. What she was thinking was absolutely clear on her face and in her actions and this did not make the film seem boring but rather more engaging. It was amazing and it more than exceeded my expectations since I went to see it with very low expectations since it was an adaptation on a book that I'd never read before. However, instead of turning me away from the book, which I had tried to read in the past but never really got through it, it caused me to go back to the book and I was able to read it and I was astounded at how true to the book the movie was and it was the portrayal of the characters onscreen that helped me read the book and understand it better. I'm sure the fact that the author of the books was one of the screenwriters that adapted it helped it tremendously on that level. Still, without their performances I might still be sitting around not reading it.
Being "Escorted" through the Training center

The film techniques used in this film were a bit different than in most movies. There were a lot more jump cuts between frames and that helped make the movie more personal to me and I could feel what the character was feeling. For example, the Reaping scene, when Prim is chosen to be tribute and Katniss volunteers for her, I felt inside the horror and desperation of Katniss and was in tears by the time the scene was over. And this scene is at the beginning of the movie! Usually for me to feel that much empathy or sympathy with or for a character it takes a much longer time for me to make the connection necessary for that to happen. In The Hunger Games, that feeling was almost instantaneous and remember I had never read the book before seeing this. So I was shocked out of my seat. The music also helped me make the connection and it definitely made me feel more emotions watching this film than any other I've watched before. Normally, whenever I'm watching a movie, I have to be doing something with my hands like playing solitaire on the computer or coloring/painting a picture on paper or even crocheting.  Even taking notes on a movie is easy and sometimes not enough for me to do. I get bored easily. There are very few movies that I can sit down and just watch. Even with my favorite movies or especially with my favorite movies I have to be doing something else. However, this movie definitely took a place on my very small list of movies that I can just watch. One of the movies is Avatar and now The Hunger Games has joined that top tier which consists of a very short list of movies. Even taking notes while watching this movie was difficult because sometimes I'd just want to sit and watch what was happening rather than write down some stuff which might have been what made this review harder to do.
The Hunger Games Movie Stills

Go see this movie! I cannot repeat it enough! Go see this movie! See it for the characters, the special effects, the scenery, the costumes that were amazing, the relationships between the characters, the music that made it wonderful, the plot, the action, the lighting, the sounds, the editing, and everything else in between that I don't have the time or patience to list since I want to go and watch the movie again. Go see this movie! Go and see it NOW!

All 24 Tributes in the 74th Annual Hunger Games

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