'Hunger Games' satisfies audiencesWednesday, April 04, 2012 By Emily Cornelison
Full of violence and twists, this film can appeal to a variety of audiences. From the soundtrack to the actors’ impassioned performances, this is one movie that is packed full of emotion. Throw in a strong female lead and the experience is complete. Expect to shed a tear or two as you follow Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) from her home in District 12 to the capital of Panem, where she must battle against 23 other teens, two from each of the 12 districts. For some characters the games are an overwhelming experience, except for a select few, known as careers, who train their whole lives to bring honor to their districts. The film shows a dystopian future in a broken former America, Panem. The games are the government’s way of controlling the masses who had once revolted. They must keep the people in check by containing whatever hope of revolution is still left, to little more than a spark. The games are a way of making sure that the disloyalty is never forgotten. If you’re not a fan of watching children kill each other then you may think that this film is not for you. But while the film centers around the violent competition it also conveys much larger themes. The magnetic quality of the film may be attributed to its portrayal of the frustrations of this decade. The desolate economy depicted in the film, with conditions reminiscent of the Great Depression, is one that audiences can relate to.The people of District 12 live in rundown houses with dust everywhere casting a gloom over the people’s existence. Food is scarce and Katniss and her friend Gale both struggle to feed their families. They barely make ends meet by hunting illegally outside the boundaries of their district and selling the meat on the black market. Their situation contrasts with the bright wealth of the Capitol. One can see the parallels to today’s current economic state with the 99 percent living in the 12 districts and the 1 percent in the capitol. And all the while the music in the background reflects the disparity of the economic situations with more rustic themes for the districts and grand marches for the Capitol. The score’s folksy quality through all the fighting is a soothing lullaby that helps to amplify the emotions of the film. It makes the point that the competitors are just kids, scared and trying to survive; they just happened to be thrown into the middle of a bloodbath. While it may be hard to watch this aspect of the games, the message that the movie conveys is against violence as characters demonstrate humanity even amongst the killing. What makes this particularly apparent is the acting. Though the film features well known actors such as Woody Harrelson ("Zombieland") and Elizabeth Banks ("30 Rock"), it is the younger cast members that really make an impression. Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale, is especially expressive. Despite having little screen time, he conveys powerful emotions through his eyes and facial expressions in a very effective manner. Alexander Ludwig also gives a great performance causing the audience to feel empathetic for his villainous character, a career named Cato. In this way the characters all seem realistic, more three-dimensional. The acting and score help tie everything together and make this movie about more than just a violent competition. "The Hunger Games" is a film worth seeing.