The Hunger Games – A Homeschool Dad Movie Review

The Hunger Games (2012) takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future country called Panem (formerly the United States). Divided into 12 districts, Panem is ruled from The Capitol which controls the residents of each district by controlling the food. Each year a male and female child between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district to compete in The Hunger Games as a tribute.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I’m not one to provide lengthy reviews about movies and since my podcast is primarily about homeschooling and technology I don’t want to spend too much time “off-topic”.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games. The spirit of the book and the character-driven story were preserved in the film adaptation. Special effects take a supporting role in this film and they’re used to enhance the drama on the screen. If you think this is a sci-fi, action film then you’re mistaken.

Some scenes didn’t live up to my expectations because my imagination doesn’t have a special effects budget. A few scenes are added to move along some plot points. This is because the book is written in first-person, present tense and there’s no way to convey what’s going on in Katniss’ mind without throwing in a few scenes to move the plot along. Some scenes from the book are removed but it’s necessary due to time limitations. I could have sat in the theater for another hour but I suspect most movie-goers want to get out in around 2 hours.

Content-wise, it sits right in the middle of a PG-13 rating. Some teens might have trouble with the violent images but as a parent you’ll need to judge that for yourself. If your children have seen NCIS or CSI then they won’t have any trouble with the images in The Hunger Games.

Overall, I’d give The Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars. I felt the special effects could have been a little better and the script writers could have spent about 10-15 more minutes developing Haymitch’s character.

Other reviews that may interest you:

The Spirit Blade Underground’s review of The Hunger Games
Plugged In’s review of The Hunger Games (contains spoilers)
The Hunger Games Is Well Worth Seeing, Even if You Haven’t Read the Book (contains spoilers)

  • Lisaaaclouse

    A nice, well-rounded review. I am a literature teacher who plans to see the movie this week. Your evaluation makes much more sense than the media hype and adolescent response I’ve received thus far. Thank you.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting!  If you can, take a teen with you and get his or her perspective too.

  • Jared Budlong

    As a non-“read the book first” movie viewer, I will completely agree with the effects leaving something to be desired. 

    My only other problem I had with the movie overall was the incredibly shaky camera work (that they chose on purpose, I know). I get what they were trying to do (first person view in a fight would be shaky and you won’t see everything), but as with the scenes they left out and added because the book was first person, the fight scenes could have used some slightly clearer and easier to follow camera work because the whole movies wasn’t in first person; why try to make the fights that way?

    Thanks for the review, I will probably send some friends, who aren’t sure about seeing it because they’ve seen the book, by to read it; and I’m planning on getting the audio books soon to “read” them all!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jared.  I suspect part of the reason for the shaky camera work was to prevent too many violent scenes from appearing on the screen.  It’s a young-adult book and I imagine the director wanted to keep as much violence off screen as possible.

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  • Jenniferanderson

    wow!  I don’t homeschool, so I’m supposed to be more open. I can’t believe homeschoolers would think  a movie or book where children are killling children is appropriate.  It is a sick idea.  THere is a lot of good literature and movies to see and this is not one of them.  Sending them to school isn’t as scary as this movie!

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