The Hunger Games (2012) – Movie Review

The Hunger Games is a science-fiction action drama film based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"
Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"

In a not-too-distant future, North America has fallen apart, crippled by drought, fire, famine and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district, one boy, one girl, aged 12-18 are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. The 24 participants are forced to kill each others as there can be only one survivor. The Hunger Games are broadcast throughout Panem with all citizens required to watch.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrenece) volunteers to represent District 12 when her twelve-year-old sister, Primrose “Prim” (Willow Shields) is selected. Together with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the male tribute from District 12, they will be pitted against stronger opponents who have been training for their whole lives.

Before the games begin, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a drunk and the only survivor from District 12 mentors both Katniss and Peeta. Stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) is assigned to prepare Katniss to help her make a good impression with the sponsors before the games begin. Peeta confesses his crush on Katniss since childhood during the introduction and hence, make both Peeta and Katniss popularity goes up.

Once in the arena, Katniss must rely on her wits and her hunting skills in order to survive. As tributes from Districts 1 and 2, led by Cato (Alexander Ludwig) gang up in an attempt to get rid of Katniss, Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from District 11, a tribute with the least odd to win The Hunger Games rescues her and becomes her ally. When Rue is killed by a member from Team Cato when she falls into their booby trap, Katniss becomes depressed and angry at the Capitol, her sadness is shared among the people of District 11 and causes a riot in District 11.

In order to keep things back in order, the organizer decides to change the rule of the games by allowing two survivors as long as they are from the same district. That prompts Katniss to find Peeta only to discover that he’s critically injured. When Katniss tries to retrieve medicines for Peeta, she is almost killed by Cato’s follower until Thresh saves her. Thresh spares Katniss life this time around because of Rue’s friendship with her.

During the finale, Katniss and Peeta have the run of their lives in order to escape a carnivorous monster created by The Capitol’s programmers (which is later spawned into five). When they reach the apex of a steel tent at the starting base, they realize that Cato is there too. The brawl ends with Cato threatens to kill Peeta by twisting his neck. Katniss shoots an arrow onto the hand of Cato instead of his head and Cato falls off the tent and is eaten alive by the monsters.

When Katniss and Peeta think they have already won, the organizer decides to change the rule and makes them kill each other. As both Katniss and Peeta are in love with each other, they decide to kill themselves by consuming poisonous berries only to have the organizer to let both of them live.

Overall, The Hunger Games is well-played with a balance mix of romance, emotions, violence and action. The film is no doubt heart-pumping and enthralling from start to finish with solid performance from Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Good news is that the second film is already in the making and is scheduled to be released in November 2013.

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

  • 8 out of 10
  • Entertaining and enthralling film to watch even if you don’t read the book
  • No

Race to Witch Mountain (2009) – Movie Review

Race to Witch Mountain is a Disney film based on the original 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain starring Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig and Carla Gugino.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig and Carla Gugino in "Race to Witch Mountain"
Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig and Carla Gugino in "Race to Witch Mountain"

Race to Witch Mountain starts off with an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) flying at a very high speed and ends up crashing somewhere near Las Vegas. The US Defense takes immediate action by setting up a perimeter on the crashed site. Meanwhile, Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino) takes a cab driven by Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) to Planet Hollywood for a UFO Convention. Jack Bruno finds the belief of extraterrestrial existence amusing, however, Dr. Friedman still gives him a name card before she alights his cab.

While in the taxi depot, Jack Bruno faces off with two mobsters from his previous job. After fending off the mobsters by banging and holding their heads against the car, the mobs are about to take out their weapons when the police arrives and asks the mobsters to drive away from the taxi depot as it is illegal. When Jack is about to drive off, he is taken aback by two kids who appear out of nowhere into the backseat of his cab. Seth (Alexander Ludwig) offers Jack Bruno $15,000 to reach their destination. With the huge amount of money, Jack thinks it is too good to refuse and decides to take Seth and his sister, Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) to their destination without realizing the the government agents are pursuing the young kids.

While in the cab, the children confess their real identity as aliens, Jack laughs off as he thinks aliens should be green creatures with antenna but when Sara shows him she can levitate things, he believes her. When Jack discovers the children’s true identities and their missions to save Earth, he enlists the help of Dr. Alex Friedman, the UFO expert. The kids need to reach the Witch Mountain, the secret location which the government has hidden their spaceship in order to travel back to their own planet. Failing to do so within a period of time, a war could begin as the alien from Sara and Seth’s planet needs a new place to live.

While the government agents, led by Henry Burke (Ciarán Hinds) continue to pursue Jack and the kids, Siphon (Tom Woodruff Jr.), an alien army from the same planet as the children are on a mission to hunt down the kids and will stop anyone that tries to stop him. In the end, the kids manage to reach their spaceship and everyone has a happy ending.

Overall, Race to Witch Mountain may not be your everyday alien movie ala "Independence Day" and its originality lies a lot on Dwayne Johnson’s jokes. Other than that, Race to Witch Mountain seems to be another Disney movie that targets at kids, especially when Aliens are beautiful creatures, engineer doesn’t die after the train collides with a spaceship, no blood are shed and most of all, Miley Cyrus performed and produced one of the Movie’s soundtracks.

My ratings: 7 out of 10.

Race to Witch Mountain (2009) Trailer

Race to Witch Mountain is a Disney’s movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig. The movie tells a tale of an UFO expert who enlists the help of a cabbie (Dwayne Johnson) to protect two siblings with paranormal powers from the clutches of an organization that wants to use the kids for their nefarious plans.