The Hunger Games has just opened with huge box office numbers. In the UK the film was cut to give it a 12A certificate, but why?

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  • Comment number 154. Posted by tesla

    on 27 Jan 2013 14:00

    After watching this film Im finding it very difficult understand it. It's fiction, but fiction has to have some human believable element to it. For me any civilization that could set child against child quite simply could not evolve. I have seen plenty of horror films, this film a 12 A, horrified me more than any film I have ever seen. It just doesn't work, its too surreal. Where is the morality.

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  • Comment number 153. Posted by joeclifft32445

    on 20 Apr 2012 17:18

    am i the only one that thinks that this is a slight rip off of Battle Royale? Just wondering

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  • Comment number 152. Posted by Leigh78

    on 18 Apr 2012 11:13

    This film was well produced and acted, but why do even a teenage audience need to be told quite so clearly which characters are 'good' and which are 'bad'? And why is it I could tell you the order in which the characters would die as soon as they were introduced? Weak plot, one or two-sided characters and shameless manipulation seem to be de rigeur for anything with a budget over £50m. And please come up with a Deus ex machina that doesn't involve someone being killed from behind when about to murder the hero. Oh, and while you're at it, try something more inventive in the costume department than matching rags for the hardworking paupers and vulgar, obvious pastiche for the nasty rich people.

    Tell you what though, the 'rock make-up' part was hilarious!

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  • Comment number 151. Posted by ames_deltrak

    on 14 Apr 2012 02:57

    My problem is not with any snipping done to tone down violence but with pointless messing about with important plot elements.

    I went to see the film, enjoyed it (with reservations to do with originality) and ordered the three books, which I have now read. (FWIW, I've been telling people to see the film, not the freshness of the basic idea but for the quality of most other production values.)

    Example of what I though was pointless messing -- I'll try to avoid spoilers:- In the film, Rue tells Katniss about mockingjays, as if K has never heard of them. If I got that wrong, okay, I'll go eat worms. In the books, mockingjays soon become an important element and we realise Katniss already knows them well, because they are all over the place in District 12. Why did the film makers create such difficulties for whoever has to script the next two films? Rue could have simply told Katniss what she says in the books.

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  • Comment number 150. Posted by MargeGunderson

    on 11 Apr 2012 22:48

    I have not read the books so I had no worries about whether the movie was a fair representation. I had a general idea about the plot but going in fairly cold allowed me to enjoy it as a movie in its own right. Similarly I have only read the first of the Harry Potter books so each subsequent movie held many plot surprises for me and thereby increased my enjoyment.
    My friend however who has read the books, wasn't as keen. She enjoyed it enough but felt it was lacking in the portrayal of the true horror of the games and the hunger and thirst that the competitors feel.
    In the case of the Hunger Games I can see why some would be disappointed that it has been dampened down somewhat to gain the 12A certificate but at the end of the day the books are essentially aimed at children from about 12 up, it just so happens that they have become a bit of a phenomenon in that they have found an adult audience just like the Potter books. One could say, why is it okay to read such challenging material at a young age but not to see it? It's a fair question, but films are subject to certification for good reasons and unfortunately we have to hold to that. To have made it a 15 would have disappointed a lot of the books young fans.

    What bothers me far more is a trend towards making 12A or 15 cuts of films that are essentially more adult fare. I don't know whether this is true or not but rumour has it that Ridley Scott has made a couple of different cuts of the soon to be released Prometheus. Considering its subject matter and the classifications on the earlier Alien movies I can't see how it is appropriate to make it a 12A, it could probably push a 15 certificate but even that could mean some cuts that fans would probably prefer he left in.
    As a Mum I know my own children and what they are ok to watch. With this in mind I recently showed them the four Alien movies in the comfort of our own home. However I would not expect them to be able to see these movies in the cinema. In fact my eldest who is 15 and now a big fan of the Alien franchise said herself that although she is excited about Prometheus she hopes that it isn't certifed as anything lower than a 15 as it would mean the director would have to compromise the movie and cut scenes. Wise words from one so young.
    So basically what I'm saying is, if the source material is intended for kids in the first place then I don't have a major problem with a lower certification. The cause of the issue is the fact that modern chidren's novels also have a huge adult fan base, but we musn't lose sight of the fact that they are essentially aimed at kids, and those kids have a right to see the movies based on the books that they hold dear.
    Aah, things were so much simpler in my youth, you wouldn't see an grown up reading Enid Blyton unless itbwas to their kid at bedtime!

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  • Comment number 149. Posted by wolverine191

    on 10 Apr 2012 19:59

    I saw the movie last week. I've read the book. To be hnest, I don't see what all the hype's about. The book was okay and had a likeable heroine, but suffered from a convuluted plot, was slow to start and featured too much internal monologue. The film had good things. Jennifer Lawerence was terrific as was the rest of the cast particularly Woody Harrellson in a Best Supporting Actor-worthy performance. It had a better teenage cast than Harry Potter or Twilight and had much better special-effects, but it wasn't great. To be honest, I didn't find it that violent. The book was brutal, I almost found the film too tame. Maybe that's because it was 12A. I would have loved to see a 15-rated Hunger Games, but it doesn't matter because it is aimed at teenagers from 12 to 14 around. The first half was a bit slow and very boring, the secon half made up for it. Yet still it didn't think it had quite enough there t be a franchise although it will be. The film faithfully adapts the book's good points, but it doesn't attempt to improve on it's problems such as the monologue and convuluted storyline. Overall 3 stars out of 5.

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  • Comment number 148. Posted by Winningornot

    on 9 Apr 2012 14:37

    And to think Kermode rubbished Avatar for a weak script and story, Jeez , This Hunger games was just hollywood pap, nothing original and the usual ending of heroine and hero together victorious, You so easily conned Mr Kermode , Titanic has a better story than this

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  • Comment number 147. Posted by B1n0

    on 9 Apr 2012 10:14

    Battle Royale, The Running Man, Lord of the Flies, The Truman Show. There was quite a lot of familiarity to the whole thing. The problem I found with the film is that it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. As a dystopian view of the future it wasn't really that interesting of shocking (which is remarkable considering it deals with subjects such as children killing each other), as a satire on modern-day society's unhealthy obsession for 'reality TV' and the desensitisation of violence it wasn't nearly biting or shocking enough and as an action/survival drama I thought the sequences badly handled and uninteresting. In short I thought it was pretty dull. Not terrible, just dull.

    Other than the whole central premise of the games themselves, there seemed to be barely any story driving the film along. I would liked to have seen more time invested in Katniss and her family situation at the beginning of the film so as to give her something to fight for and return to but this section was hurried along and therefore it was hard to really get behind her and root for her to survive. This would have been preferable to alI the induction/training sequences and talk of "winning over sponsors" which didn't seem to amount to anything in the end. I didn't buy the Peeta character's crush on Katniss either. There were a few milliseconds of flashbacks to him dishing out some bread which didn't really explain anything at all and it felt like there were probably a few cuts made to these scenes which would have made his feelings more convincing. The same goes for the Gale character who seems to gawp at her when she's on screen in a way that suggest he has some kind of feelings for her too but again this is not expanded on. I get the feeling that these points are probably a bigger feature in the books.

    On the plus side Jennifer Lawrence is excellent in the lead role and I would have struggled even more had it been a lesser actress. But as great as Woody Harrelson is, I thought he was miscast in his role and seemed very much out of place.

    And when are film-makers going to realise that CGI dogs always look crap! No matter how much you spend or how good the technology is, they alway look rubbish. Especially ones which can magically appear through the push of a button...

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  • Comment number 146. Posted by mutleymachine

    on 8 Apr 2012 17:04

    I think what this boils down to is the amount of control that directors have over the finished article.

    Put yourself in the position of an average studio head. If you are financing a big budget film then surely you are looking to get a return to cover the total spend in the very least? Clearly the more a film costs to finance and market, the greater the risk that the film will make a loss. With the well-documented recent flop of John Carter, nothing is a "dead-cert" to make a return and decent profit these days. There are numerous examples of studio interference with films over the decades and how these have messed with a 'director's true vision', but ultimately directors are hired by a studio to deliver a product the studio is happy with and believe will make them a handsome return. Invariably this will mean that a film will be cut down to a level where it can reach the widest possible audience.

    Look at the example of Matthew Vaughan and the brilliant 'Kick Ass'. He delivered a film which was independently financed, so he made it just the way he wanted for exactly the audience he intended. Of course the film wasn't an 18 certificate, but that doesn't mean a studio version of the film wouldn't have been significantly cut and altered (would an average studio have had the balls to leave in 10 year old Chloe Moretz getting shot point blank by her father, not to mention such flagrant expletives?).

    With regards to the Hunger Games, I've not read the source or seen the film but a 12A cut appears appropriate and justified considering the author's intended target audience.

    Finally as highlighted by other contributors, anything less than the "really nasty" vision of Prometheus promised by Sir Ridley would be a travesty and disgrace to the Alien legacy... don't disappoint us!

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  • Comment number 145. Posted by sandeep bhatia

    on 7 Apr 2012 20:29

    This was the worst film i've seen since Avatar - that it had absolutely no edge whatsoever may well be due to the cutting! These types of films are not my cup of tea, but the extra scenes may have made it appear a little less neutered.

    Dr.K, think you may have lost misplaced your radar on this one - the film was completely devoid of tension - never even having read the books, it was clear from the tone of the film she was not going to die, they rest was efficiently pedestrian at best. Dear oh dear, what a waste of time

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