The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection (Blu-ray)

March 24, 2016 48 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Well the wait is over. It’s here. For those that read Suzanne Collins’ novels that started back in 2010 and followed Katniss through the films – here it is. This is the culmination of a quartet of movies, two directors and a diverse ensemble cast. I won’t prattle on as I’ve already said everything I want to in the introductions below. Enjoy!

The Hunger Games

It often amazes me how the littlest, most simplistic things can really take shape and turn into something tangible.  Case in point, author Suzanne Collins was channel surfing a few years back and word has it that she was watching the television show Survivor (you know, the one where they vote people off an island after competing in challenges). Collins then ended up on CNN and was watching some footage of the war over in Iraq and her wheels began to turn.  Essentially she took what she’d seen and eventually came up with The Hunger Games.  Yes, I guess it really was that simple.  Well when you’re an author and have a thoughtful and creative imagination – I guess that helps too.  The book was an instant success and two more followed in the coming years: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. In 2012, the first novel was adapted into a film and the audiences for Harry Potter and Twilight needed something else to follow. As it turns out, the new hero was Katniss Everdeen and this is her story.

The world has nearly been destroyed and a new country has taken shape. It’s name: Panem.  The country is the United States, or what used to be the United States, and in place of states are districts. Twelve in all.  The government is called the Capital and is overseen by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Once a year, a male and a female representative from each of the 12 districts are chosen at random to compete in the Hunger Games.  Eventually only one will emerge as the victor and will then live the rest of their lives in luxury. These games are televised to the entire country to see and it re-asserts the Capital’s dominance. We then meet our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who, when her sister is chosen, volunteers for the Hunger Games. The stage is set and Katniss is off the literally fight for her life.

There is, of course, much more to The Hunger Games than that, but I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone who hasn’t been exposed to the novels and/or films.  Suffice it to say that there are a lot of politics in Suzanne Collins’ books and films, no doubt a result of things we all see and absorb via television every single day.  The Hunger Games was one of the top grossing films of 2012 and the question of a sequel were answered in the opening weekend.  Fans of the books will have long since seen this film and this Blu-ray review is coming late since this somehow got lost in the shuffle.  Full with a great ensemble cast that includes Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Wes Bentley, The Hunger Games essentially has something for everyone. I’d keep the little ones away, but no doubt they’ll recognize Katniss regardless.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The unprecedented success of The Hunger Games paved the way for this second installment in this series, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Fans of the novels will know that this is where, pardon the pun, the spark really starts.  And star Jennifer Lawrence has been pretty busy since she first donned the bow and arrow and set the world on fire. Lawrence won a Best Actress Oscar for her work on Silver Linings Playbook, was nominated again for Best Supporting Actress in American Hustle and starred in this little film which happened to be the top grossing film of the year (surpassing even Iron Man 3).  Suffice it to say, it’s got to be good to be Jennifer Lawrence.  The Hunger Games showed that the film had legs and Catching Fire showed that this wasn’t just a flash in the pan. The series will wrap up with the forthcoming two part Mockingjay, but let’s take a look and see what’s happened to Katniss and Peeta since we last left them.

The Hunger Games have provided Panem with two victors: Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).  In an act of defiance, these two have beat the odds and now stand to live their lives out in wealth and bliss. However, sensing that Katniss might represent a symbol of revolution, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) decides  to use the 75th Hunger Games as an excuse to get rid of Katniss. In this third “Quarter Quell”, each district has to provide a male and female that have already won the Hunger Games. Suffice it to say that Katniss isn’t excited about this, having just survived the first time around. New gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) has a few tricks up his sleeve that will make these new games ones they won’t forget.  With the threat of an impending revolution and Katniss the spark, will a revolution ensue or will these games douse the ‘girl on fire?’

A friend of mine told me, when asked, that “Catching Fire is just pure entertainment.” And it is. For those that have read the books (and I have), this is everything that we’d expect the movie to be and more. The cast of characters is a little broader, and older, the action more intense and the message a bit more political (this trend will continue).  We’re treated to a more recognized ensemble cast with the likes of Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (in one of his last performances) and Sam Claflin as well as some of the old faces that were present in the first. Though there’s a new director at the helm, Francis Lawrence (I am Legend, Constantine) it doesn’t really slow the pace down in the least. Catching Fire is exactly what you’d think it would be and the two and a half hour runtime seems to fly by.  Again, this is everything you’d expect it to be – and more.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I

I think Harry Potter filmmakers were really onto something when they decided to turn Deathly Hallows into two parts. The book was nearly 700 pages long and, having read it twice, there was a lot of stuff going on. But as we all know, Hollywood is a business and their business is making money (and entertaining the masses). Harry Potter delivered the goods with ticket sales and it sparked the fire for other franchises to come. The Twilight Saga soon followed the blueprint, now the Hunger Games and soon the Divergent films will do the same (and others as well, I’m sure). I won’t criticize Hollywood for doing what they’re supposed to do, but it’s a double-edged sword when it comes the audiences. I’m in favor of getting it all out there in one shot – said and done. But I don’t run Tinseltown. Moving on, we’ve now reached the first part of the final installment of The Hunger Games – hell has broken loose, the country is on the verge of a Civil War and Katniss and Peeta have been separated. Life is good? Not quite.

Taking up right where Catching Fire left off we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in the hands of District 13. Having been separated after the Quarter Quell from Peeta (Josh Hutchinson), Panem is in a state of disarray and on the verge of Civil War. Katniss, now in the capable hands of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and former Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), is the literal face of the revolution. The plan is to use Katniss to take her “spark” (so to speak) and use her in an elaborate Marketing plan. The ultimate goal is to unite the twelve Districts and rise up against the Capitol, thus ending the tyranny.  Add to this that Peeta is now the face and voice of the Capitol – representing the ultimate in a conflict of interests. With the help of Betee (Jeffrey Wright), they’re able to tap into the Capitol’s network. The question is…will it work?

As I’d alluded to in the opening paragraph, this movie is merely a precursor to all of the “good stuff” that will happen in the final installment. Having read the novels by Suzanne Collins, there was a lot of material to cover in the book. While it would have been nice to have it all neatly wrapped up, I suppose there is some merit in having this spread out over the year.  But much like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, all of the action will come to a head in Part II. Then again, we all know that. It’s nice to see Hoffman in his last role and if you want to talk about timing, seeing Julianne Moore in a starring role about a week after she won her Best Actress Oscar – I’m sure the studio is beaming!  Good, solid performances abound and the film does set the stage well for the final part. Stay tuned…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II

About five years ago I was going into withdraw. Yes, really. You see, the Harry Potter movies had just ended and, with that, a small part of me (and millions of others) died. What were we going to do? No more Hogwarts, Snape, Harry or the rest of the gang? Say it ain’t so! Thankfully author Suzanne Collins was channel surfing and came across a reality TV show (we’ll call it Survivor) and then flipped the to coverage of the conflict in Iraq. And then, like that, we had the story of Katniss and the saga of the Hunger Games. Like most of the teen-oriented films, it took place in a distant, dystopian future where the world had collapsed on itself and a new government had risen up and taken control. The United States was divided into 12 districts that, once a year, had to pay homage to the government that “saved” them by offering up a male and female to compete in a battle to the death where the victor would live a life of luxury. And that’s the way it went. That’s the story of the Hunger Games and this is how it ends.

Picking up right where the first installment ended, we meet Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) as well as a slew of others. The President of the rebellion, President Coin (Julianne Moore) is gearing up for a revolution and Katniss wants nothing more than to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Katniss is the face of the revolution and the inspiration to the districts to rise up and fight the power. Now assigned to a small task force, Katniss, Peeta and a few others make their way to the Capitol to carry out their plans, but we all know it won’t be as easy as that. We’ve all seen this scenario before in every horror movie ever made – the group starts to dwindle and even with the help of trained military personnel, it’s looking more and more like their goal won’t come to fruition. And when or if it does, is there a more nefarious plan in the works?

A lot has happened in the years since we were first graced with The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook as did co-star Julianne Moore for Still Alice. The film franchise made a mega star out of J Lew (can I call her that?) and while not quite at the Harry Potter level, this franchise has made a name for itself. But this too, now, is over. Looking back on the four films, I’d have to say that I liked them in descending order. I really enjoyed the purity of the first and most of the second, but after reading the books I found the third book (and last two films) far too political for my taste. I see what they were going for, but I was all about the action.  Still, I was entertained and that’s the point of any film. Jennifer Lawrence is now a household name and this series made that possible. For those out there that haven’t had the chance to explore The Hunger Games, I’d recommend it. I also can’t help but wonder how many little girls out there are now named Katniss?

Video: How’s it look?

These appear to be the same discs that came in the original releases and, as such, all of the transfers are identical to their previously-released counterparts.  Here is a look at each film’s visuals.

The Hunger Games

Stylistically, The Hunger Games features a variety of locales and looks for the film. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is, of course, top notch with very little detracting from an outstanding picture. Colors are bold and deep in some scenes, the District 12 scenes appear bland, cold, grey and washed out – but that’s how it’s supposed to look.  Detail is amazing, we can see the intricate beard of Senaca Crane, the whips of fire coming off Katniss’ dress and the blood and cuts of those less fortunate.  This essentially looks like we’d think it would – amazing.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

As with the predecessor, the visual look and feel of this film is similar to The Hunger Games. This was the top-grossing film of 2013 and I think you know what I’m going to say – this looks the part.  The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is simply spectacular in every way, shape and form. Detail is top notch, the locale of Hawaii used in the jungle sequence seems to resonate and heighten the mood, the various Districts all have their own unique look and feel as well. Flesh tones look normal and natural, we can see the beads of sweat, the drops of blood and everything in between in the film.  Black levels and contrast work well off one another too.  Simply put, this is stunning in regard to looks.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I

Dark, dank and mostly lacking color would be how I could best describe this transfer. On a technical level it looks the part, the 2.40:1 AVC HD image reeks of everything that we’d expect from a Blu-ray. The movie shows the aftermath of war and battle and it does so in a very convincing way. The smoldering ash, the scrapes and scratches on the actors’ faces are so lifelike that you can feel their pain. The limited scenes in the Capitol are vivid and bright with Ceasar’s purple ‘do taking front and center. Granted, this might be the most colorful film out there, but it looks how it was intended.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II

It’s kind of odd how the second installment of a film can have such a different look and feel to it visually. Quentin Tarantino did this with the Kill Bill movies, with the first being more “Asian” in nature and the second paying homage to the spaghetti Westerns, so it’s not totally unheard of. Still, the 2.40:1 AVC HD image seems to have a lot more color than its predecessor. Granted, it’s still dark, the actors are wearing black military-type outfits and the charred remains of the Capitol don’t exactly exude color. I found detail to be amazing. There’s a character who has been tattooed to look like a tiger (yes, really) and the detail is second to none. The texture in the fabric of Katniss’ outfit, and the grand landscape all combine for a very interesting and rich palette. It’s a perfect-looking transfer that’s sure to delight.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Similar to the video, the audio too is the same as found on each films’ disc. These range from Dolby True HD to Dolby Atmos to DTS X to DTS HD Master Audio.  Here is a look at each film’s audio.

The Hunger Games

As if we couldn’t have guessed, the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is top notch.  Vocals are spot on, rich and vibrant, the surrounds offer a variety of sounds, ranging from jungle ambiance to explosions and the clashing of swords.  The LFE are pretty involved as well, offering a robust feel to some of the later scenes in the film.  Overall it’s a very immersive soundtrack that doesn’t fail to deliver.  There’s not a lot more I can say about this other than to turn it up and enjoy it. On the “odd” front, there’s also a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that’s optimized for nighttime viewing. I don’t understand the concept behind this, but it’s there nonetheless.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Again, I don’t think there’s much out there that could really top the way this movie sounds. The robust DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack literally pulls no punches. Form the grand parade of participants, to the resonating score to the thuds and booms contained therein, this is one amazing sounding track!  Vocals are rich and pure, we can hear the squeal of Katniss in a few scenes when in pain, the yelling of the other combatants and the ever so subtle score that sets the mood and tone.  If you’ve seen The Hunger Games, and I have to assume anyone reading this has, then you’ll fully know what to expect here.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I

There are a few instances in which the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack really spreads its wings (sorry, I couldn’t resist). The audio, by and large, is mostly dialogue-driven which sounds clear and crisp. When Katniss sings the “anthem” you can hear the little cracks in her voice, desperate and sullen. It’s quite a moment, actually. Contrast this to some of the action-oriented sequences and it makes for quite a robust mix, but at the right times. This checks all the boxes, for sure.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II

There are some movies out there that are just made for robust sound and this is one of them. Featuring a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, it’s down sampled to a Dolby TrueHD track for those that don’t have an Atmos receiver. This delivers on every level. Vocals are sharp and crisp, surrounds are used constantly and are always filled with action. The LFE get plenty of chances to flex their muscle and the front stage sports a strong track as well. The movie is an all out war and this sound mix really helps deliver the goods. Helicopters whizzing by, things blowing up, the thrill of the chase are all examples of how dynamic this mix is. It’s a perfect compliment to the reference-quality video.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Once again, each disc seems to have the same supplements as the original release. I know there have been steelbook releases and store-specific (Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart) releases as well, so I’ll simply list out the original supplements. Of note, this set does contain an entire disc of new supplements for several of the films – we’ll cover those at the bottom.

The Hunger Games

  • The World is Watching: Making The Hunger Games – This eight part documentary covers just about all the bases of this film, from adapting the book to screen, the casting, planning, location scouting to the ensemble cast. Put it this way, just about everything you need to know is contained in this 2 hour, informative documentary.
  • Game Maker: Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games Phenomenon – We get an interview with author Suzanne Collins who tells of the film’s origins and its subsequent journey to the screen.
  • Letters from the Rose Garden – Regardless of your opinions on Donald Sutherland, we get some very candid commentary by him regarding his part in the film, his fight to get the part and some of his rather political remarks.
  • Controlling the Games – We get a look at the game center that Director Gary Ross wanted to somewhat distance from the book. It’s sleek and mean.
  • A Conversation with Gary Ross and Elvis Mitchell – A talk with Director Gary Ross and Cinematographer Elvis Mitchell focusing on the look and feel of the film.
  • Preparing for the Games: A Director’s Process – A short feature on the Director has he shifted his focus from writing to shooting the film.
  • Propaganda Film – Donald Sutherland narrates this rather interesting piece.
  • Marketing Gallery – We get a photo gallery, the trailer and some television shots for the film.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  • Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire – This features nine different segments that deal with every inch of the film.
      A New Kind of Hunger: Continuing the Saga – Producer Nina Jacobson talks about meeting and living up to the expectations of the sequel as well as some interviews with the cast and crew (mainly Lawrence and Hutcherson).

      Visual Vocabulary: Building a World – Director Francis Lawrence discussed the sequel, opening up the story and characters, the stakes being higher and so forth.  We also get some insights into the physical look and feel of the different districts depicted in the movie and how they differed and expanded from the first film.

      Stirring things up: The Cast – We’re told that the people who work on this movie “genuinely like one another” and the reunion allowed them to pick up right where they left off. The new faces in this film are also explored.

      Fashion Forward: Costume, Make-Up & Hair – The elaborate and unique looking civilization that was “beyond the beyond”. The same creative team from the first film is back and we get a look at the new costumes, opulence and the flamboyance of the new characters.

      Let it Fly: Production in Atlanta – The city of Atlanta wasn’t only chapter to shoot in, but the locale was near where the first one was filmed as well as a perfect setting for District 12. The rustic and more natural appeal of the region made for perfect setting for the majority of the film.

      Moves and Countermoves: Stunts & Weapons – The action has a more “adult twist” for this film since the actors were literally older.  We get some insight with the stunt coordinator and we see some of the training that they endured for this film.

      Tick Tock: Production in Hawaii – For the “Jungle” sequence, the production moved to Hawaii where the actual “Hunger Games” part was filmed. Hawaii was perfect due to its exotic locale, yet industrialized enough where they could transport in film equipment, etc.

      Threading the Needle: Post Production – The more complex sequences, the tighter schedule contributed to the more advanced special effects. Editing, mixing, visual effects and sound design are all covered here.

      The Revolution Lies: Reflection & Looking Forward – Director Francis Lawrence talks of the upcoming Mockingjay films (two parts) and the ongoing productions that started during the filming of Catching Fire.  The challenge was to finish this film, while also prepping for the two movie finale.

  • Deleted Scenes – “The Hob”, “Train Station”, “A Wrinkle”, “Switching Envelopes”, “Finnick Ties Knot”
  • Audio Commentary – director Francis Lawrence and Preducer Nina Jacobsen team up for a pretty informative commentary track that’s chock full of information. These two obviously work well with one another and though some of the information is repeated in the documentary, it’s a good listen.
  • Previews
  • Sneak Peek at Divergent – I can’t say as I blame Liongate’s Marketing Department for putting a trailer for their upcoming movie on the biggest Blu-ray of the year, but I just wonder how relevant this feature will be in, say, five years?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I

  • Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson – Director Francis Lawrence (who will have helmed three of the four installments of the franchise when all is said and done) along with partner-in-crime Nina Jacobson discuss the movie, a lot of technical information, how and why to split the film into two parts and everything else in between. It’s a nice and very informative track.
  • The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay Part 1 – An expansive documentary broken down into seven shorter, but no less informative, featureless.
      Hope and Rebellion: Continuing the Saga 

      Designing Dystopia: Visual Aesthetic 

      Rebels and Warriors: The Cast

      Fusing Form and Function: Costume, Make-Up and Hair 

      Fighting the System: Shooting on Location 

      D13: Rebellion Tactics: Stunts and Special Effects 

      Perfecting Panem: The Post-Production Process 

  • Straight from the Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman – Essentially a montage and farewell to a great actor.
  • Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Creating the Soundtrack – A look at the music in the film, including the “anthem.”
  • Deleted Scenes – Even at eleven minutes, these didn’t seem to offer much. It’s pretty clear why they were cut.
  • Music Video – Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat”
  • Insurgent Sneak Peak – Lionsgate is not letting this opportunity go to waste as they feature a look at the second installment in the Divergent series.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II

  • Audio Commentary – Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson who take part in all of the other supplements as well, collaborate on the final installment’s commentary track. These two also did the commentary for the first part, so they pick right up where they left off there. If you’ve watched all of the supplements listed below, a lot of what they say will be redundant, but they’re chatty and obviously work very well together. It’s another nice commentary track and well worth a listen.
  • Pawns No More: Making The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – Broken down in to 8 parts, each of which covers a different aspect of the production, this is a very lengthy and informative viewing.
      Walking Through Fire: Concluding the Saga- We get a crash course in the history of the film franchise as well as some words from various producers and crew on the film. We’re told of the “need” for the film to be in two parts (which made me chuckle, just come out and say it – money!), the journey Katniss takes and the impact of the series as a whole.

      Real or Not Real: Visual Design – In addition to the visual effects, the main challenge with this final film was showing the viewer the Capitol. It had never really been explored that much in the previous films and we’re told of the challenges of creating it, what it would look like and how it all came together.

      High-Value Targets: The Acting Ensemble – Various members of the cast comment on their characters as well as the burden placed on Jennifer Lawrence and her character. In truth, the interviews do tell how far the actors have come as well as the series itself and some of the inherent challenges playing the same character in multiple films.

      From Head to Toe: Costume, Make-up & Hair – Costume Designers Kurt Swanson and Bart Mueller give us the lowdown on the challenges involved in costume design as well as the sheer scope of wardrobe in the movie series.

      Navigating the Minefield: Production in Atlanta, Paris & Berlin – Some of the challenges involved in shooting both this movie and its predecessor are discussed. Producer Nina Jacobson, Director Francis Lawrence and Production Designer Phillip Messina give us the low down on shooting in Atlanta and in Europe as well as some of the challenges involved in shooting two movies at the same time.

      Collateral Damage: Stunts, Special Effects & Weapons – Given the magnitude of what happens in the final movies, we’re treated to how they did it and made it look real. Special Effects Coordinator Steve Cremin tells us how some of that was made possible with the realistic fighting, stunts involved and some of the more practical special effects used.

      Tightening the Noose: The Post-Production Process – The longest of these supplements, running 30 minutes, tells of how the films were edited and the planning and preparation involved with it. Director Francis Lawrence is touted for his preparedness as well as the breathing room they had with this second installment. We see some before and after shots, the visual effects as well as the tightly-wound editing process that would leave most of us speechless.

      A Different World: Reflections – We do get some genuine reflections from the cast and crew, notably the final scene shot in the film was when Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) read the letter from Plutarch (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) to Katniss, though, due to his death – was unable to film the scene. We learn of the family and the bonding that took place over the shoot and it was Jennifer Lawrence’s nephews that played her kids in the epilogue. This actually was a pretty touching installment and does put a nice closing on the series.

  • The Hunger Games: A Photographic Journey – Murray Close, a photographer who’s worked with Stanley Kubrick among others, gives us the duties of the photographer on the set. As a budding photographer myself, I found this to be pretty interesting as he tells us of his role in the overall production of the film, the importance of documenting the images and, as every photographer knows – getting that all important shot!
  • Cinna’s Sketchbook: Secrets of the Mockingjay Armor – Costume Designers Bart Mueller and Kurt Swandon walk us through the process of designing the Mockingjay armor worn by Katniss in the film. We get a look at their sketches, how they designed it through “Cinna’s eyes” and some of the influences that ultimately determined the look and feel of the suit worn by our heroine.
  • Panem on Display: The Hunger Games: The Exhibition – I have no idea if this is a traveling exhibition or not – they never say. This “feature” shows us a set up of some of the technology and costumes used for the films. Patrons can go through and “experience” some of the things that the characters did in the film and, of course, visit the gift shop on their way out. According to the official web site, it’s located in San Francisco and again, I have no idea if it will reach other cities or not. I’m sure if there’s money to be made – it will branch out.
  • Jet to the Set – I’d never heard of this show (if that’s what you can call it), but it’s hosted by Carly Steel (from TV’s Entertainment Tonight) and Laurie Feltheimer. The premise is this: these two women jaunt around the globe checking out movie sets and living the lifestyle associated with that movie. They giggle like women 1/3 their age, go shopping and try to get the feel of what it is they’re doing. The movie was filmed in Atlanta where the duo go and hang out. Admittedly, running 41 minutes (it was broadcast as an hour long show on television in conjunction with the film) it’s a fairly robust supplement. Still, these two made the hair on the back of my neck stand up – yes, that’s how annoying they are. But fans of the film might actually get a kick out of this. I didn’t, but it’s possible.

Bonus Disc – You would think that everything on this bonus disc wouldn’t have appeared on any of the discs in this set. You would be mistaken. Some of these features listed has already been covered above.

The features with the icons by them (one for each film) will delineate which are truly “new” to this disc. You’re welcome.
The Hunger Games

  • The World is Watching: Making The Hunger Games – This eight part documentary covers just about all the bases of this film, from adapting the book to screen, the casting, planning, location scouting to the ensemble cast. Put it this way, just about everything you need to know is contained in this 2 hour, informative documentary.
  • Featurettes
      Game Maker: Suzanne Collins & The Hunger Games Phenomenon – We get an interview with author Suzanne Collins who tells of the film’s origins and its subsequent journey to the screen.

      Letters from The Rose Garden – Regardless of your opinions on Donald Sutherland, we get some very candid commentary by him regarding his part in the film, his fight to get the part and some of his rather political remarks.

      Controlling the Games – We get a look at the game center that Director Gary Ross wanted to somewhat distance from the book. It’s sleek and mean.

      A Conversation with Gary Ross and Elvis Mitchell – A talk with Director Gary Ross and Cinematographer Elvis Mitchell focusing on the look and feel of the film

      Preparing for the Games: A Director’s Process – A short feature on the Director has he shifted his focus from writing to shooting the film.

      Propaganda Film – Donald Sutherland narrates this rather interesting piece.

      Stories from the Tributes – Running about 15 minutes, we get some insight and commentary from the actors who played the tributes in the film.

      Casting the Tributes – Some rough footage and things that wouldn’t necessarily come to mind when it comes to casting. These folks worked for their parts!

      Tribute Video Diaries – Seven of the tributes give in-character accounts of their time in the Hunger Games.

      Photo Album – Set to music “Catch Me if you Can”, otherwise is pretty self-explanatory.

      Stunts of The Hunger Games – As you might expect – we get a look at some of the stunt choreography involved in the film.

      Capitol Couture: The Styles of Panem – A look at the costume design and rather surreal outfits worn by those in the Caiptol.

      Weapons of the Arena – Some things we never saw the tributes use, but these were present nonetheless.

      EFFECTED: The Visual Artwork of The Hunger Games – A general overview of the visual and special effects in the film.

      Feast and Famine: Creating the Food for The Hunger Games – Think you had it rough? See what awaits the tributes when it comes to food…

      On the Black Carpet: The Hunger Games Premiere – As the name suggests, some footage from the premiere of the movie.

      The Hunger Games: Blu-ray Menu Easter Egg – I don’t know why this feature exists, the whole point of an easter egg is to find one (providing it’s there), but in case you want to go through the hassle of looking – this points it out for you.

  •  Deleted Scenes – A few that didn’t make the final cut, though at this point my mind was numb from all of the above material.
  • Marketing Archive
      Theatrical Trailers


      Poster Gallery

      Photo Gallery

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  • Featurettes
      The Alliance: Returning Cast – Those who didn’t die in the first movie are back for more! They’re profiled here.

      Friend or Foe: New Cast – We meet some of the new faces that join the ever-growing cast.

      One Vision: A Faithful Adaptation – Essentially how this movie is ever-so-similar to the novel by Suzanne Collins.

      The Look of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Again, as in the features for the first movie, this is a look at the costume design as well as wardrobe and makeup.

      The Quarter Quell Cast – If you haven’t had enough, here’s another look at some of the new and old faces found in the film.

      Bringing Panem to Life – A look at some of the visual and special effects that gave us the look of Panem.

      Taking Aim: Stunts & Weapons – Like the same feature in the first film, this takes a look at some of the very “interesting” tools and weapons found in this film.

      The Quell: On Location in Hawaii – We get a look at some of the rather tropical and exotic locations used for some of the scenes in this movie.

      Battling the Clock Arena – The construction of the unique arena is shown here as well as some of the significance of the clock.

      Music Video – “Atlas” by Coldplay

      Capitol Cuisine – Another look at some of the mix of food consumed by those in the Capitol.

      Inside District 12: The Hob – The “trading center” is profiled here.

  • Deleted Scene – A very rough version of a scene that left me scratching my head.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I

  • Featurettes
      Rubble and Ashes – If you haven’t read the book, this gives you a crash course in what to expect in this penultimate installment.

      Utilitarian Chic – An overall look of the visuals of the movie including visual effects and production design.

      The Propos Team – Katniss’ team is profiled here as she is the face of the revolution (but you knew that already).

      Combat Zone – We get a pretty in-depth look at how some of the rubble and such was designed for the film, creating a war zone atmosphere.

      Katniss Propo Video – All 19 seconds of it – enjoy!

      Picturing Panem – Some storyboards and production stills round out the new extras on this disc.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of this series, this is probably already in your collection. Truthfully, the originally-released discs were pretty packed with supplements, so unless you feel the need to get that extra disc full of “goodies” then it might actually not be. Am I making sense? Nevertheless, word has it that Lionsgate is developing a prequel to this movie series and why not – this generated a LOT of income for the studio. So while we might not have seen the last of Panem, this collection nicely wraps up a 4 year movie saga. Recommended.

Disc Scores