The Hunger Games – Steelbook (Blu-ray)

June 6, 2014 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

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.  Recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

The film looks amazing in HD and I really can’t think of anything, but high praise for it. Colors are nice and bold and quite extensive, actually. There are various wardrobes worn by the cast and all of them have a unique look to them. Stubble on several faces comes through strongly, individual hairs, it’s all heightened here. Jennifer Lawrence has a few moles that could be seen clearer here too. It should be noted that this is the same disc from the 2 disc Blu-ray. So don’t expect a new transfer. The package does omit the second disc of features, but otherwise, the disc featuring the movie is identical. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS track, like the video, is top notch. Vocals were always nice and clear, but the action is what fans likely care most about and for good reason. There was hardly a dull moment here. Even the slower scenes made an impression. Background detail was always on point. This is a very immersive track that delivers the goods. There are a few other audio options on the disc, but you needn’t bother, this is the way to go. In the bonus section you will also find a DTS system check to make sure you’re not missing out. I don’t necessarily consider this a “Bonus” in the traditional sense, but it was fun to check.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is a special Steel-Book packaging exclusive to Best Buy. There’s a nice smooth texture to the case and also inner art as well. The inside of the case features Katniss shooting an arrow. There’s a digital copy code inside the case, but sadly, this disc eliminates the second disc of features from the standard edition. I don’t see why they happened. That means we essentially just get one disc for the movie. Fans should be advised before purchasing. If you don’t own the movie and like special features then go with the basic version. If you don’t care about features and/or like Steel-Books then this version should please. All the disc features are some previews and a pretty neat feature where you can check your surround system setup. It’s a DTS check and let’s you check either your 5.1 or 7.1 system.

  • Digital Copy
  • Previews
  • DTS Sound Check

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