It’s a very good week for Blu-Ray releases. Fresh off the astounding Tuesday release of Steven Spielberg’s first blockbuster -- check out our Jaws Blu-Ray review -- arrives the home video premiere of one of the year’s biggest films: The Hunger Games.
The film is based on the bestselling books by Suzanne Collins and banked $400 million in its theatrical release. Look for it to break Blu-Ray records as well. But, is the compilation of the film and bonus features worthy of the wild popularity that surely the demand for this home video release will have?
The answer, in short, is a resounding yes. The Hunger Games Blu-Ray is a must-own for any movie collector and for fans of the story of Katniss Everdeen. The release at midnight on August 18 warrants staying up late to be one of the first to own it.
Diving into the two-disc set that Movie Fanatic received for review, it wasn’t easy to decide which to pop in the player first: The fantastic film, as we stated in our The Hunger Games review, or the hours of bonus features that take us inside the magic of director Gary Ross’ work.
Of course we took in the film for what is now our third viewing. The Blu-Ray transfer is stellar and on a hi-def TV, the sights and sounds of the blockbuster are as clear as Ross envisioned it. The action is crisp, the score pulsates, and given the film’s clarity on Blu-Ray, even the facial expressions of its star, Jennifer Lawrence, only enhance her performance that was astounding theatrically. And Josh Hutcherson in The Hunger Games could not have been better cast. When you see everything on a Blu-Ray, it's hard to hide. But, Hutcherson is the real deal.
Next, Movie Fanatic popped in the bonus features and the highlight has to be the eight-part documentary, The World is Watching: Making of The Hunger Games. An interview with Ross illustrates the decisions the talented helmer made on the North Carolina set that pleased the millions of fans of the book series. Speaking of the literary work, a fascinating bonus feature takes fans behind the book sensation on a global tour of its impact.
Sometimes, for example the Twilight series, audiences never get to hear the reasoning behind creating new scenes for the film that were not in the book. Not so with the release of The Hunger Games Blu-Ray. Ross and his team explain effectively and efficiently the modus operandi of those decisions to further enhance, and not detract, from the pages of Collins’ book that enthralled tens of millions.
We would be remiss not to mention another bonus feature that features one of the most impeccably cast parts in the film. Donald Sutherland and his President Snow take viewers into his world with the bonus feature Letters from the Rose Garden.