The Hunger Games: The Unseen Version

Has Hollywood bitten off more than it can chew with this new teen publishing sensation?

It may be based on the latest ‘young adult’ publishing sensation, but don’t go expecting another Twilight. Instead, get ready for a smart sci-fi satire with traces of Battle Royale about it, where youngsters are pitted against one another in a fight to the death in a near-future America. As an added bonus it’s presented here on Blu-ray in its uncut 143-min form, rather than the censored version that played at UK cinemas.

Picture: Whether it’s rendering brightly coloured crowds lining city streets or the lush greens of the forests where the games take place, the AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode delivers the goods.

Colour saturation is excellent, brightness levels are spot-on and there’s plenty of fine detail in facial close-ups. And while the film’s constantly moving vérité-style cinematography does rob the film of some of the crispness and clarity you might expect from a modern blockbuster, it lends the imagery a gritty and natural style that the BD replicates brilliantly.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The film comes to Blu-ray with two audio options – a native DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix and a Dolby Digital 2.0 track ‘optimized for late night listening‘.

The lossless track is particularly impressive, balancing the various elements it contains extremely well. Voices are clean and distinguished, the score is rich and melodious and the spatial imaging and movement around the seven-channel soundfield is precise and seamless (as evidenced by the encounter with a swarm of ‘tracker jacker’ wasps in Chapter 11).
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: The fun kicks off with the eight-part The World is Watching: Making The Hunger Games. Running 122-mins, this epic documentary negates the need for a commentary track as it takes you through every step of the film’s production.

The second disc also houses a collection of supplementary featurettes. Game Maker: Suzanne Collins & The Hunger Games Phenomenon is a 14-min piece about the book, its author and the themes it explores. The 9-min Letters from the Rose Garden focuses on the casting of Donald Sutherland, with particular attention to a letter he wrote to director Gary Ross exploring the psychology of his character. Controlling the Games is a 6-min piece about the creation of the Game Centre location for the film. The 3-min Preparing for the Games: A Director’s Process gives Ross a chance to talk about how he transforms a script into a shot-list before launching into a split-screen breakdown of a sequence from the film.

Also included on the disc are a 15-min interview with the director, the full version of a propaganda movie that appears in the film, plus poster and photo galleries.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: Impressive AV and great extras will leave you hungry for future instalments in hi-def

Lionsgate, Region B BD, £25 Approx, On sale now