Single note for the first 4 films, so excluding the new Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023):

  1. The Hunger Games (2012), by Gary Ross
  2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), by Francis Lawrence
  3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1, 2014), by Francis Lawrence
  4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 2, 2015), by Francis Lawrence

I'd only watched the original film before (and never read any of the novels), back in 2012 when The Hunger Games was kind of a new Twilight: it brought the same audience to the theater. I was sort of coerced into going with N, and at the time the film didn't make a strong impression, I didn't like or particularly disliked it.

C wanted to watch the whole series (sparked I think by the release of Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes), and so we did this week.

I was very underwhelmed.

I remembered bits of the first film but what changed from my 2012 watch is that it felt VERY CRINGY this time. I guess I also didn't like the general plot involving teenagers killing each other on TV, the focus on appearances and public image, and the dark dystopian backdrop (way overdone + in many ways nonsensical). The tropes are incredibly simplistic/cliché, there are one-dimensional good guys against one-dimensional bad guys. And sprinkle ripoffs of other films on top.

I'd wondered whether the series would have "grown up" after the original film (like other famous film series) but it's just more of the same, which is after all not surprising since they've all been released ~1 year apart. If anything I felt that over time the story gets more exaggerated/over-the-top, and/or more simplistic/cliché.

Sure it's watchable, in the same way Along with the Gods is watchable. But at least Along with the Gods was a tiny bit original, and wasn't half as cringy. Not recommended if you're older than 15.