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1,076 of 1,387 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece! An excellent film about courage, hope and human dignity facing the all powerful totalitarian tyranny!
"Hunger Games" is certainly the best film I have seen since many many months, and it is a very successful adaptation of an excellent book.

In my personal opinion, both the book and the film are much deeper and much more ambitious, than what most critics and reviewers would make us believe. After reading the reviews in "New York Times", "Le Monde" and on...
Published on March 22, 2012 by Darth Maciek

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247 of 334 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too pretty, too santized -- the film has none of the emotional impact of the novel
Director Gary Ross's version of Suzanne Collins's HUNGER GAMES manages to sanitize the entire concept of kids-killing-kids in order to produce a PG-13 blockbuster that's sure to rake in the big bucks. But what was devastating and heart-wrenching in the novel is glossed over and prettified here, leaving me feeling none of the emotional impact I experienced in reading the...
Published on March 24, 2012 by kacunnin


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1,076 of 1,387 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece! An excellent film about courage, hope and human dignity facing the all powerful totalitarian tyranny!, March 22, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
"Hunger Games" is certainly the best film I have seen since many many months, and it is a very successful adaptation of an excellent book.

In my personal opinion, both the book and the film are much deeper and much more ambitious, than what most critics and reviewers would make us believe. After reading the reviews in "New York Times", "Le Monde" and on "Msn.com" (to cite only few) I was surprised that they mostly missed everything that is important in this film. With a kind of amused superiority, which people from Capitol in this movie would immediately recognize, the "professional" reviewers pointed at the obvious allusions to gladiator fights, the reality shows, the importance of trashy entertainment in today's TV, the search for a new franchise able to replace "Twilight", etc., etc.

But they almost entirely failed to see, that this film is first and above all about much more important things: how to keep hope, not lose the courage and preserve humanity and dignity under a totalitarian oppressive regime.

I believe that almost everybody now knows that when writing "Hunger Games" Susan Collins attempted basically a modern (even futurist) retelling of the old Greek myth of Theseus and Minotaur. According to this ancient tale, after losing a war, every year the city of Athens had to send a tribute of seven young men and seven maidens to the king of Crete. Once there the young people were locked in the Labyrinth, to be devoured by the monster Minotaur. This yearly punishment and humiliation lasted until Theseus, crown prince of Athens, volunteered to be one of the tributes and once locked in the Labyrinth he defeated and killed the Minotaur.

In "Hunger Games" what was once United States (and I think also Canada) is now called the Panem. It is a country divided in twelve Districts remaining under the control of the Capitol central metropolis. There was once thirteen Districts, but when they rebelled against the central power, the Capitol destroyed completely the District 13 with all its population and then defeated and submitted again the twelve others. In order to remind to its subjects how absolute is its power, the Capitol claims a yearly tribute - one girl and one boy of ages from 12 to 18 from every District. The tributes are then send to an arena and forced to fight, until only one remain alive. This yearly event is called the Hunger Games and it is shown live on TV to all the population of Panem. This film tells the story of what happened at the 74th edition of Hunger Games...

For Capitol the purpose of Hunger Games is to remind yearly how powerful is the central metropolis and how dire can be the consequences of its wrath, but also - and even more importantly in my opinion - to humiliate and degrade the people of the Districts by forcing them to become accomplices (even if under duress) of a barbarian custom in which some of their own children are send to the slaughterhouse. And as all bullies and abusers know, it is much easier to oppress, abuse and brutalize victims who lack self-esteem...

Well, in this film we can see how one of the tributes from District 12, an exceptionnal young girl named Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), manages to turn the tables on the Capitol and by allowing people of Panem to regain some of their dignity she will be the pebble which starts the avalanche. The exact way in which she does that will not be revealed here, but both in the book as in the film it is described in a very intelligent and very moving way...

This may seem a rather improbable thing that a 16 years old child can do something that will ultimately bring down a seemingly invincible and all-powerful tyranny, but let's not forget that in the real world, the great wave of revolutions of Arab Spring began on 18 December 2010 with a desperate gesture of a dirt-poor 27-years old Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire after having been robbed and beaten by the corrupt local police one time too much... Less than two years after, the opressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya already collapsed, the seemingly invulnerable dictator of Yemen had to resign and the Syrian brutal regime is facing a massive armed rebellion..

Bottom line, this film is first and before all a story about how even a seemingly powerless person can horribly hurt a tyrannic regime with a magic potion made of lots of courage, an ice-cold determination, a great personal dignity, a little compassion, a handful of flowers, a couple of tears and one defiant and powerful gesture...

The powerful message and excellent scenario are not the only reasons why I consider "Hunger Games" as a masterpiece. Actors were selected very carefully and they perform well. Jennifer Lawrence is simply perfect - there is no other word to describe her performance! However, after seeing her in "Winter's Bone" and "X-Men: First class" I didn't expect anything less.

But the real surprise in this film comes from Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Mellark, the boy tribute from District 12. His character is more difficult to play, because Peeta is in the same time more limited but also more complicated than Katniss. Josh Hutcherson could have very easily fall in one of the many traps which are build in Peeta's character. By overacting or underacting he could have make him a wimp or a passive follower or an immature kid, but he avoided those snares with grace and his Peeta comes out of this film as a surprisingly complexe and also a very likeable character. He is certainly not a hero and a fighter like Katniss - but until the very end he preserves his honor, in a deadly place where he shouldn't ever be send...

A special mention goes to little Amandla Stenberg, who plays 12-years old Rue, the youngest of all the tributes. Her character is both secondary and in the same time incredibly important - and this little cute pixie played it perfectly!

Other, more known actors contribute to the success of this film. Woody Harrelson is excellent as Haymitch, the only person from District 12 who ever won in the Hunger Games and is now an advisor to Katniss and Peeta. Lenny Kravitz portrayed a perfect Cinna, the man in charge of image of tributes from District 12 in public appearances before the games begin. And finally there is the giant figure of Donald Sutherland, who plays the supreme ruler of Panem, President Coriolanus Snow. He is purely incredible. There is a moment in this film when he says to somebody "I like you" - and I believe that I have never heard such a terrible and deadly threat in one short sentence since the archifamous Schwarzenegger's "I will be back"...

I also absolutely adored the using of the cameras. In some moments of this film we have the impression of going after the characters with a camera, like a war correspondent following the fighters (this style was also very skillfully used in "The Shield" series). Of course not all the film is turned in this way, but mixing this kind of scenes with more conventional ones gives here an excellent effect.

The games themselves are very skillfully described and are a very dramatic tale, full of surprises and twists. I found them much much better than "Battle Royale", to which this book and film are often compared. The games are deadly and brutal, but there is only limited gore - I think this film is suitable for young teenagers, although not for children younger than 12. There is also absolutely no nudity, sex or strong language and I for one found it a most excellent thing.

There are still many more good things to say about this film, but I believe you should discover them by yourself. One more thing however about the book - it is of course possible to see and greatly enjoy this film without reading the book, but I believe that reading the novel first is a good idea. If reading the whole book is out of question, I would advise to read at least the first hundred pages. It will not reveal much about the games themselves, but it will allow for a better understanding of some of the key elements: the strength of the bond between Katniss and her younger sister, the history that Katniss shares with her hunting partner Gale, the complicated relation between Katniss and her mother and last but not least, the mysterious bond existing between Katniss and Peeta Mellark.

About this last point: if you did not yet read the book I do not want to spoil the pleasure of discovery so I will say just this - Katniss and Peeta lived for 16 years in the same village, but they never spoke one to another (except for an occasional "Hello") and they never touched one another in any way. And still, they share a secret as big as life and death, a secret which both bonded them together and in the same time separated them deeply... If you want to know the solution of this riddle you have either to watch very very carefully every scene of the film or simply read the book...

Conclusion: this film is a masterpiece! I loved it and I am going to buy the DVD as soon as it is available. And I am SOOO going to see the the second part, as soon as it opens!
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247 of 334 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too pretty, too santized -- the film has none of the emotional impact of the novel, March 24, 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
Director Gary Ross's version of Suzanne Collins's HUNGER GAMES manages to sanitize the entire concept of kids-killing-kids in order to produce a PG-13 blockbuster that's sure to rake in the big bucks. But what was devastating and heart-wrenching in the novel is glossed over and prettified here, leaving me feeling none of the emotional impact I experienced in reading the book.

[**SPOILER WARNING** I'm assuming readers are familiar with the novel, so some plot elements will be discussed in this review.]

Don't get me wrong, this is a slick and well-made film, with plenty of action and a sensational performance from Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen. The settings are well done, especially the Capitol in all its crazy-colored chic-ness and over-the-top luxury. District 12, the poorest district in Panem, is believably presented as well, complete with starving people dressed in rags and walking like zombies to their depressing jobs. The scene of the "Reaping" is chillingly done, and the scenes of Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) getting primped and trained in the Capitol hit perfect satiric notes (it's all so "reality TV," which is what makes it all so believable).

What doesn't work are the scenes of the Games themselves. From the start, Ross misses the mark. When the Games are seconds from beginning, the 24 teens are standing in a semi-circle, staring down at weapons and backpacks strewn about around the Cornucopia as they wait for the countdown to hit zero. We need to feel what they're feeling. We need to feel their terror, their horror, and yes, even their excitement. But Ross doesn't let us feel any of that. Instead, he keeps the focus almost solely on Katniss, and once everyone starts rushing forward, he cuts so quickly between scenes that it's almost impossible to see what's going on. We are aware that people are being killed, but it happens so fast and with so little reaction from the characters themselves, that it has little impact.

The same holds true for the rest of the games. Horrible things happen, but I never felt that they had much affect on Katniss or Peeta. Most of the killing in the film happens off screen, or the camera cuts away before anything brutal is revealed. That wouldn't be a bad thing if we could at least see some believable reaction shots. But we don't. On top of that, none of these characters look like they've been out in the woods for days, trying to kill each other. Close-ups of hands show clean, manicured fingernails, and everyone looks amazingly dirt-free (aside from Peeta, who camouflages himself with mud at one point - but even then, he's clean and chipper-looking a few scenes later).

Rue's climactic death scene is equally ridiculous. Rue (Amandla Stenberg) looks downright gorgeous, like she's on her way to a photo shoot instead of swinging in trees to avoid getting knifed (in fact, we don't get to see her swinging in trees at all, just peeking out from between branches). Her hair is perfect, there's not a scratch or bit of dirt on her, and when Katniss is holding her as she dies, it's impossible to imagine that they've been out in the woods for days without soap and water, fighting for their lives. It's just all too pretty, all too nice.

I walked out of the theater feeling oddly detached from what I'd just seen. That's not at all the way I felt in reading the book. The novel was gripping and gut-wrenching, and although it was certainly not graphically violent or bloody, the situation Katniss found herself in was chilling and horrifying and impossible to forget. At the end of the film, however, Katness seems almost unscathed by what she has just experienced. I didn't see any indication that she is the wounded, devastated young woman she is in the novel. In the final scene, she's more bothered by seeing Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in the crowd at the train station while she's holding Peeta's hand. Yikes, girl, you've just KILLED people and seen children covered in blood . . . surely you'd be thinking of something more than which guy you like better.

There are changes in the film that might bother the die-hard fans. The "Mutts" that attack during the final act are just generic beasts in the film (they don't have the faces of the fallen tributes), which minimizes their impact. The symbolic Mockingjay pin just shows up near the start of the film without explanation. But these are minor changes. Stanley Tucci is great as Flickerman, Woody Harrelson is terrific as Haymitch, and I enjoyed seeing Donald Southerland as President Snow (although his performance was so low-key I had trouble imagining him as a ruthless dictator).

This is a big movie, and it's going to be a huge success. I have no doubt a huge percentage of HUNGER GAMES fans will be thrilled with what they see on the screen. I just wanted to feel more. The whole idea of being forced to kill people for a TV viewing audience is absolutely horrifying - I wanted to see that and feel that in this movie, the way I did in the novel. You can't win a "game" like this. Haymitch is proof that you can't win (what happens to his life after winning the Games is evidence of what such brutality will do to you). In the novel, Katniss herself is torn apart by what happens. In the film, not so much.

HUNGER GAMES is not a terrible film. I'm glad I saw it. But it in no way does justice to the novel, and that's too bad.
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244 of 343 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book to flick., April 24, 2012
By 
I enjoyed this movie. Yes, I've read the books. People will always be upset because things are always missing from the story when you take a book and transfer it to film. I thought it was done well. Other people didn't understand the concept. This is a trilogy, you're not supposed to learn everything in the first book. Everything will come together, and there will be more understanding. Overall, it was a great representation of the book, in my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unbiased by the book, November 25, 2013
Just to make it clear, I have not read The Hunger Games and I don't intend to. I have my reasons. I have my reasons which I spend a considerable amount of time explaining, as the question of why I'm not going to read The Hunger Games is now the most frequent question I'm asked by people that know me in person. Also, let's just say, the movie only affirmed those reasons, so I'm even less likely to read the book now than I was before I saw it. But I'm sort of jumping ahead...

So here's the spoiler warning, because I'm not going to be very careful about what I say since I expect that most of you that actually care have already seen the movie anyway (and nothing I say is going to change your opinion, but, still, maybe I can make a person or two stop and think). If you haven't already seen it, you probably don't care enough for it to matter.

We're supposed to believe that Katniss and the other members of District 12 are poor. But not just poor, dirt poor. As in they don't have enough to eat. They don't have good clothes to wear. That's what the film would like us to believe from the presentation. But it doesn't back it up. Everyone is too healthy, and they have nice, clean clothes (and, evidently, plenty of them). Not just Katniss. Everyone. Especially Katniss, though, with her round cheeks. No one here is deprived. They're also clean. All of them. Pristine clean. Even Peeta in the midst of throwing out scraps to the pigs in the mud during the rain is wearing pristine white clothes. Poor people don't live like this. My sense of reality is already at odds with the movie, and it's barely started.

The next major disconnect is "the reaping." It's a stupid name for what's going on as the whole thing is "random." That's not what reaping is at all. But my big issue here is the way that everyone just stands by while it's going on. Even the parents. It's totally unbelievable. Throughout history, we have seen parents go to all sorts of lengths to protect their children. Even up to death. So I can't buy into the fact that the parents just stand by and allow their children to be taken. Without protest. Of any kind. I don't care what kind of social conditioning you try to say is going on, there is nothing that can override the biological need of a parent to protect his/her child. At least, in the short story "The Lottery", the people don't know why the lottery is happening. It's origins have been lost, and they don't know what kind of badness will transpire if they fail to follow through every year. Superstition lends believability to the events. But they do know in Hunger Games, so that whole set up came off as contrived to me. And, of course, it is contrived, because that's what authors do, but it shouldn't feel contrived. That did. Even if Katniss' mother wasn't going to wail or protest, someone should have. Peeta's parents didn't. And there was no mention of it from any other district, either, so it just rang false.

Since we're on the subject, were we also supposed to believe that that was the entire District 12 there in that courtyard? That was it? There's few enough of them to fit all the names in that one little fish bowl? A couple of hundred kids in the whole District? Give me a break. And if that was it, if that's what we're supposed to buy into, then I can't buy into districts that are that small supporting a city the size of the capitol. Especially at the level of technology they have. It's also way beyond plausibility that they support all of that off of coal mining. Seriously? That's what we're expected to believe?

All of that to say that I was already busy shaking my head at the ridiculousness of the entire thing within 30 minutes. I don't know what the book is like, but the movie created a foundation built on sand. I think it was made out of sand, too. I mean, the whole set up is just so that they can make the point that it's all for the entertainment of the city folk. I get the point. I even appreciate the point. But you have to make it believable.

Other things I couldn't buy:

The flaming clothes of Katniss and Peeta: Not that I couldn't believe the possibility of it, but I couldn't accept that Cinna was the only one to think of something extravagant. Again, give me a break. Not a single one of the other publicity people were creative enough to think of something cool to bring attention to their people?

Peeta: Shy boy from a backwater district suddenly becomes all cool and suave for television? No way... That coupled with his speech to Katniss about how he didn't want them to change him just about made me gag.

The game itself. And this will be my last point, but it's a big one.

The idea is that the 24 tributes will fight to the death for riches and glory, but only four of them, the representatives from Districts 1 and 2, are invested in that. The rest of them, mostly, just really want to live. Collins, in effect, put the characters into a situation where they have no motivation to make anything happen. After that first rush for supplies, it becomes enough that the tributes just figure out a way to live. Even Cato, in the end, just stakes his territory and sits around and waits. There is no motivation for anyone to do anything, and that's just bad writing. In order to move the story along, at this point, Collins (because she was involved in writing the script for the movie, too) has to introduce an external force to push the characters into what she wants to happen. Again, this whole sequence of events came off as very contrived. Because it was.

The dogs were stupid. I mean, that whole bit with them coming out of the ground was just dumb. And, then, Katniss and Peeta running to where they knew Cato was? Also dumb. Katniss had already shown great skill at climbing trees, so the fact that they ran off through the forest to get to the clearing was just beyond reasonable. Except that that is where Collins wanted them to be.

Also, the whole "there can be two winners" "oh, no, we lied" bit. Also dumb. And the wasps. Convenient. Especially since they managed to not sting anyone in the at least 12 hours the sitting right next to them.

And, since I haven't read the books, and I don't really know what's going on with it, I won't say a thing about the "love" story. Maybe my initial thoughts about it will be proven incorrect, so I'll reserve judgment.

Not to be completely negative, though, Woody Harrelson was great as Haymitch. I've seen a lot of criticism about that character from people that read the books, but I thought Harrelson was great. Actually, I think Harrelson is a generally underrated actor.

The only person better? Stanley Tucci. He was amazing. Tucci is another actor that rarely gets the credit he deserves.

I'd like to say I was impressed with Elizabeth Banks, but I think her makeup did most of her acting for her.

And I'd really like to say that I was impressed with Lawrence, but, really, I don't think she stood out at all in the role. There was nothing that she did to make the role hers. Nothing that made it distinct. Nothing that would keep a dozen other actors from stepping in and doing the job just as well. Or, maybe, better
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie, January 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
Read the book and loved the movie. It could happen to us in the future, you never know. My next cat will be named Katness.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what mom thinks about this movie, January 16, 2014
Great movie...the killings were very tastefully filmed. Not a lot of gore thank goodness when it came to killing people for sport. Looking forward to seeing second movie.
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for more Hunger Games Movies!, May 4, 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
I RARELY, if ever, hand out five stars to movies. But this movie was far deserving of it. A great adaptation of the superb series by Suzanne Collins. Obviously some things have to be left out, as all novels to film go, but they did a wonderful job regardless. I do however understand, that if you have not read/or you did not enjoy the books, that you probably will not enjoy the film as much as an avid fan like myself.

Even critics (not that I take their opinion into consideration) who hate all the good movies, gave it a good review. It was refreshing to see an excellent and extremely unique movie for a change, with all the static of junk movies out there. I only have one negative thing to say, the camera work was extremely jumpy(either due to style, an attempt to tame the violence, or both) The actors for Katniss, Peeta, and Gale were perfect.

Prepare for; violence in a fight to survive, the effects of war on children and their families, valor and heart, a bit of romance, maybe a few tears, and struggles from the oppression of a totalitarian Government. I can't wait to see the other movies in the trilogy. This is a must see! You don't have to own it as I will, but I would watch it at least once to form your own opinion. Know this- It is a sensation for a reason. Even if it wasn't their favorite movie, I have yet to meet a single person that has regretted watching it. Maybe you too, will be left hungering for more!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: 'The Hunger Games', March 21, 2012
By 
Travis Hopson "shoguntee" (Aldie, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hunger Games (DVD)
The very best of science fiction tends to be memorable for more than just robots, space ships, and dystopian future. What makes them remarkable are the litany of ideas and concepts , both large and small, presented throughout. And if you can do that in a way that looks cool and is entertaining, then so much the better. It's one reason why 35 years later we still admire Star Wars, and why Hollywood continues to try and emulate it. Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy of novels falls into much the same category, a sprawling, epic adventure with social commentary to spare and a lead hero in Katniss Everdeen(Jennifer Lawrence) everyone can relate to. Yet people were justifiably worried about how that scope would be presented on the big screen, because more so than Harry Potter or Twilight, the exclusion of any single element could topple the immaculately constructed balance between fantasy and brutal realism that Collins constructed.

There is little reason to fear, Team Gale and Team Peeta fans. The Hunger Games is everything a loyal reader could ask for, but more than that it's the type of film that promises a truly epic franchise in the making. With studios looking to adapt every semi-popular novel with the hopes of creating the next Twilight, few of them ever turn out to have the complexity and depth of character to stand the test of time. The Hunger Games is diverse enough to appeal to the broadest possible audience. There's enough of a love triangle to have people rioting in favor of Team Peeta or Team Gale, yet the action is equally intense and effective without being overly graphic.

Credit immediately goes to Gary Ross, a seemingly odd choice for director who turns out to have been a perfect fit. Best known for Capra-esque movies like Dave, Seabiscuit, and the visually stunning Pleasantville, Ross is essentially doing the opposite of everything he's done before. The deep, textured story begins with a simply worded prologue, introducing us to the line of thinking that allows for something like the Hunger Games to exist. Taking place in the fictional realm of Panem, where the ruling Capitol lords over 12 separate districts, each poor in their own way but working to sustain themselves and the government. District 12 has had it the worst, a mining town that looks chillingly like the squalor of Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence's big breakthrough performance. She plays a similarly strong, fearless young woman with a family completely dependent upon her. Katniss dotes on her younger, more fragile sister, Prim(Willow Shields), and does the work their mother seems incapable. To escape the burden of her life, Katniss occasionally scales the barrier fence into the restricted wilderness to hunt alongside her best friend, Gale(Liam Hemsworth), who has dreams of running away with her to start anew elsewhere.The hopelessness of their situation is made more stark by the decadence of the Capitol, which we see in quick flashes of brightly colored hair, an unending supply of food, and garish architecture. Meanwhile the people of District 12 look at bread as a rare delicacy.

Any hope of escape is quickly dashed with the Reaping, a twisted lottery event held each year to select a boy and girl from each District to compete in the Hunger Games. The youngest have the fewest entries, while the oldest like Katniss and Gale have many, increasing their chances of being picked. When Prim has her name drawn, Katniss does the only thing she can think of to save her sister, and that is volunteer to take her place. The dramatics of the situation only brings a smile to the face of the flashy Effie Trinket(Elizabeth Banks), just the first taste that these games of literal life and death are seen merely as entertainment for the ruling class.

Katniss is soon joined by Peeta Mellark(Josh Hutcherson), a quiet and fiercely confident boy she shares a mysterious past with. A few rushed "good-byes" later and the two are quickly taken to the Capitol for training. Not just in the deadly arts they'll need to survive against 22 other "Tributes", but mainly in showmanship. Their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy(Woody Harrelson), is a survivor of the Games and butts heads with the gruff Katniss over her inability to make friends and impress potential sponsors. Peeta instantly takes to his new found celebrity, using it to make a stunning revelation on national television that forces everyone to fall in love with the two poor combatants from District 12. While this would please the toothy, pearly white grin of talk show host Caesar Flickerman(an inspired Stanley Tucci), it would draw the unwanted attention of President Snow(Donald Sutherland), who has a malicious vision for the Games that would send a chill up Darth Vader's spine.

Looking back on when The Hunger Games was just entering production, one of the great debates was who could possibly take on the Katniss role in a believable way. Some felt Gary Ross needed to aim younger, but the decision was made to select the red hot Jennifer Lawrence, and it was a decision that proved to be the right one. She is simply phenomenal here, capturing some of that awkwardness of youth, but also showing a real strength and resolve of someone who has seen too much for someone of her age. The search always seem to be on for a new heroine that girls can look up to, and unfortunately too many of them have flocked towards Twilight's Bella Swan, even though she is a character who is who she is because of the guys in her life. How interesting would she be without a wolf and a vampire fighting over here? Not much. Katniss is different, and whether we ever saw Peeta or Gale and the inevitable squabble for her affections, she would still be a character worth following. She's incredibly likable, smart, and tougher than even her male counterparts. Katniss is a character every girl can actually look up to, genuinely one of the most fully realized movie characters of any gender.

The rest of the cast is superb, as well. In particular Josh Hutcherson, who many(including me) felt didn't have the look or the natural presence the Peeta role demanded. He proves to be more than up to the task, showing flashes of real charisma in his verbal sparring with Stanley Tucci, and leading man charm when together with Lawrence. Lenny Kravitz is dead on perfect as Cinna, Katniss' stylist who sees her as more than just tool in the Capitol's games.

How does the film compare to the book? Well, as with any adaptation there are some characters and story elements that need to be dropped. Ross, along with Collins and Billy Ray as screenwriters, have managed to maintain the story's integrity while cutting down some of the extraneous portions. One of the book's prevailing features was that it was seen entirely from Katniss's perspective, and they've managed to capture her internal monologue on screen, mainly thanks to Lawrence's emotive performance. There are some portions of the story that are intentionally glossed over, likely because they will become bigger factors in the sequels, which are already in development. Lionsgate knows they have a hit on their hands, so why wait? This is a minor quibble, and can looked past because the allegorical elements are so on point. This is what happens when our celebrity obsessed, reality TV culture goes too far. It bears some striking resemblances to a film called Series 7: The Contenders, in which people killed one another off in a highly rated television show. The easy comparison many have made is to the controversial Battle Royale, but the two aren't saying the same thing at all once you get past the surface similarities.

Those who might have been turned off by the extreme amount of hype swirling around the film need to put all that aside and just see the movie. This is without question one of the best pieces of science fiction we have seen in years. By comparison, The Hunger Games is a better opening salvo than Twilight and Harry Potter delivered by far, and the potential for this to to be a significant, celebrated franchise appear to be forever in Gary Ross's favor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good movie, April 10, 2014
great acting will keep your interest. some part of the plot is slow moving otherwise well worth the effort. recommend
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great action flick, January 17, 2014
Book characters well matched with actors/actresses. Quick changes in settings and action. Kept my interest, only draw back was I felt movie was a bit too long.
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The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Gary Ross (DVD - 2012)
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