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The Hunger Games movie poster

The Hunger Games: Movie Review


Genre: Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Gary Ross

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz
Released by: Lionsgate

In Short: This futuristic flick combines drama, action and crazy visuals into a satisfying movie adventure, the first of a planned trilogy based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling novels.

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AN EXHILARATING FIGHT TO THE FINISH

Don't Miss These "Games"

Having not read the hugely popular trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I didn't know what to expect of "The Hunger Games." Would it be like the "Twilight" series, a painful movie-going experience filled with bad acting and even worse visual effects? Or would it be something actually worth seeing?

Happily, it was the latter, for as the futuristic adventure drama unfolds, there's much to like about director Gary Ross' ("Pleasantville," "Seabiscuit") take on the tale of Katniss Everdeen and her quest to win those fight-to-the-death games.

First off, the acting is terrific, led by Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, the sixteen-year-old girl who, along with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), has been sent by her district to compete in the Hunger Games. Add in two more Oscar nominees — Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci — and a raft of other talented thespians including Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley and Toby Jones, and the result is a movie that is tons of fun to watch.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in The Hunger Games Liam Hemsworth in The Hunger Games

And the visuals are spectacular, too, from the zany costumes and hairstyles worn by the Capitol citizens to that glittering city itself, both in stark contrast to the drab and somber looks in the outlying twelve districts. That's where Katniss, Peeta and the other competitors in the games hail from, the places where the populace rebelled against the government long ago. It's where they are now forced by the government to live and work — and to offer up two of their children every year to fight in the games.

As the story progresses, Katniss evolves into a heroine whom the whole country embraces — and we do, too. She's a smart, competent and resourceful girl, and as the 24 contestants are set loose in the woods to fight it out until only one is still standing, it is easy to root for her. Happily, the story takes some interesting twists and turns as the games progress, so the ending isn't as predictable as it might seem on the surface.

There's plenty of action, adventure and even a bit of romance thrown in, and by the time the credits roll on this first of the planned trilogy of films, you just might find yourself excited about the prospect of seeing two more films set in Panem and starring Katniss Everdeen. If the next two are as enjoyable as the first, this series is sure to take its place among some of the best that Hollywood has to offer.

 

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

 



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(Updated: 03/22/12 CT)

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