The movie on fire

March 26, 2012, 7:25 p.m. | By Hannah Lynn | 11 years, 8 months ago

The action-packed screen adaptation of "The Hunger Games" keeps the audience at the edge of their seats

Illegal hunting, televised killings and teen romance all make up the world of "The Hunger Games." The film, based on Suzanne Collins' best selling young adult novel, broke opening weekend records. Its gripping action and solid acting help the movie live up to all the hype.

"The Hunger Games" begins just as the book does, in the bleak area known as "District 12", the poorest of the Nation's twelve districts. Each year, two teenagers from each district are selected to fight to the death in a televised event. When Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) gets chosen, her sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) bravely volunteers. Her male counterpart is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), resident baker boy and Katniss's borderline stalker. After enduring physical and mental training, guided by their drunken mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), the two are thrown into an arena with 22 of their peers. The rest of the movie depicts the events that unfold in the arena which include angry fire balls, deadly bees and a little teen romance.

The movie's plot followed almost exactly that of the book, and those who have read it will be pleasantly surprised that it avoided going in the terrible direction of "Twilight," (although the two have very different stories). Complete with solid acting and intense fight scenes, director Gary Ross brings the book to life and fans can let out a sigh of relief knowing that their wait was worth it.

Having read the book, the movie is easy to follow and its action sequences are enthralling. Although there are some details that are changed or left out that might annoy the book's die-hard fans (I'm looking at you, Mockingjay pin), even those who haven't read the novel are given everything they need in order to understand the twisted dystopia.

One of the movie's key highlights is Lawrence, who portrays the almost lethal Katniss with more genuine emotion than is usually expected out of an action movie (she is an Oscar nominee, after all). Lawrence is the star of the movie just as Katniss is the focus of the battle. Hutcherson also pulls off the role of Peeta in the most rugged and dreamy way. He shows that even smearing blood across Lawrence's forehead can somehow still be romantic. And of course there's always the golden nugget that is Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), who is complete with a glistening personality and a blue ponytail. Like the acting, the visual effects help create the world of Panem, from Katniss and Peeta's outfits-turned-torches to the deadly dog mutations. Even though the fighting could sometimes be hard to follow, it gave off the the intensity that a teenage bloodbath would have. Even if you know what will happen next, the suspense and thrill created by the movie's production and effects will keep viewers' eyes glued to the screen.

"The Hunger Games" trilogy is frequently compared to both the "Twilight" saga and the "Harry Potter" series and although it doesn't live up to the superior expectations of the latter, it far exceeds the train wrecks that are the "Twilight" adaptations. It's easy to be nitpicky about book-to-movie adaptations, and there are probably many flaws that can be found in the film, but it's better to just love it for what it is: a gripping action film about teen slaughtering. There is no better way to kick off the spring season than with the Games.

"The Hunger Games" (142 min) is rated PG-13 for for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images. Now playing in theaters everywhere, and is also available in IMAX.

Last updated: April 23, 2021, 1:17 p.m.

Tags: Gale Jennifer Lawrence Josh Hutcherson Katniss Liam Hemsworth Peeta The Hunger Games

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