The Hunger Games

Director: Gary Ross, Main Cast: Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam HemsworthStanley TucciElizabeth BanksWoody HarrelsonDonald Sutherland

Set in a dystopian future, where every year the Capitol, central government of Panem,  organises the titular games, a crossover between a reality show and a teen version of Thunderdome. The contestants (tributes) are 24, a girl and a boy from each of the twelve districts in which the country is divided. The Capitol, sort of 1%ers, needs to keep in line the districts, 99%ers, who rebelled back in the days but who are also the cogs of the country’s economy. Our heroine, 16-year-old Katniss, is a skilled hunter (more of a poacher, really) and provides for her little sister and mother; when her sis is selected by lottery for the Games (odds not in her favor in the least!), of course, Katniss volunteers to replace her (lucky for us, otherwise either the movie will be over or we would have witnessed the slaughter of children, no… wait, we still get to see that!). She and Peeta (seriously?!? a baker boy named after a type of bread?well yes, it is spelled differently but…never mind…) join the Games’ circus with its stylists, publicists, mentors, TV hosts and what not, for the two weeks preparation in the Capitol before entering the arena, which is a very hi-tech, giant Thunderdome: 24 kids enter, one kid leaves (the Victor). We then find out that the tributes from district 1 and 2 are the “mean girls” of the situation, little Rue will be Katniss’ protegee, lots of other kids are just cannon fodder and Peeta has a major crush on Katniss…we didn’t see this coming, did we? Especially because Katniss doesn’t have a “thing” with Galen, her hunting buddy back home…love triangle boy-girl-boy, such a novelty! In particular considering the recent history of YA novels turned into films or TV show (I’ll give you a hint: vampires). Anyway amor omnia vincit or, at least, increases your survival odds. I would have dismissed the film as another bait for the Twilight audience  but Jennifer Lawrence can really sell the character. I’ve been keeping an eye on her since “Winter’s bone” and she doesn’t disappoint. Josh Hutcherson, being an old hand at the craft, delivers an honest portrayal of Peeta and even Liam Hemsworth shows some changes in his expression. Banks and Tucci are hidden under an excess of make-up and improbable wigs and Sutherland does just a cameo. We’ll see what happen in the upcoming sequel. —6/10

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