PG-13 | 142 mins | Adventure, Sci-Fi | Release Date: March 23, 2012 (USA)
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
(Based from the novel written by Suzanne Collins)
It's Survivor meets Big Brother meets Gladiator.
The story is set in a glum future, in the dictatorial nation of Panem composed of 12 hard up districts and its seat of government, the Capitol. Each year, as punishment for their rebellion, a boy and a girl aged 12 to 18 from each district gets chosen by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. This barbaric televised game will show the 24 Tributes fight to the death in an outdoor arena. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister's place as District 12's representative. With her male counterpart Peeta Melark (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss competes against bigger and stronger Tributes and would radically change the game that displeased the President.
Lawrence was on the money as Katniss, emitting a charm that can stir a crowd. But, minus the mindless racist casting comments she's been getting, adorable Amandla Stenberg won my heart over playing smallest and youngest tribute, Rue. She showed her underaged loveliness and her relatable acting as Katniss' ally. The story was filled with colorful characters (no pun intended Rue), although mostly poorly developed - a perrenial issue for an adaptation from book to film. Take for example Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who was merely in the sidelines.
Gary Ross did a good job at making all those battle scenes less brutal though, hence PG-13. Visually, and I also mean the Tim Burton-ish costumes defining the wealthy from the poor, it is an awesome film. And I must say that the musical score complemented the scenes perfectly, stimulating that air of suspense and hope.
The film captured enough the spirit of the novel regardless, and for that it deserves the box-office success it got. But I expect even more exciting things to happen in the next installments of this trilogy.
Naturally, the novel would offer more depth to the story. There's just so much more that can be packed into books!