The Hunger Games

Release date: 21st March 2012
Rating: 12A
Running time: 142 minutes
Director: Gary Ross
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson

Set in the distant future of America, now known as ‘Panem’, run by a successful, rather power hungry, long-term dictatorship, The Hunger Games looks ready to take centre stage this year. 24 teenage tributes are selected at random to represent their districts in the 74th annual Hunger Games, a televised reality programme where these teenagers must fight to the death in a closely monitored arena until one lone victor remains; Prepare yourself for this year’s sci-fi/action/rom-com with a difference.

This gripping representation of Suzanne Collins’ international best-selling trilogy will almost certainly drag you through a range of emotions from being utterly defeated and betrayed to excited anticipation. The adrenaline rush this film creates is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but will instead leave you jumping in your seat, crying out your eyes, and hungry for the sequel.

The plot follows one tribute, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), as she volunteers to be a tribute in place of her younger sister and subsequently fights for survival and a chance to go back home. The audience is thrown into the reaping almost as soon as the film has begun with barely time for an introduction to Gale the boy-next-door of the film, or the rest of Katniss Everdeen’s family.

As with any modern teen trilogy, Katniss unwillingly finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between herself, male counterpart tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and fellow hunter Gale (Liam Hemsworth), but this film has more depth and imagination than any chick-flick or action movie could conjure up. The brains behind the film manage to explore and interlink every sociological factor you could possibly think of, from jealousy, love and family values to poverty, dictatorships and death, in a fictional setting, opening the film up to a wider audience in the space of just over two hours. And if that doesn’t show greatness in a film, then I don’t know what does.

While the cast may be young, they are extremely talented, and it shows, especially in Lawrence’s performance as Katniss. Each actor brings their character to life with a detailed storyline that clearly works as the background for their behaviour. Directed by Gary Ross, this film certainly does justice to Collins’ trilogy as, with the exception of a few overcomplicated but fascinating quirks of the book, Ross manages to turn imagination into an on-screen reality.

The long-awaited film, acclaimed by many critics as “the next Twilight” was almost certainly destined for success. The film had already propelled its young actors into stardom weeks before it reached our cinema screens. However, the critics aren’t just evaluating a film; they are evaluating a motion-picture representation of a trilogy that looks set to rival the ‘Twilight’ Saga this year. So, although it may be the fictional sci-fi type work of a writer, this film is certainly something to keep your eye on, because if anything is worth waiting for, it will be the sequel.

‘Happy Hunger Games!’

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