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The Hunger Games

A film directed by Gary Ross based on the book by Suzanne Collins

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  • Mar 21, 2012


Written by Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth


President Snow: Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.


Having just finished reading the incredibly addictive Suzanne Collins novel, and having fallen completely in love with the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, in the process, I could barely breathe before seeing Gary Ross’s film adaptation of THE HUNGER GAMES. I was downright giddy going in. I was also horribly worried that the whole thing would just fall apart before my eyes. I was pretty sure that wouldn’t happen but what if it did? I would be crushed. Forget about me though. The legions of fans that have been intensely anticipating this film would revolt. I exaggerate but you get my point. And so, I found myself holding my breath quite often throughout the film - either the action was incredibly tense or I was worried the novel’s more delicate nuances and pivotal moments would become missed opportunities. And so that you can just sit back and enjoy the incredible ride without the worry I went in with, I assure you in advance that THE HUNGER GAMES will satisfy all of your cravings.


Now, THE HUNGER GAMES isn’t just for people who have the read the book, y’know. For those of you out there who haven’t, the global hysteria over the film must seem a bit bizarre. This is likely especially true when the trailers elude to some form of fight to the finish tournament, reminiscent of THE RUNNING MAN, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fortunately, there is way more to it than that. Taking place in the North America of the future, now known as Panem, the “Hunger Games” are an annual sport where one boy and girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, are chosen from each district to compete in an arena until only one is standing. There are 12 districts in all and each one is worse off than the last. The games are a reminder from the ruling Capital, where no one goes without, to the peasants in the districts of their failed revolution from years past. The games remind them that they do not really matter, but yet they are forced to not only participate in them but even follow them and celebrate them. Katniss (played here by the mesmerizing Jennifer Lawrence) is the “tribute” from District 12, one of the least likely to come out alive.


Of course, when a series of novels is as loved as THE HUNGER GAMES is, the film adaptation is always greatly scrutinized for inaccuracy and loyalty to the original text. In the novel, Katniss is always the focus. We never leave her perspective at any time. The film cannot do this. Instead, it shows the viewer the other side of the games. While Katniss describes her disgust for the barbarism of the games in her own head in the novel, here Ross must show us what it is she is repulsed by. The change in point of view keeps the pace brisk, which is perhaps one of the greatest changes in tone from page to screen, as well as one of my only disappointments, albeit slight . By staying in the games at all times in the book, there are days when nothing happens, where dehydration is a real threat. As this would bore film audiences, the action has to be broken up. As a result, some moments can feel a tad rushed (I won’t say which ones; you’ll see) but the intention to honour the original work is so honest and pure, that all is quite easily forgiven. Besides, this isn’t the book. This is the movie and it finds its own tone, one that is at times, quiet and contemplative, while disarming and profound at others.


To some, THE HUNGER GAMES might seem like the next big tween craze but it is the furthest thing from that really. Yes, Katniss is torn between Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the man she enters the games with, and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), the man she left back in District 12, but this is not another TWILIGHT. Katniss is a complicated character with a complex background that makes her reticent to love, makes her fiercely guarded, and Lawrence does the character great justice. She has moments where she embodies both strength and fear simultaneously and you wonder why anyone ever had any concern she wasn’t right for the part. Thanks in great part to her performance, as well as Ross’s sturdy grip on the rest of the film, in today’s context, THE HUNGER GAMES is a commentary on the increasing global class divide and our continued desensitization to violence. It is also a thrilling experience. I have not read the second or third books in the series but something tells me there is another uprising coming before long. This is good too because after filling up on THE HUNGER GAMES, you will be left starving for more. In fact, it left me ravenous.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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March 22, 2012
Good review!
March 21, 2012
Nice review, Joseph! Have you read the book or seen the movie "Battle Royale"?
More The Hunger Games reviews
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Decent...But I Liked This Premise Better When It was Called
“The Hunger Games” had been getting a lot of press and ‘hype’ when word had gotten out that Suzanne Collins’ novel (published in 2008) was going to be adapted into the big screen. Director Gary Ross adapts this dystopian world along with screenwriters Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray into an action-drama. I have to admit the book had garnered quite a following, and this film has been heavily anticipated. I have seen several threads about the controversy due to its similarities …
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    "The Hunger Games" is based on the first book in the best-selling young adult self-titled trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins. I have never read any of the three - "The Hunger Games", "Catching Fire", and "Mockingjay" - and the film really does me no favors. Based on fan feedback, I will not for one second believe that this adaptation reflects the quality and depth of the novel; because the film falls short in both departments. But as always, I'm here …
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Hunger Games is the first of three books written by Suzanne Collins, the other two being Catching Fire and Mockingjay. With a huge opening weekend predicted there is little doubt that the studios will green light the other two movies to have them made as soon as possible. For those who have not read the book I suggest you do as not only is it a quick read but frankly this movie is made more for fans of the book than it is for someone going in knowing nothing about the series. …
review by . May 02, 2012
Full disclaimer, I've not read the books that this movie is adapted from. Before going in I had no idea what to expect from this film except teenagers killing teenagers in a dis-utopian world sometime in the future. I had no knowledge of the story, the characters, the world this film is set in, nothing at all.    Now that that's out of the way, I would like to also state that going into this film I had my reservations. When people you know have probably never read a book in their …
review by . March 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
There were few novels as striking and unique as The Hunger Games when it debuted.  When I first read the book a couple of years ago I'd have never thought it would become a phenomenon... much less become a movie.  Not only did I ever think it would become a movie (my first thought was, "How would they do it?") but I certainly didn't think it would become one of the finest films I've seen in some time.  It is a movie that tackles big themes.  Asks big questions.  …
review by . March 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'The Hunger Games' 'Two Jews On Film' Go To Battle Over This Futuristic Dark Fantasy (Video)
               By Joan Alperin Schwartz      I'm sure by now almost everyone is familiar with the story of 'The Hunger Games'.  The book was the first in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins and all three novels have been on the bestseller list for several years.      But for those people unfamiliar with the story of Katniss Everdeen, the 16 year old girl who competes in The Hunger Games...   …
review by . March 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         That The Hunger Games is so timely and intelligent is precisely the reason why it’s also so frightening. It depicts a time and place in which the failures of mass society are exploited for the entertainment of the privileged few. In this case, it’s in the form of an annual competition to the death, one that’s captured via hidden cameras and aired for the rest of the world to see. Whatever they call it in this alternate reality, …
review by . April 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
      There's something about this movie that makes me like it more than I should. I don't know what... but I know it's there. I've never read the books so when I saw it I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately for me I was pleased with the product and it's like it became one of my guilty pleasure movies.      The Hunger Games strives away from the usual and synthesizes elements that are rarely common in movies like these. The story serves …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie



  • The Hunger Games
  • Opened March 23, 2012 | Runtime:2 hr. 22 min.
  • PG-13
    Intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens
  • Information for parents: Common Sense Media says Iffy for 13+. Read More
  • Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister's place to enter the games, and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy when she's pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
  • -fandango.com
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    Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

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