Preview: The Hunger Games


I the past decade, there have been two book series that have been adapted to the big screen that have dominated the younger crowd’s attention spans: Harry Potter and Twilight. As a monster Harry Potter fan, I was pretty happy with what they did with the seven books, and Twilight movies always draw big numbers, so it is clear that young adult book series can really do well at the box office, but no other movies have arisen from this realization. Until now.

The Hunger Games [wiki] is the first of three books by author Suzanne Collins with over 2.8 million copies in print. It has been the talk of the town for the past couple years after being published in 2008. A year later, the movie rights were acquired by Lionsgate Entertainment, and production began soon after. Director Gary Ross [Seabiscuit, Pleasantville] came on in November 2010, and Steven Soderbergh even served as a 2nd unit director. Suzanne Collins co-wrote the screenplay, so I would like to think that much of the dialogue and meat of the story will be straight from the book, which is always a delight to see.

The cast of the movie is pretty sciting. To lead the movie, Jennifer Lawrence will play Catniss Everdeen. Lawrence is pretty new to the Hollywood film scene, with big festival success in her first movie Winter’s Bone in 2010, which she also lead. She went on to have a solid 2011, acting in X-Men: First Class, Like Crazy, and The Beaver, all before going to work on her biggest role yet, The Hunger Games.

Also included in the cast is Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, and others.

On February 13th, the movie’s soundtrack track listing was released, featuring songs from Taylor Swift, Kid Cudi, Arcade Fire, and more. [wiki]

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RottenTomatoes Scores

3/17

“What viewers are left with is a watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else’s vision rather than claim it as its own.”

Justin Chang | Variety |  Top Critic Icon  Top Critic
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“Hunger Games has such a strong narrative structure, built-in forward movement and compelling central character that it can’t go far wrong.”

Todd McCarthy | Hollywood Reporter | Top Critic Icon Top Critic
3/19
3/21

Ty Burr 
Boston Globe Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Like the book, “The Hunger Games” doesn’t end so much as open the door to the next installment; it’s frustrating, but you’ll probably feel you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment (1) | Original Score: 3/4

Richard Corliss 
TIME Magazine Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (17)

Rex Reed 
New York Observer Top Critic Icon Top Critic

This futuristic tale of teenage violence is so not my kind of movie that I approached it grudgingly, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being totally exhilarated and enjoying it immensely.

Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comments (13) | Original Score: 2.5/4

Peter Travers 
Rolling Stone Top Critic Icon Top Critic

The Hunger Games has epic spectacle, yearning romance, suspense that won’t quit and a shining star in Jennifer Lawrence.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Comments (8) | Original Score: 3.5/4

Kyle Smith 
New York Post Top Critic Icon Top Critic

“The Hunger Games” may be derivative, but it is engrossing and at times exciting.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (4) | Original Score: 2.5/4

Andrew O’Hehir 
Salon.com Top Critic Icon Top Critic

“The Hunger Games” never really holds together or makes any sense, except as an elementary fairy tale about a young girl’s coming of age and an incipient romantic triangle (which is the focus of the film, far more than the book).

Full Review Source: Salon.com | Comments (117)

Rafer Guzman 
Newsday Top Critic Icon Top Critic

It’s a promising pilot for a franchise with potential to be something more than mere entertainment.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Comment

Kathleen Murphy 
MSN Movies Top Critic Icon Top Critic

ADD auds won’t mind that there’s no time to get to know anybody, or watch a relationship unfold, or ride the dramatic rise and swell of a compelling narrative.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Comments (43) | Original Score: 2.5/5

Melissa Anderson 
Village Voice Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Like the pacing of the novel, the film, even at almost two and a half hours, moves briskly, continuously drawing us in.

Full Review Source: Village Voice | Comment

Roger Ebert 
Chicago Sun-Times Top Critic Icon Top Critic

The Hunger Games is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (24) | Original Score: 3/4

James Berardinelli 
ReelViews Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Fans will be delighted. Non-fans should give this movie a chance.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comment (1) | Original Score: 3/4

Stephen Whitty 
Newark Star-Ledger Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Forced to finally show us what Collins mostly left to our imaginations, it often falters.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Comments (15) | Original Score: 2.5/4

Roger Moore 
Dallas Morning News Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Gary Ross, who directed “Seabiscuit,” manages to get this nag out of the starting gate and across the finish line with no major blunders, but without much in the way of inspiration, either.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Comments (6) | Original Score: 2.5/4

Michael Phillips 
Chicago Tribune Top Critic Icon Top Critic

The games have begun, and so far they’re pretty gripping.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Comment (1) | Original Score: 3/4

Lisa Schwarzbaum 
Entertainment Weekly Top Critic Icon Top Critic

This Hunger Games is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins’ vision. It’s brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Comments (6) | Original Score: A-

Bill Goodykoontz 
Arizona Republic Top Critic Icon Top Critic

Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes “The Hunger Games” ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn’t elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comment | Original Score: 3.5/5

Joe Neumaier 
New York Daily News Top Critic Icon Top Critic

As tough-spirited as fans would hope for – and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Comments (2) | Original Score: 5/5

Peter Howell 
Toronto Star Top Critic Icon Top Critic

[It] arrives in theatres … not only intact, but in command of the essentials of storytelling and characterization. The film deserves the massive success it will surely enjoy.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comments (2) | Original Score: 3/4

Rick Groen 
Globe and Mail Top Critic Icon Top Critic

A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment | Original Score: 3.5/4

Christy Lemire 
Associated Press Top Critic Icon Top Critic

“The Hunger Games” runs nearly two and a half hours in length but is the rare film that never drags and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It could keep running as long as Katniss does, and we’d want to be right there every heart-pounding step of the way.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Comments (4) | Original Score: 3/4

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Personally, I don’t think I can jump into the hype of the 100% reviews so far for this movie. Even with Harry Potter getting great reviews by everyone including me, but it was a book adaptation of books I had previously read, and liked. The same goes for The Hunger Games. I read the book almost in one night I was so hooked on it. It was really good. I bet the movie could be good as well, but there has never been a movie adaption of a book that I have enjoyed more than the book, and I don’t think this will be the first movie to be that.
That being said, I am still excited to see such a cool, unique story and world on the big screen with big hollywood production, especially since Suzanne Collins had a part in making the film.
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