Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Alexander Ludwig, Amandla Stenberg, Willow Shields and Paula Malcomson. Directed by Gary Ross.
I went to see this with my wife. I'd read the books; she hadn't. The movie provided equal enjoyment.
Based on Suzanne Collins's best-selling dystopian YA novel, this movie takes us to a distant future where the rich and powerful live in a central Capital City in the country of Panem, while the 99% toil in districts under extreme poverty and working conditions. We learn that 74 years ago there was an uprising, and the might of the Capital slammed back hard. From that point on, each of the twelve districts, once a year, must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to compete in a fight-to-the-death reality show called The Hunger Games. 24 go in, and 1 comes out, and that winner is able to bring extra food and rewards back to their district for the year. It's a way to keep those peasants under control.
In many ways, the movie hinges on the central performance of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the resourceful girl from District 12 who volunteers to "play" in the Games after her younger sister is drafted. She's in almost every scene, and she's great. She had a similar role in Winter's Bone that garnered her an Oscar nomination.
The movie does keep its PG-13 by not being gratuitous with the violence, but it doesn't skimp on it either. Blood splatters and kids get killed, all for the entertainment of the colorful Capital dwellers, following the natural digression of reality TV.
Fans of the book can rest assured it's about as faithful to it as any adaption can be (no Avox though), and for those who haven't read it, you won't be lost.