The Hunger Games
release year: 2012
viewing setting: theater, 3/23/12
synopsis: In a grim future, most people live in poverty in poor districts surrounding the capital full of rich people; once a year, two teenagers are taken from each of the poor districts, thrown into a wilderness arena, and forced to fight all the others to the death for the entertainment of everyone.
impressions: This was like a blend of The Running Man and Survivor, except much more serious. To the rich people (who don't have to ever risk being selected to compete) the tournament is pure entertainment. To the poor people, it's something to be feared, especially if they have children. Heck, even the audience in my theater was getting into it, cheering when certain competitors got killed. I guess the point is, people like violence and they like entertainment, and so they like the two mixed together, even when it's children fighting to the death. But anyway, this was fast-paced, full of action and drama and notable characters, and thoroughly riveting.
acting: Jennifer Lawrence gives a strong performance as a tough, smart, resourceful teenage girl fighting for her life. Josh Hutcherson is her ally in the games, and does well without being quite as outgoing. Woody Harrelson is the alcoholic winner of a past competition who helps them train for this one. Elizabeth Banks plays a woman with too much hair, makeup, and tone of voice, whose job it is to mold the competitors' images into something the viewing public will like. Lenny Kravitz' character has a similar function, but is much more down-to-earth (and helpful.) Stanley Tuuci is the host of the show, so to speak, and does this with a dramatic flair. Donald Sutherland is the evil President.
final word: Great adaptation of a great book, and it stands on its own. Well worth seeing!
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