The Hunger Games, first in a spectacular cinematic series?

MOVIE REVIEW – With it’s popularity among readers of all ages, it comes as no surprise that the Suzanne Collins book “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a movie less than four years after its publication. However, with the announcement of the movie, many were skeptical of its ability to capture the story in the way that the novel did. The books are always better, right? I had a chance to see “The Hunger Games” last night at the midnight premiere. Having not read any of the books, I was excited, one way or another,  to see what all the hype was about.

The basic premise of the story is that a futuristic earth is split up into 12 districts. Every year the capital of Earth (now called “Panem”) chooses a teenage boy and girl from each district to participate in a free-for-all death match in the wilderness called The Hunger Games. Our heroine, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, volunteers as the female tribute from District 12 to save her younger sister from being chosen to participate. Action, drama, romance, and graphic violence follow.

Now the premise of the story is quite dark and  very graphic due to the fact that you have 24 kids running around in the woods, being forced to murder each other, but that should not turn you away. The movie does display a tremendous amount of graphic violence, but they portray it with a curtain around it. With selective editing, the movie lets the audience know what is happening without having to display all the gore – something that will attract fans of the book without turning away newcomers.

The film has no trouble delivering thrills. Starting at the first act, the story keeps you intrigued while letting the audience know that no character is safe. Action sequences play a big part and are shot beautifully with a gritty feel, all following a visually stunning first act. While capturing the action wasn’t a problem for the filmmakers, there are some shaky camera shots that could make you somewhat nauseous.

Now that we’ve established that The Hunger Games can deliver the thrills. The romance is another story altogether. The Hunger Games displays a slightly awkward love triangle that seems to limp throughout the movie, and goes quite undeveloped.  The casting in the film was nearly spot on from what I picked up. With notable performances by Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, and  an unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks.

The Hunger Games is one of the first must-see movies of 2012, and with an ending that begs for a sequel, we may just be witnessing the next spectacular cinematic series unfolding onto the silver screen.

THE DeLaCruz DESIGNATION: B+  

Edward DeLaCruz is a videographer by trade and has been sharing his opinions on movies with others since junior high.  The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.

email: news@stgnews.com

twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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