Let me say it right upfront..
When millions of fans invade movie theaters this weekend to experience THE HUNGER GAMES, they won’t be disappointed! The screen adaptation takes the storyline beyond just Katniss Everdeen‘s viewpoint by putting digital warfare emphasis in the game’s master control room.
And that’s a good thing.
For those not yet in the loop, THE HUNGER GAMES is the first of three Orwellian event movies set in a not-too-distant, totalitarian future of the United States which is divided into 12 civilian sectors.
The government maintains tight control and intimidation by staging the annual Hunger Games—nationally televised gladiator like spectacles pitting two so called Tributes from each district (a boy and a girl) in a winner takes down all bloodbath until just one of the 24 chosen participants remains.
"Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be in your favor!"
The books by Suzanne Collins to date have sold in excess of 26 million copies and by all rights the movie version should’ve been rated R. But the studio wisely kept the bloody impact sequences to quick impulses and glimpses thus earning the all important PG-13 rating necessary for admitting a huge chunk of the film’s target audience.
But unlike the TWILIGHT franchise, HUNGER GAMES features not only superior production values and the performances by its lead players far exceeds the other movie’s acting chops.
WINTER BONE’s Jennifer Lawrence is terrific as Katniss. And Josh Hutchersonm playing her District 12 tribute competitor, is also right on the mark. Liam Hemsworth in the role of Gale just OK.
But what really makes this production flourish is its supporting cast.
There’s Woody Harrelson‘s top notch performance as tipsy Haymitch. Elizabeth Banks almost unrecognizeable as Katniss’ escort Effie. Donald Sutherland as sinister President Snow and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.
But it’s Stanley Tucci, super wig and all, as cheesy reality TV game host Caesar Flickerman who almost steals the picture.
Ryan Seacrest, anyone?
As for the film’s age appropriateness, I’ll let the M.P.A.A. rating speak for itself.
Then again it really depends on the muturity of the child. If they’ve read the book and know what to expect, that’s one thing. Otherwise I would limit the admittance to this movie to ages 11 and older.
For the 2 hours and 20 minute long, futuristic, Joan of Arc- like HUNGER GAMES, I’m raising 3-1/2 out of 5 intense fingers.
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ Fm & Am and anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.