(Liongate Films)


(KTSF by Sean Au)

A group of teenagers have to kill each other. The last person standing wins the game. Sounds like the premise of a horror movie, THE HUNGER GAMES is adapted from the popular novel and tells the story of courage and survival.

In a dystopia set in the future, after quelling an unsuccessful uprising, the civilization of Panem hosts the Hunger Games, a televised program where contestants come to the Capitol and fight till one last person standing. Two contestants are picked from each of the twelve districts; a boy and a girl between 12 and 18 years old.

In a televised ceremony, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to be the tribute to be sent to the Capitol when her sister is picked to go. The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who has been attracted to Katniss for some time. Which among them can survive the games?

Adapted from the first of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Collins herself is part of the screenwriting team. While many scenes give the impression of a touch-and-go treatment, the simplification stays true to the spirit of the book.

Remember the Japanese horror movie BATTLE ROYALE in 2000? 42 students are sent to a remote island where they have to kill off one another until the last person standing in a reality tv show. THE HUNGER GAMES, in comparison is much tamer when it comes to the depicting of violence and bloodshed. It also benefits from having a strong character who is the emotional core of the story.

Running at 2 hours and 20 minutes, this screen adaptation is flawed in developing its characters, littering questions throughout the movie. Huge credit must be given to Director Gary Ross for casting Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bones, X-Men: First Class) as Katniss. Lawrence excels in capturing the will to live, dexterity and vulnerability of her character, making her fear real and relatable. Much of the violence are inferred and not shown to keep the film in the PG-13 category. Overall, fans of the novel seem happy with this screen version. Initial fan enthusiasm is encouraging. A box office success would almost be certain to bring us 2 sequels in the pipeline.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Lionsgate.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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