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EW Movie Review: "The Hunger Games"
Jennifer Lawrence stars as the girl who's pitted against 23 other teens in a televised fight to the death, in the screen adaptation of the wildly popular sci-fi action romance novel "The Hunger Games." Neil Rosen filed the following review.
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The highly anticipated movie version of the best-selling novel "The Hunger Games" is finally here. And the film studio behind it is banking on this series becoming as big as "Twilight" or "Harry Potter."
For those unacquainted with the story, it's combines elements of sci-fi, action and romance. It takes takes place in an unspecified time in the future in an area once known as North America.
There are twelve districts, who once revolted against their totalitarian government. As punishment, each year, two teens from each district are randomly selected to compete in a televised fight to the death.
The movie, like the book, centers around Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She's our a female heroine from the very poor District 12. She has great survival skills and gains our sympathy when she volunteers to participate in the hunger games, in place of her younger and much weaker sister who had the misfortune of being picked.
The games are like the Super Bowl, "American Idol," "Gladiator" and "Survivor" all rolled into one. The controlled, "Truman Show"-like environment throws fire storms, man-eating wild animals and killer bees in the contestants' way.
When these teens aren't trying to kill each other or escape the elements, there's a love story that unfolds between Katniss and a boy from her district.
Director Gary Ross also co-wrote the screenplay with the books' author Suzanne Collins, and they're basically faithful to the source material. But they've toned down the overly violent aspects, I suspect to get a PG-13 rating.
Lawrence is the perfect choice to play Katniss and visually the film looks great.
Also on hand here, doing a decent job, are Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson.
There are some sappy moments, but overall it's exciting, with a good story and a credible, charismatic performance by Lawrence that makes the whole thing work.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating Scale: 3 Apples