The Hunger Games ***

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I have to admit that I had never heard the book that “The Hunger Games” is based off of. Apparently it is fairly popular considering the movie made over 400 million dollars during its run in theaters. I passed on seeing it in the theaters as the trailers really did not inspire me to spend money on a ticket. After seeing it at home I can say that it is a fairly well made film with some good solid performances and that it doesn’t fully pull it’s punches when it comes to the violence.

The story takes place in a dystopian future where classes have grown so far apart that the poor must battle to the death to win food for their colony as well as to amuse the rich people.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss, the decides to fight in the games in place of her younger sister who was selected after a random draw. But there is more than just the selecting combatants and putting them in to the ring. There is a promotional tour where the viewers can get to know the selectees as well as rank them for those who want to bet on the games.

I was surprised at the games themselves. The movie was rated PG-13 so I assumed the violence would be watered down or so frantic that you could not see it properly but that isn’t the case. There are some particularly brutal moments that probably should of garnered an R rating but the studio probably lobbied the MPAA so that they could maximize their ticket sales.

The director is Gary Ross, who brought us titles like “Seabiscuit” and “Pleasantville”. He gives us a good sense of scope without sacrificing character or story. Overall it is not a great movie but it is better than the advertising suggests.

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