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Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1400 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
    Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (Lionsgate)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 44
  2. Negative: 2 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Mar 20, 2012
    100
    As tough-spirited as fans would hope for - and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 20, 2012
    85
    There's action here, too, and a great deal of vitality that feels true both to the spirit of Collins' book and to the idea of movie entertainment as it exists.
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Leyland
    Mar 16, 2012
    80
    What's remarkable is the lack of cheese. Tacky effects, corny dialogue and creaky performances are all shown the door. We repeat: not the new "Twilight".
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 20, 2012
    75
    An effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role. But the film leapfrogs obvious questions in its path, and avoids the opportunities sci-fi provides for social criticism.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 20, 2012
    70
    Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes The Hunger Games ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn't elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Mar 21, 2012
    63
    If the series's legions of fans miss a detail here or a sub-plot there, they'll still recognize its bones and sinew, especially in Jennifer Lawrence's eagle-eyed heroine Katniss Everdeen.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 22, 2012
    30
    In The Hunger Games it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful - and touchingly vulnerable - presence of Jennifer Lawrence.

See all 44 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 63 out of 450
  1. Mar 23, 2012
    10
    To me the Hunger Games was sort of like Lord of the Flies meets Mad Max. Has anyone read Lord of the Flies or seen Mad Max with Mel Gibson? There was also a Japanese movie called Battle Royale that came out a few years ago but was never released in the US. Expand
  2. Apr 30, 2012
    10
    To me, the Hunger Games was like watching something in the future. I know that it leaves out lots of parts, but if they took it right from the book, It would probably be rated R. Expand
  3. Apr 19, 2012
    9
    I am no Hunger Games nerd. That is to say, I read the books, but I am not obsessed by them. I didn't even liked the second two that much. I did, however, like the first book in the series. Quite a bit actually. So, it came as a surprise to me when I enjoyed the movie even more than the book. In case you have, somehow, missed reading the book(s), The Hunger Games is an annual event that occurs in a not-so-future-future time, when one girl and boy from each district (24 children in all) is randomly selected to battle to the death in a glamorous and ferocious televised event. Katniss volunteers as a tribute when her younger sister, Prim, is selected to be in the Hunger Games. Now Katniss must somehow survive the treacheries of the Hunger Games, and show the Capitol she is no pawn in their game. The Hunger Games is, as one would expect, extremely intense. Children heartlessly killing each other to survive. And it's goes beyond shooting from afar. Combat occurs within tripping distance. Slashing of knives, snapping of necks, all these duels between children between the ages of 12 and 18. But The Hunger Games is PG-13 (as opposed to R), so the violence is portrayed in a way, in which you don't see much of the actual killing. You just know what is implied. The camera is placed at strategic angles so that you may see some blood and the attack, but not the knife or the ax digging into the child's flesh. Actually, it's all very tame, considering the subject. I'm not the kind of person that can watch a lot of gore, so this was perfectly fine with me. Now that I've got all that boring stuff regarding the violence out of the way, I can start sharing my opinion on the film: As of now, The Hunger Games is the best movie I've seen this year. There were two points in the movie in which I ALMOST cried. I held back tears, for certain. And it wasn't easy. The Hunger Games is very emotional. The camera is very shaky. The movie often feels like a found-footage film. At first, the shaky camera irritated me. But within 10 minutes, I had become so connected with the movie, that I didn't even notice the camera. In the first half (before the actual games begin), there is a decent amount of humor. This is not a comedy, so don't expect to be in stitches, but there are some mild laughs. Almost all of these come from the Capitol's lightheartedness towards the Hunger Games. They laugh and joke about it. It is important to them, but they don't give a second thought about the 23 people who will die as a result. The casting is marvelous. Everyone does a wonderful job portraying their characters. Before seeing the movie, I was a bit skeptical at some of the actor choices, but all the doubt washed away as each character appeared on screen. Also, the makeup and costumes are incredible. They're so ridiculously silly looking (intentionally), and it just feels perfect. Truly well done. The score is equally wonderful. The music is powerful, and during the games, adds invaluable amounts of tension. Hats off to the composers. The action is tense. Your pulse will most certainly quicken. In addition to other competitors, there are tracker jackers (genetically engineered wasps), dog-like wolves, and fire. Lots of fire. There are plenty of plot twists that will certainly shock those who haven't read the book. This movie is emotional, tense, and overall, wonderful. I do have a few minor nitpicks, specifically regarding character interaction. Cinna doesn't get enough screen time. We just don't feel the relationship between him and Katniss like we did in the book. President Snow doesn't seem quite as menacing as he is in the book, though he's evil enough. Also, the romance portion of the film is disappointingly cheesy. Teenage girls in the audience certainly fell for it, but I often rolled my eyes. Also, the ending isn't a true ending. We get a hook for a sequel. It's not so much a cliffhanger, it's just a "To be continued." I didn't mind too much, and fans of the book won't either, but I suspect there will be some who will be irritated by this. The Hunger Games has a few flaws, but in the end, it's the best film of the year so far. Fantastic story, lots of emotion, good action, believable acting, superb score, amazing makeup and costumes, need I go on? Simply put, The Hunger Games is a must see. I was originally uninterested in the sequels, but this movie was so good, I may rethink skipping them. May the odds be ever in your favor, and happy Hunger Games! Expand
  4. Mar 26, 2012
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. To those who realize that this movie is supposed to be part of a series of films, this movie won't be too surprising in many ways. The premise presents itself in a clear light, and almost everything about the movie, from the acting, to the costume design, to the writing, tries to paint everything as obvious as possible (We get it, the rich have no connection to the poor, the poor hate the rich, no human wants to embrace the concept of death/murder, and self-preservation is an impeccably strong mindset). Luckily, everything from the acting to the costume design to the writing is also well done. The pacing of the movie manages to move well, even through the slower parts of the film, and actually makes you interested in some characters (Even if the movie makes it apparent that some characters WILL die before the end, going as far to give some characters attributes, emotions, personal connections and an overall unique style, yet never giving them a name.)

    Do know this: the movie is good. I'll just say that now before I continue. I have a bit of a pessimistic view on things, and the next paragraph will be a bit of a downer.

    Maybe it's me, but having the movie focus so heavily on one character removes the tension of the entire movie ("Oh, only one entrant will survive? I wonder if it's gonna be the protagonist who gets 90% of the screen time..."). The movie then tries to create some tension by putting the protagonist in peril every two seconds, only to be saved by, usually not by her own skill, but the incredible stupidity of everyone else involved. The movie even goes so far as damn near showing that almost EVERY entrant is more skilled than her, yet every opportunity someone has to easily murder her, passes up the chance out of pity, fear, alternative opportunity, or quite simply no good reason. There's even a moment where she's stuck up a tree with a leg injury and nowhere to go, and the four well-equipped and skilled people hunting her decide to just go to sleep instead of the plethora of ideas that would have safely ended in her death (Like climbing an adjacent tree and shooting her with an arrow, or blowing up the tree, or burning the tree). it also seems like many entrants outside the main ones are simply there to demonstrate things to the protagonist. All of these things are well and fine if the actual hunger games were only a part of the story, but no, the movie pretty much ends right afterward. The main meat of the story was too obvious, and suffered too large a number of logical failures.
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  5. Apr 1, 2012
    7
    They missed a few few key points of the book, but otherwise did O.K. in adapting it. Other than that, The Hunger Games was well acted (especially by Jennifer Lawrence) and just helps create the atmosphere of The Hunger Games universe well. Expand
  6. Apr 1, 2012
    5
    Sure, blurring the violence with shaky-cam helps to obtain the PG13 but I can't go along with the blatant choice to make a purported $78M production look like amateur hour by using handheld cameras throughout. I don't care if it was an "artistic" choice or not. This is a science fiction movie and no one is fooled that it is a documentary or an attempt at realism a la Blair Witch Project. A simple conversation between two people in a room involves snap pans, quick cuts, even a few focus deficient zooms. I would say it looks like the kids from Super 8 made it but JJ Abrams knew that even seventies kids were smart enough to use a tripod. Expand
  7. May 30, 2012
    0
    Have I missed something, or is 'Hunger Games' in essence the same film as 'Battle Royale'.

    The Battle Royale. metacritic summary says
    'Summary: Battle Royale is a violent epic about an innocent group of Junior High students forced by the government to hunt and kill their classmates for sport.'. And for 'Hunger Games' summary 'the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete'.

    Is it a remake, or just a rip off?
    Expand

See all 450 User Reviews

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