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Generally favorable reviews- based on 1475 Ratings

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  1. Apr 24, 2012
    I thoroughly enjoyed the film, although the story line of a battle-to-the-death sounds bizarre to me (NOT familiar with the book; don't read fiction). I thought the lead actors were very well chosen. Loved it that the characters' personalities were developed throughout the film. Definitely looking forward to the sequels.
  2. Mar 28, 2012
    This movie does the book JUSTICE! An amazing recap of everything. The did however forget a few parts, but it doesn't subtract away from the accuracy/amazingness of the storyline. If you haven't read the book you might be quite lost 0_o
  3. May 2, 2012
    I should talk about other series prior to talking about "The Hunger Game". I kept thinking about "Battle Royal", manga (Japanese comic book). "Battle Royal" came out as a manga first, then movie version of it came out. Manga version was the best, and the movie version sucked so bad. If you know both version of "Battle Royal", then you already got my point of this review.
    Honestly I did
    not read novel version of "The Hunger Game", but it was easy to feel something is missing on the story plot. Design and background of the movie (or the story) is awesome, but what is the point of nice looking movie without a nice story plot? Every boy and girl in the survival is not really attractive except the girl in the movie poster because story does not support characters well individually. There are 24 kids in the survival, and I only remember 5 or 6 of them......
    Now back to "Battle Royal", the main goal of the base storyline is a copy of "Battle Royal". This sounds like the main reason of this review. I gave low user score because "Battle Royal" is still better by comparing just movie versions. Don't blame my review with comparison on both unless you watched or read "Battle Royal".
  4. Mar 23, 2012
    A great adaptation of the novel that Gary Ross does well with much help from Jennifer Lawrence's great performance. An immersible experience with Ross's directing, he carefully places The Hunger Games a movie for any audience, displaying the underlying emotion, violence, and steady storyline for the fans of the novel and newcomers alike. Lawrence really embodies herself as Katniss and displays another award worthy consideration. While The Hunger Games is a great start, it seems as there is a large potential in the trilogy that Ross is not fully uncovering. Needless, Catching Fire hopefully is something that expands the initial story to more epic proportions like The Dark Knight did with Batman. Expand
  5. Apr 2, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Extraordinary film! But, I did feel it left out to much. The book gave way more information (like always) but, I felt it was a little peculiar that they left out Madge's character. Katniss's bestfriend and the girl that gave her the pin. I didn't picture the cornucopia like the movie's version. But, that doesn't matter. It was a great film. Brought me to tears at least 3 times and it was full of great acting. Expand
  6. Mar 23, 2012
    Gary Ross did an excellent job adapting Suzanne Collin's novel. He even succeeded in explaining many of the ambiguities left by her writing. Jennifer Lawrence was excellent, as always, giving a realistic portrayal as an independent woman struggling to survive. I would recommend this movie to both fans of the series and newcomers.
  7. Mar 23, 2012
    As someone who was a fan of the books, I was a little nervous going in to this movie. Not just because I was worried that it would be good enough, but also because first person narratives are generally harder to adapt to the screen. I was worried that the main character would lose a lot of her complexity in the translation, just because of the limitations of the medium. I'm happy to say that Jennifer Lawrence's performance absolutely proved me wrong. I think they made the character a little nicer for the movie (or, they left out some of her meaner stuff for the sake of pacing) and there were a few times where she had to have something explained to her rather than working it out herself (again, that has more to do with translating a first person narrative to screen without including a voice over), but the integrity of the character is still very much intact. Lawrence's performance was nicely understated while also selling the key emotional moments.

    If I had one complaint about this movie (which I do), it's that the story probably would have been better served if they were willing to let it have an R-rating. I understand why they wouldn't want that, considering the demographic they're aiming for, but a lot of the violence of the actual Hunger Games was a little too sanitized for my taste.
  8. Mar 23, 2012
    The move was GREAT! It was missing very little explanatory details that if you read the book, you would spot. But, two thumbs up! The casting was perfect and my questions about if Josh Hutcherson was a good pick for Peeta was answered with a Yes.
  9. Mar 24, 2012
    I loved the books, the movie was sensational. Collins' is most certainly proud of her vision brought to life on the Big Screen. This movie is a must see for fans and for strangers to Collins' breathtaking trilogy.

    All I have left to say, to "Kat Murphy, Special to MSN Movies", is "who are you again?" This woman who so loved the books, but trashed the movie, is the woman who loves bean
    paste in her cheesecake. Her "eclectic" taste in movies has bled her of every reasonable perception of top notch entertainment. Take your Eel ice-cream and Geoduck sausage taste for movies Kat Murphy, the rest of us plan to enjoy the wonderful Double Fudge brownie with a side of taste-bud tingling Espresso Bean ice cream movie any day. Hunger Games is one of the most tasty visionary treats I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. Expand
  10. Mar 24, 2012
    When I stepped out of the movie theater, I had a feeling of absolute joy! I was sitting there with a rapid heart rate throughout the whole movie. I read the books before I saw the movie and the books are magnificent! The perhaps best part of it was the acting. My god, Jennifer Lawrence is a brilliant actor! I was also very impressed of Josh Hutcherson. To summarize: Go see this movie!
  11. Mar 24, 2012
    The Hunger games has put out a movie with action romance and suspense all at the same time. This movie had me on the edge of my seat. This is a must see movie and i cant wait till the new one comes out Catching Fire!
  12. Mar 25, 2012
    HG is FAR better than it had to be, and not as good as it could have been. But, like the characters forced by the game to do things they otherwise wouldn't Ross and his team work within the PG-13 constraints to make a good action movie that still is about kids killing kids for sport. Lawrence is simply stunning in the lead role, and the orbiting characters are all top notch (Special kudos to Lenny Kravitz are in order). Sadly, the boys of HG are almost pointless, and Peeta is completely clueless to boot. In the end it is riveting and enjoyable too, but I cannot help but think what this could be in a world where an R rated HG could get made by Chris Nolan. That would be something that would satisfy a real hunger. Expand
  13. Mar 25, 2012
    This movie was amazing. Some critics will tell you that it did not do the book justice, but I feel that no one would see a movie that could fit everything into it that we all wanted. The movie would be around 4 to 5 hours long if the relationships were developed as well as they could have been. The director did a fantastic job pushing everything together into a cohesive amazing film. If one reads the book BEFORE seeing the movie, they will be ultimately rewarded with a much deeper emotional bond to the characters, but that being said, READ THE BOOK! It's not that hard. The only thing that I would have wanted is Cato coming to Clove and giving his emotional breakdown. They tried to swap that with his monologue at the end, but it would have been much more emotional if Clove had Cato to hold her. I'm sure most things were cut solely to make the movie a reasonable time length, so take that into consideration when judging this film. In other words - read the book, even if you have already seen the movie, you will want to see it again and experience the full impact. Expand
  14. Mar 25, 2012
    A great book adaptation, that kept me all the movie on the edge of my seat. Its talented cast brought an excellent performance and its leading star, Jennifer Lawrence, did not disappoint at all.
  15. Mar 25, 2012
    I think they did the best job they could fitting a 400 page book into a 2 hour and 20 minute movie. Jennifer Lawrence gives a stellar performance. She is the perfect Katniss. I think viewers need to appreciate that the book and the movie are two different forms of media that were never intended to be carbon copies.
  16. Mar 31, 2012
    Being a huge fan of the book ever since it came out in 2008, my expectations were extremely high for the film adaption, and I have to say I was not disappointed. Although I feel like some characters were very underdeveloped like Gale and Prim, they obviously can't include every little detail in the book, otherwise we would be in the theaters for hours and hours (which I would actually be OK with, but probably not with others.) Living up to such a sensational book is not an easy task, and I thought Gary Ross did a great job with this adaption. Hopefully with the next couple of movies, they focus more on the characters themselves and more of their background story. But it was definitely the best movie I've seen in a REALLY long time. Expand
  17. Mar 31, 2012
    In The Hunger Games, it's the theatre-goers who lose their lunch. I only really watched the first third of this movie, the rest of it I had motion sickness so bad I could only really listen. I've never gotten sick from a movie before, and it is an experience I hope never to repeat.

    Stanley Tucci and Woody Harrelson gave very entertaining performances as always. Elizabeth Banks should
    have given this movie a pass as she is unrecognizable and adds nothing to the story.

    The subject matter is simply awful: a society that thinks it's entertaining to watch children murder each other. I won't be seeing the sequels.
  18. Apr 1, 2012
    Honestly, this movie didn't reflect how good of a book this was. It didn't show much character for anyone, including Katniss. When you saw kids from other districts die, it was hard to feel bad because you knew nothing about their history (excluding Rue). Katniss and Peeta's relationship was very confusing if you hadn't read the books, and Haymitch's actor wasn't as sharp as he should have. Also, there were not very many cave scenes, Gale wasn't a very big part, and what about Flavius, Octavia, Venia, Portia? This was an utter let down to what was one of my favorite books. Expand
  19. Apr 12, 2012
    I will keep it short and sweet. I had no expectations going into this movie and I really liked it. I enjoyed the build-up and politics up to the actual games. Woody Harrelson with his usual comic relief. Definitely entertaining. Worth seeing in the theatre for sure!!
  20. Apr 18, 2012
    This is one of the best teen movie this year! I do not know why this movie just got a 6.7 rating? This movie can make the heart beat of the people who saw it! Amazing film!
  21. Apr 21, 2012
    This movie is fantastic, the action is not to childish, and Jennifer Lawrence's acting was impressive. My only complaint is that, in the novel, the story was more about the Hunger Games, in the movie, they try to make it more about teen romance, disappointing.
  22. Apr 22, 2012
    Beautiful. The adaptation for the book was beautiful. True, the camera style was shaky and the relationship between Peeta and Katniss was shallow, and also true, some of the important parts of the movie were left out, but there were only 20 DIFFERENCES--you can count them on wikipedia if you don't believe me, they have a list--BETWEEN THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE. You see, pretty much almost all of the movies made nowadays bases off of books are AWFUL. They have too many differences to distinguish from the book it turns into a completely different plot, and soon enough, the movie turns into something different than what it was based off of. WHY THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS??? THE ADAPTATION WAS BEAUTIFUL!!! The acting was purely wonderful to watch; I have never seen a movie with such great acting. For all of those who say the acting was terrible, you should Google what the other possible choices are, and you'll probably be out of school for weeks due to nausea. Suzanne Collins was strictly GENIUS for choosing Liongate to to the remake. The criticism for the adaptation is unnecessary, the racial views are completely out of line, and the movie is lower on the user score than it should be. People, have a heart and have good taste to know when a movie that comes out is actually GOOD! Expand
  23. Apr 25, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Outdated special effects, unwatchable shaky camera style in the action scenes, strange choice of actress for the lead role (an almost too pretty well... developed woman to play the role of a malnourished - more like starved to death in the book- sixteen year old slum-girl. Terrible dialogue and character development, unrealistic depiction of the future with people wearing outdated 18th century costumes while possessing incredible, almost magical technology that could create something out of nothing. One of the biggest rip offs I have ever seen in my life. They have taken the story of the Battle Royale and abused it in the worst possible manner, throwing all the violence out the window or with the above mentioned shaky camera technique toned down to an absolute blur. For many actual minutes I couldn't see anything on the big screen and many of my friends had made similar complaints. A colossal waste of my money but I suppose at the same time a great cash in for the clever people behind this whole charade. This is definitely not a kids movie and it barely qualifies as adult one also. Expand
  24. May 17, 2012
    The Hunger Games is unoriginal and uninspiring, one of the strangest hyped movies I have seen in years. I was completely underwhelmed when I saw it. The story itself is cliche, the same futurist group of unfortunate souls forced to fight for the entertainment of the masses because of an oppressive regime. It wanted to be like the original Roller Ball, or Battle Royale, but ended up being more like the remake of Roller Ball, or Gamer. Jennifer Lawrence is good enough, but she seemed like the main character in a video game. She appeared very wooden (maybe that was the written character in the book) and I struggled to have any emotional connection whatsoever to her. The Hunger Games themselves lack the intensity that the long buildup implied. Maybe the PG-13 rating doomed the movie from the start and they weren't able to go where they wanted. The ending was inexcusable and a complete cop out, I won't spoil it but it made me lose faith in the source material to begin with. Bottom line, this is bad Science Fiction, and makes me wonder how low our standards have gotten that this was so highly regarded. Expand
  25. Jul 17, 2012
    The Hunger Games, the film adaptation of the hugely popular first book of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins (of which I have read none) may feel a bit underwhelming to fans of the books (I have personally heard such griping), but it still has amazing visuals, great set pieces, and engaging performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson in particular. The film contains many scenes of violence that seem somewhat restrained (even the moment when the kids are to begin the game, many dizzying quick cuts are made to keep a teen-friendly PG-13 rated massacre). But the interplay between the well drawn, interesting characters is directed with precision from Gary Ross and the ambition of the source material seems to remain intact. It might even feel a bit short at nearly two-and-a-half hours due to the prolonged quick pace, so The Hunger Games should aptly thrill and entertain. Expand
  26. Aug 21, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. After all the hype I finally saw it, and, well, don't beleive the hype. First of all it absolutely drags on, scene after scene, developing very slowly. To it's credit, it is spending time on character development, which can sometimes be rare in movies today. But, there's so many un-necessarry shots and long cuts that one can easily see how the films 2 and a half hour length could be shortened. All this build up finally leads to the actual "games" and then the film starts to pick up a bit. The main problem I had with the film though, is that it seems to always be hinting at a deeper, more devious plot-line, that simply never manifests. For example, there are 3 or 4 bizarrely out of place "flashbacks" to previous scenes. This devices suggests that "hey, that scene was important, remember it, because you will need to when we tie in the sub-plot." But, finally, in the end, you come to discover that there is no sub plot. It's all just meat and potatoes action move schlock, dumbed down and amped up for the American movie viewing masses. Those flashbacks? It's like the director is saying "Hey, stay with us, Stay awake! I know this film is long and boring, but try to remember what's happening!" It's a slap in the face and an insult to intelligence. Finally, in the end, you succumb to the fact that the film is mostly a love story, but, you may be holding out hope for a big "stick it to the man" moment where the tyrants of the film get their come-uppance, (And also delivering a sub-text on the American government and politics), but nope, we are robbed of that as well. They just go home. This is a film engineered for the teenage Twilight crowd, not adults, and definitely not lovers of intellectual fiction or science fiction. The hype these days... Expand
  27. Aug 21, 2012
    This is one of my favorite movies!! Jennifer Lawrence made the perfect Katniss and Josh Hutcherson the perfect Peeta!! If you want to see an AMAZING movie, i totally recomand this one!! It was almost as good as the book!!
  28. Aug 19, 2012
    The movie itself isn't that bad but the story wasn't in my opinion told good.
    I did not read the book but during the movie I felt constantly like something is missing and that lasted through entire movie. The end confirmed that something is missing because the ending gave the vibe of something unfinished. Overall I would also like to add that movie could've lasted for 30-40 minutes
    shorter and with better storytelling. Expand
  29. Sep 25, 2012
    not exactly like the book, but still very good. Not if the beginning of the movie, the camera recorded badly on purpose or is he had Parkinson's....!!!
  30. Aug 16, 2013
    When based on such amazing source materials as this, it should be hard messing it up. But this movie messes it up in almost every way possible. I kept facepalming because of all the errors that were made. Important characters and events are kept out of the movie. There is no character development at all. It's like the writer expect everyone to have read the books before seeing this, and I bet over half of the people who saw this, didn't.

    So disappointed.
  31. Nov 9, 2012
    It has good acting and a great atmosphere, but after an interesting first half it becomes ultimately too tame and predictable to be considered great.
  32. Oct 22, 2012
    The Hunger Games stomps the Twilight saga flat, and though I found those films somewhat amusing, this one is the real deal...
  33. Oct 9, 2013
    I really do not get all of the appeal behind The Hunger Games. This is similar to The Twilight Saga, not that both franchises are the exact same, but they're both highly overrated franchises that are geared mostly towards teenagers. The only difference is that The Hunger Games tries to appeal to all demographics, but just ends up being REALLY obnoxious--- once you see the poster for this movie 1000 times. The one with Katniss on it. This is one of the most ANNOYING movie posters, if not THE most annoying movie poster I have ever seen. It's everywhere, even when the second movie is about to be released. Sorry, but The Hunger Games will not be as memorable as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. It's just another adult-novel-turned-to-movie-aimed-for-teenagers. Expand
  34. Feb 15, 2013
    This was an engaging movie. The world building was fabulous, and the characters were very well done. The score was amazing too. The book's mythology was very well captured. The feel and tone was consistently dark and brooding. I had read the book first, and I recognize that in a movie it's all show and no tell, so it was refreshing that they tried to capture the story from different viewpoints. But I was still disappointed that they didn't include the moments where Katniss comes across as very human and flawed. I was hoping they would include a voice-over for the heroine. I'm not saying they should have narrated everything, but Katniss's thoughts at key moments would have made the situations more entertaining, like her feelings about Peeta as they change when the story moves forward. All in all, I was very satisfied. If anyone who read the book isn't happy with the adaptation, I suggest you consider The Golden Compass, which was based on an awesome book but turned into a pile of rubbish upon adaptation; as it included far less character development, had lesser running time and toned down violence. Expand
  35. Feb 26, 2013
    The movie was definitely good. I liked the action, suspense, and the emotions of the characters throughout the film. The book and the film has some differences but they're okay. I Recommended you watch it.
  36. Jul 16, 2013
    First off, I neither liked this film nor the books. The entire concept was taken directly from Battle Royale and has just interjected elements from The Lord of The Flies. There are several ways that the character of Katniss is just a bland, sociopathic male-stand-in who does everything wrong and seems to get out alive. Peeta is creepy. No question. How he tries to make Katniss act like she's in love with him for the better of the viewers and how he admitted to nearly stalking her in both the film and book. Gale and Prim are useless characters who, if they were removed, the story would still be the same. Haymich isn't alcoholic at all, he's an occasional drunk, and I'm ready to stand up to that point with anyone who wants to protest. I don't want this review to run long with everything that's wrong with this, because there aren't enough characters here to rightly explain. But what I hate the most is the sheer fact that such a large bandwagon has been made for this film/book. There are other alternatives out there that do it so much better than this. Just because millions of people like something doesn't make it as good as everyone praises it to be. Expand
  37. Apr 15, 2013
    The Hunger Games tells a story that is either told too fast or too stretched. The actors do either a great job or a horrible one (like the actor playing Peeta who always looks like he shat his pants). It could have been good, but it's dragged down by flaws that could have easily been prevented.
  38. Apr 14, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's hard for me to understand why so many people thought this movie was well done. I read the first book (mainly because my girlfriend really wanted me to, especially before the movie) and I have to say I'm really glad I did. Although, even if I didn't read the book, the movie is horrible regardless. My favorite character Haymitch never did any of the things that I liked him for in the book. I never cared for Rue as I did in the book, quite frankly I did not care when she died in the movie. When the familiars (the name escapes me) came on screen of the dead tributes, they were awkward dog creatures that did not resemble their former selves. Thresh never did anything. The casting was off as certain characters did not look like how they were portrayed in the book (I know it cannot be perfect but you can make it close). The chariot scene with the fire dress was uninspired. Cinna had no emotion and seemed to really not care for Katniss. The shotty camera work that just shook every time an action scene happened. The fact that Pita didn't lose a leg. This movie is just wrong. It's just bad. Aside from completely ruining the book, the movie alone just is not good. Nothing about it was entertaining especially since I've read the book and know that everything was done so horribly wrong. My girlfriend who is a huge fan of the series (collects everything she can) also hated the movie. We were both sitting in the theater, dumbstruck as people clapped and cheered for a movie that destroyed what the books created. In retrospect I'm sure more than half the people in the movie hadn't read the books but the fact that the author stood behind this, I'll be sure to skip out on anything she does again. Not to mention the fact that I saw Battle Royale which came out before the Hunger Games books and movie and watching that you realize how much is ripped off. Right down to where they have two winners. I'm rambling now but geez, looking up at 831 positive reviews, really? Gah! Expand
  39. Nov 28, 2013
    Despite not really enjoying this film, I am still going to give it a slightly positive rating. My reasoning for this is that it is actually a decent film, however my opinion on it has been altered as I read the books first. The books has in depth politics and lots of violence and excitement. The film left a lot of the politics and violence out to make it watchable for the younger ages, which subsequently created a cheesy, not brilliantly written film. If they had 'juiced it up' a bit and made it a 15, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
    I would recommend this film if you have not read the book, if you have steer clear of it.
  40. Dec 1, 2013
    this movie was okay at most it was boring for really long and the hype was over a book and book fans will give it a good review that it will not deserve dont let your loyalism make people think a whack movie is good so they go buy it or something
  41. Nov 18, 2013
    There are scenes that left me feeling confused because of its jumpiness, but for a book adaptation, this first installment of Suzanne Collins' great series is more than one could've asked for. Lawrence is the best choice for Katniss, and she does it excellently. Even for someone who hasn't read the book, I don't think there will be too many confusions because the movie manages to keep the story both complex and simple at the same time. It's been a long time since I enjoy a movie with female heroine and seems like Jennifer Lawrence is truly destined to be the actress of her generation. Expand
  42. Nov 19, 2013
    Poor movie. It should have been more than one part per book. There was no character development at all and bad casting. There were numerous mistakes in the movie aswell as taking one idea from the book and basing the entire population of the capitol on it. Not only that, but it's being completely marketed for the 8-12 crowd, with action figures and card games. The cast was horrible. The 17 year old gale was played by 22 year old Liam Hemsworth, and 16 year old Katniss by 22 year old Jennifer Lawrence. You know a high hyped movie was bad when it's already on netflix. Hopefully they don't screw up Catching fire, and the casting looks not that bad. Expand
  43. Mar 8, 2014
    This was an unwatchable, tedious, ass-numbing, bore of a movie; not worthy of even “made for TV” status. The acting was stilted and wooden; Jennifer Lawrence is creepy looking and unattractive. Honestly the whole thing was a mess from start to finish. Save your money and opt out of the remaining movies now; doubtful they will get any better.
  44. DME
    Mar 25, 2012
    The Hunger Games was a great movie that never left me bored or disappointed. The story makes sense without reading the book (which I can't say for most book-to-film adaptions). There was only one weak point in this film: Lousy camera work. There were far too many face closeups and a lot of camera jerking. But, it's still watchable. And I still recommend it.
  45. Jul 22, 2013
    While I am no fan of "The Hunger Games" books nor did I really hear about them until the film came out and I took a whole year to actually get to watch the film, I must admit it is quite good. As a matter of fact, I am quite shocked at how good it is. In my head it was somewhat of a "Twilight" phenomenon, so I discarded it immediately. However, it was misguided. "The Hunger Games" has an interesting premise, and a rather well thought out idea. The screenplay is well written and it achieves to keep one fully immersed into the film, and provides necessary thrills throughout the entirety of the film. I was so absorbed and intensely connecting with the characters, I got acid reflux from all the tension. Oh, no, I am not joking.

    Anyhow, the technicalities of the film need no discussion, really. A film with such a huge budget will make sure to clean up nicely and "The Hunger Games" is no different. The performances were, surprisingly, quite convincing and were not forced. Jennifer Lawrence is pitch-perfect as the leading lady, and all the supporting cast does a good job. I was especially stricken by the emotional connection with, and performance by the young Amandla Stenberg. It is sad we will not be seeing her in the second instalment of the series, but what can one do.

    Overall, it was a real pleasure to watch this film. Not only did it deliver unexpected thrills (at least unexpected to me), but it also managed to take the audience into that dystopian world of the future. How dystopic it really is is another question to be asked, especially in light of reality television and its ever-brutal entrance into the real lives of people. Quite often with dubious ethical, moral and taste breaches that leave one baffled.
  46. Jul 2, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Rae Dolly lives in the Ozarks with an incapacitated mother and two younger siblings, a boy and a girl. Since mom is a cipher, and dad, gone missing, going on three weeks, Rae becomes the de facto head of the household; the surrogate parent, who at 17, has no time for games. It's hillbilly against hillbilly. Nobody claims to know the whereabouts of Rae's father, quote unquote. Also on her plate, Rae fights foreclosure on the family abode. The bail bondsman has come to collect. Her neighbors, former moonshiners-turned-crystal meth producers, don't know who the real enemy is. They kill their own kind; they'll even kill Rae, if she gets too close. In the interim, the army dreamer is the family's sole provider, the only one man enough to put food on the table. Hardly the squeamish type, Rae takes dead aim on a squirrel, but only because it's too late in the day for deer. That's where a certain girl of the future acquires her way with the bow and arrow. The gravitas, the grit; it's in the blood. Rae skins the critter, and with the boy's help. removes its innards. Flinching isn't permitted. But Rae has her limits, though. She cracks, finally, when it's time to saw off her daddy's hands. Somebody else wields the chainsaw, while Rae holds the body over water, in the lake where his killers dumped him. By proving that her father is dead, she gets to keep the house. The family stays intact. As a result, Rae cancels her military plans, and never leaves the Ozarks. As a result, future generations are doomed. Since the Missouri outback, the setting for Winter's Bone, could double as Panem's District 12, a coal mining outpost, and because the same actress occupies the cross-generational diegeses of the present and the future, it's not hard to imagine that somewhere down the line, somewhere in the family tree, a Dolly got together with an Everdeen, thereby making Rae an ancestor of Katniss', and correspondingly, the Debra Granik film, a Hunger Games prequel, hypothetically speaking. Viewed in a vacuum, the harsh post-apocalyptical conditions that afflicts District 12, the most impoverished of the Capitol's outlying districts, plays like a travesty, this gross disparity between the haves and have-nots. But by using Winter's Bone as an extrapolative tool, a bigger picture emerges, the narrative alters, where the Panemians are partly to blame for the state they're in. It's no wonder that the insurrection against the Capitol failed. The districts don't respect each other. Class warfare persists still among the tributes, despite the grisly outcome inherent in the yearly televised spectacle, whose death toll, by sheer numbers alone, should unite and align the districts against the Capitol. But that's just not the case. During the testing period, the academy-trained tributes from District 1 give off an aura of superiority over their competition, especially Peeta, whose poor archery skills, Katniss warns, makes him look weak, and an easy target for the alpha kids. It's only when the boy throws a metal ball into an arrow rack does he gain a measure of respect from his opponents. Already emasculated by his mother, who back home, lets Peeta know that she's rooting for Katniss, perhaps, leads to the ultimate betrayal, when he forms a coalition on the playing field with the District 1 tributes against his partner, which nearly results in death by arrow, as the girl's combatants fire at will towards the tree which tenuously harbors her. Earlier in the film, in a pre-game interview, Peeta announces his love for Katniss to the entire Panemic world, but he sure has a strange way of showing it. Worse than a supposed suitor, Rae is left alone to face the small community's wrath due to the traitorous actions of her father, the snitch who tells the authorities about the meth labs that dot the Ozark landscape. By turning informant, the father should have known that he was putting not just himself, but his daughter in harm's way, also. The local women nearly beat Rae to death. In a sense, like Katniss, who outscores Peeta 11-8 on the assessment tests, Rae gets punished for being better a man, which in her case, is having the nerve of doing something better than cooking crank like the old man. In both films, wars are waged amonst people of the same social class against each other. Knowing that Rae has mouths to feed, the people next door play a little hunger games of their own, waiting until dark to share their carcass, a newly slaughtered deer. Both the hillbillies and the disenfranchised youths fail to realize that they're on the same side. The Japanese are smarter. In Battle Royale, there are real alliances; they work together in earnest, without intrigue. They understand who the real enemy is. In another precursing film, The Running Man, we can gauge audience reaction throughout the bloody spectacle. No doubt, viewers across the Capitol want Katniss and Peeta to fight. Alas, they're unseen. Just like us. Expand
  47. Mar 24, 2012
    Wonderful movie that moves along more quickly than one thinks. The acting is first rate and the movie has a nervous edge throughout. It is very thought provoking as any parent would not know what to do considering the future of our planet. Still feeling queasy.
  48. Mar 25, 2012
    I thought this movie brought the book to life better than any Harry Potter ever did. There were some things taken out, edited, or added in from the book, and I found myself thinking "that's not right!" several times, but I understand that things have to be changed for a film audience to understand the movie and for it to not be 6 hours long. Considering, I thought it was pretty loyal to the book. The only thing I didn't like being cut down was Katniss's time with Rue. There were also a few things not explained thoroughly that my boyfriend, who has no read the books, was confused by. So, maybe a little much was cut out. I appreciated that there was an artistic vision apparent in the movie, evident in camera work, sound editing, costume design, etc, although I felt at times they didn't follow through sufficiently. For example, the movie starts out with very shaky camera work with lots of "too close" shots, which I liked because it gave it a very gritty real feel, but this was mostly dropped after the first 15 minutes or so. I suppose they thought it may have gotten annoying after a while, which is probably true. There was also some sound and film editing that indicated that we're seeing the movie through Katniss's eyes (as in the book), but then there were scenes added in that didn't exist in the book, like how it kept cutting back to Gale watching the games on TV and the commentators explaining things like the trackerjackers. Those scenes certainly aren't from Katniss's point of view. So, the artistic vision of the film seemed a little inconsistent. It just wasn't pushed quite far enough. It was like the director wanted to do something really artistic, but chickened out. That being said, I think it was a good movie. I enjoyed it as much as the book (although the cave scenes were extra cheesy with music added, and the 400+ person theatre audience was laughing hysterically...that wasn't really the idea...) and I'm glad I saw it. I saw it 2 days ago and am still thinking about it. I can only hope that with the next movie, the director really pushes it farther and creates a full artistic vision rather than getting caught up in simply recreating the book. Expand
  49. Aug 18, 2012
    Having not read the books, I sat down to watch this film with an element of caution - would the film be any good? Would I feel like I knew the story by the end? Rather than compare the film to the book, I'll just look at the story of the film. It doesn't seem to introduce the brutality or the importance of the Hunger Games itself. However, when the "Hunger Games" do start the immediacy and harshness of just how violent this film is shocks to the core. The pace of the film changes like a stab to the side. However, I didn't feel a connection with Lawrence's character and I didn't feel like I was willing her to win the competition either. It wasn't a bad performance from Lawrence, but not much empathy was allowed to be developed as the pace of the film quickened towards an abrupt end. Expand
  50. Nov 20, 2013
    Overall, I enjoyed the Hunger Games. It was interesting and didn’t mess up the story. However, the story itself is not really interesting but hopefully the second one will be better. While the Hunger Games is a great film adaptation of a book, it is by no means a great film.
  51. May 2, 2012
    They did a pretty effective job of taking a book based entirely on internal dialogue and make it a 3d person movie. The movie also was judicious in what it left out or minimized. Unfortunately though, that led to a number of undeveloped characters (except Katniss of course). I really enjoyed the movie and can't wait to see what they do with the next one. This movie blew Twilight away, but I understand that the intended audience is slightly different. A very good dystopian science fiction film, albeit for the masses. Expand
  52. Apr 13, 2012
    BORING! I'll say right off the bat that I didn't read any the "Books" (I am a 40-something female whose favorite genre is action sci-fi, i.e. Aliens, Terminator, Matrix, etc.) and was hoping for a good movie. Unfortunately, this movie was TOTALLY over-hyped and didn't deliver. If you like the kind of action that has lots of shots of the main character sleeping in a tree and her BIG strategic moves involving a hornet's nest and some berries, you will think this is great entertainment. I would have given it less than 5 stars, but because of the costumes/hair/makeup in the middle section of the movie (which were very well done), I bumped it up a couple. I think it is only for people who read the "Books" since they can fill in mentally what the movie lacked (which was A LOT). Expand
  53. Apr 18, 2012
    I liked the film but I nearly got up and walked out as soon as the shaky camera work began. Its a lazy filmmakers attempt to gin up anxiety. I was a little surprised to see a cautionary tale on authoritarian government in this age of nanny stateism and political correctness. Perhaps the next generations rebelliousness will be to return us to constitutional government and liberty. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I can hope. Expand
  54. May 19, 2012
    A really good film. The Hunger Games is probably one of the best films I have seen this year. The atmosphere is intense, the premise and story is emotional and thought provoking and the acting is top notch. Jennifer Lawrence is amazing as Katniss and I consider her one of the best new actresses today and the rest of the cast is great too. The only complain that I have with the whole film is that the action scenes are riddled with shaky camera shots, which is very disorientating and it did get annoying at parts but it wasn't enough to ruin the film. I've read the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy and I have to say this is a very well made adaptation. It stayed with the main plot and kept the maturity and serious treatment of its demographic, which are mostly teenagers, that the book conveys. Expand
  55. Mar 25, 2012
    Here is the problem. This is a movie about 24 children trying to murder each other, but it's made for kids (PG). This prevents the movie from showing any drama involved in the act of fighting someone to death, as being PG not much violence or any bad language can be shown. The special effects and character development are both terrible. I didn't care who lived or died, this includes the lead character.

    All this being said. The story is still good and the actors performances save this movie. The general concensus of people I saw this movie with was, "it was alright glad I saw it".
  56. May 23, 2012
    I feel such a victim of advertising! Twighlight fans rejoice. Yet another superficial hollywood megaproduction polylogy. If the objective is to feel shocked by youngsters thrown into a survival of the fittest contest, then a much superior film is Battle Royale.
  57. Apr 8, 2012
    I have never read the books but I can tell you the movie is so flawed that I could write a book about it. At first, it seems like they could not decide on whether they wanted to make a serious film or a campy film to show to people really stoned for midnight weekend films. The futuristic utopia image was a joke as the film projected a country that was half Star Trek and half the Dark Ages. I thought the sets looked cheap and Woody Harrellson looked liked Tom Petty. Once they got around to the games, the film really lost any sense of reality as the one focused on 4 or 5 of the participants and we never saw anything about the others. The film has zero character development, plot development, and the history behind the games was never really explained. Lawrence spent most of her time sleeping in a tree while my film going partner spent her time looking at her watch. Hunger Games is close to being a movie you would see on Mystery Science Fiction Theather. It made Avatar look a classic . You can see the sequels coming but I will not go. Expand
  58. Mar 26, 2012
    Jennifer Lawrence is terrific, but by asking us to assume the position of the elites (rooting for some of the Tributes, by making them cartoonishly loathsome) the film ends up asking us to assume the roles it is ostensibly condemning. Josh Hutcherson is useless, as he fails to convey the terror inherent in knowing that he is about to die a brutal death, and Liam Hemsworth, for all his admirable dialect work, seems like an over-privileged Beverly HIlls kid, not a starving, oppressed, district paeon. Elizabeth Banks is fine in her first scene, and then her accent disappears. The film is never boring, but its message is questionable. Expand
  59. Mar 29, 2012
    In this version of the future, TV has extended reality competition to the ultimate: kids between 13-18 are selected to fight to the death. Before the games begin, they visit the dramatically-modern capital city, where they're groomed for TV and prepped for the fight. Jennifer Lawrence soaks up most of the screen time as a serious, determined young woman who seems destined to dominate the pack. Once the match begins, her home-grown survival skills come to play. The action is sporadic with all the killings dispatched quickly and painlessly (for the PG-13 rating). The art direction is colorful and the drama unfolds with solid zeal. Fans of the books will probably appreciate the film more. I found it satisfying without being special. Expand
  60. Mar 30, 2012
    Ok seriously this movie is a drama. It reminded me of twilight. Mostly talking and almost no fight scenes. At least on TV when they advertise they make it look more like an action moive , WRONG! This movie tries to make you sad and that's it.
  61. Apr 7, 2012
    Very close to the book, don't know what people are whining about. Only bad thing was shaky camera in first 15 minutes, then later in "distress" scenes. Totally unnecessary and annoying. Yes book is better, but what can you do in 2 hours and 13 min? Pretty much what they did. I do hope to see extended scenes of Peeta's injury and reaction by Katniss as they have to operate on him in the DVD. Other than that, everything was great. Expand
  62. Mar 27, 2012
    "The Hunger Games" was one of my favorite books of recent years, and I thought the movie was very faithful to the book. Jennifer Lawrence in particular was perfect as Katniss. It is true, as some reviewers state, that the movie leaves a lot of the back story of Katniss and Peeta out, but there is enough in the flashbacks so viewers get the idea. At first I thought Josh Hutcherson was wrong for the Peeta role, but he won me over with his performance. Overall a very good adaptation of a very good book. Anytime you make a movie of a beloved book it can never live up to some people's expectations. I thought they did a great job. My only major criticism would be the ever moving motion of the camera. I really hate this stupid technique that directors are using these days. You can get motion sick at the movies and it's annoying. Expand
  63. Mar 24, 2012
    The movie did the book justice---the acting was absolutely fantastic. The actress who portrays Katniss has a great sense at portraying raw emotions. I loved every minute of it, and I understand as a fan, that you do have to leave out little details, because it is a movie, not a 350+ page book. Great work!
  64. Sep 10, 2012
    If you thought that the trailer was a bit lacking in action then I'm afraid to say the film's the same. It's all about the build up (admittedly good) to the games which comprise around 20-30 mins near the end of the film. It's all over way too quickly and you're sitting there with a very unsatisfied blood lust. Speaking of lust though, Jennifer Lawrence bags this film an extra point for me seeing as she's plays the role brilliantly and oh yeah, she's fit as hell. Expand
  65. Apr 15, 2012
    The movie does not do justice to the book, nor to the characters. The character of Katmis is well portrayed by a talented actress. However the move seems more interested in the environment and techie tricks than in the depth of the characters that were developed in the book. ,How well one likes this movie may depend upon whether they have read the book first (thereby liking the movie more because they bring more to the movie than is in it), or having not not read the book , and being limited to what the movie actually portrays (which seems to be more Hollywood than Hunger Games). Unlike the excellent book, the movie seems to have chosen flash and style over substance. Expand
  66. Apr 24, 2012
    I'd give The Hunger Games a passing grade. Its worth seeing if you had read the books, but it's probably a tad bit confusing for those who haven't. The acting was mediocre, the plot seemed rushed yet the audience is still engaged, and it gets the job done as a book adaptation. If you're a fan of the series it wouldn't be a bad idea to check it out, but don't go in expecting every detail to be there. Expand
  67. Mar 27, 2012
    This is called to see a full movie, funny, sentimental and full of action! Stanley Tucci gave the best supporting actor, just great! the only thing that disappointed me a bit was his artistic direction, I feel I could have done better, so other well.
  68. Sep 2, 2012
    I think this movie is very good, but the book, gives much more detail then then the movie. Some people didn't like the movie because it didn't have enough action. I think it had enough action in it. The movie plot is good enough to keep you into the movie fro start to finish. The movie has a very good cast which could get this movie an oscar nom. This is not an oscar movie but the cast in the movie could bump it up and get it a nom. If it does get a nom it will be a just barely. Good movie and great book. Expand
  69. Nov 25, 2012
    An eccentric future. People wear wierd makeup and have blue hair. I'm listening. Children killing each other. I'm listening. A fully developed world that truly makes me believe that this place could exist 300 years from now. I'm sold. This movie creates a place in time, and I feel like I'm there. Check.
  70. Oct 26, 2012
    Sad, thought-provoking, deep, emotional, and downright depressing these are the words I would use to describe The Hunger Games. I've never read the book, but this movie has made me want to. It's an absolutely emotional film. The characters are absolutely extremely well done. So much so in fact that I wanted to know more and more about them, including the minor and villain characters. If I had one complaint it would be that some scenes aren't as detailed as they should be. A problem I believe they had because they couldn't fit all the details from the book into the movie. This is a movie I do recommend, just keep in mind it's a pretty brutal film. Expand
  71. Jan 30, 2013
    The Hunger Games is a decent movie taken from a book... A book which in turn takes it's elements from films like Battle Royale and The Running Man. Talk about cyclical! The Hunger Games shines when viewed as a character piece (Jennifer Lawrence's performance is excellent) or as a slight meditation on social greed and the notion of celebrity. That said, the movie has it's faults. The primary one being the lack of stirring action sequences. The editing and pacing of these scenes when they do arrive are simply unexciting. One thing I will say though is that the violence is tastefully neutered. I have no desire to see young children graphically killed and was mercifully spared from doing so. Ultimately, The Hunger Games was an entertaining movie that I enjoyed. Not nearly as much as Battle Royale, however. Expand
  72. Mar 23, 2012
    Though the concept is hardly an original one, "The Hunger Games," directed by Gary Ross ("Pleasantville," "Seabiscuit," and the upcoming "Catching Fire"), visually details the first installment of the widely acclaimed dystopian trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Taking a page or two from earlier films of a similar variety, as in a much tamer account of Fukasaku's "Battle Royale" (2001) and delivering the same satirical overtones and vision of runaway celebrity culture and reality-tv obsession like Weir's "The Truman Show" (1998), the film shines in its tense tone and from a couple of its leads (Lawrence and Hutcherson), though is lessened by its invariably unstable, twitchy camerawork (using three angles at times) and over-editing swiftness --despite its intentions to make for intensified pathos and a neurotic dystopia--which fails to match the book's same sense of loss from death and the competition's ubiquitous ambiance of uncompromising gravity and carnage. Notwithstanding the camerawork, editing errors, and violence-saving restraint (let's not forget its rated PG-13), 'Games' is very much engrossing; the one-hundred and forty-four minute runtime never seems too tedious or soporific. Moreover, the film retains its grip on the viewer's attention much in part to its nimbly brisk pace and stunning cinematography. Lawrence is really what puts 'Games' on the same map as "Harry Potter" and further away from "Twilight;" she has a calming innocence that is both steady and assuring to the viewer, and blue eyes that are equally riveting. If viewers are familiar with her in "Winter's Bone," the same barefaced committment is brought to her character Katniss Everdeen, the bow-and-arrow-slinging heroine, who volunteers for her eleven-year old sister in the annual "Hunger Games." It is through Katniss that audiences become genuinely concerned with the competition's outcome; rooting for the heroine over even her District 12-adversarily-forced friend Peeta (Hutcherson). His character attires a strong, affecting visage that tears the viewer momentarily for whom to continue to cheer for; Katniss still wins over the crowd. But even more effective, is the film's transition from the book, which is told in first-person (Katniss as the focal point), to an omni-prescent scope. With this clever, and much safer, modification, the audience gets to see both the Hunger Games control room (the studio show stage) as well as the artifical, environmentally-staged battlefield. Furthermore, the continual change of pace from hunting (the action) and the scripted show (presentation) mimicks a "real-life" reality premise where audiences see both the physical confrontation and the manipulated, interviews, pre-game ceremonies and beauty-style pagentry, laden with flamboyant fashion and persistent directing coordinators. The control room, as in all of the film's setting, draws a strong, at times too close, semblance to "Fifth Element;" apparently Hollywood's only visual representative take on what the future world will be. Amalgamated from this "reality-show" are hosts and staff, some memorable, and some one would like to repress. Among the former, is madcap, blue-bouffant, male-Oprah-like Stanley Tucci, the horrificly bearded high-tech coordinator, Wes Bentley, and the long, wooly white, lion mane coiffure of Donald Sutherland as the usually distinguished and mellifluous, President Snow of the 'Games'; he is demonically brutal in his antagonistic role. As a whole, 'Hunger' is a film that is steered money first into a consuming demographic (13-19), and restrains itself knowingly from achieving brilliance by ensuring it stays the course. Though it starts as if it will last an eternity, and stand amongst cinematic grandeur, the film inexorably loses it steam and transmutes into the melodrammatic plodding in the woods that follows the "Twilight" series far too subserviently. In addition to the increasingly eggregious display of treacle adolescent-romance and fluff, the initial brilliant cinematography by Tom Stern is supplanted with noticeably cooler, more mundane tones. And, once the fighting itself begins, the teens on the battlefield are just not given the same degree of complexity and richness as the adults; they are seen as sheer psychopaths with no souls. Moreover, the need to add the laboriously dull and done-before love triangle only frames what will hopefully "tie-in" in the next installment, but the incipient longing for relationships does not put an effective cap on this origin account. Not endowing the same cultural study of class critique, as the superior "Battle Royale," 'Games' is obviously too Hollywood for its own good, eliminating some of the greater meanings the film desires to fulfill. The crux of the point: breaking box-office records is more important than making breaking one's highest expectations; settling for green is the greater compromise. Expand
  73. Mar 26, 2012
    While not being the most original movie ever made, The Hunger Games is a completely enjoyable time at the movie theater. The one thing I like most about this movie is the vehement extremest on both sides of the spectrum. This is not exactly a movie to get all riled up about and proclaim it the "worst" or "best" of all time, especially when you only see about 10 movies a year and have very little historical perspective on the grand scale of cinema. Everybody calm down. Expand
  74. Mar 26, 2012
    I really liked this movie as both an adventure movie and a study of celebrity and how society is so obsessed with it and corruption in Government. Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant and holds the movie together so well as she is in more or less every scene. After her role in the brilliant Winters Bone and Xmen First Class she is definitely an actress on the rise and rise. I loved the cinematography with the "wasp sting" scene really standing out for me. The future setting is also very interesting in both the glitzy Capitol and rundown slum districts. My Girlfriend liked the love story element so it was a win win movie for me. Expand
  75. Mar 25, 2012
    This was a very entertaining film, but having not read the books, I came in with no expectations and left with the feeling that I'd already seen this done almost EXACTLY in 'Battle Royale'. Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant as always. I adored her in 'The Poker House' and 'Winter's Bone' and she is easily one of our greatest acting commodities. It held my interest, so I give it a solid 6, but I thought the plot was a blatant ripoff. Sort of like 'Avatar' ripped off 'Ferngully'. Expand
  76. May 20, 2012
    I saw this film back on its first opening weekend and I had high expectations seeing how I have read and enjoyed the whole book series. For that, I absolutely enjoyed this movie and it is entertaining as all hell! The only problems are that some parts from the book were left out and you have to be patient to be satisfied with the actual Hunger Games tournament. Other than that, the acting, the visuals, the story are all great! Expand
  77. Apr 3, 2012
    The Hunger Games is not like Harry Potter or Twilight Saga, let's say we must trust the hype. It's thrilling and touching. Gary Ross put this movie-based-on-book more exciting with his hand. Thanks to solid acting from Lawrence.
  78. Mar 29, 2012
    Ok I always gave this movie crap as just another huge hit with the tweens but I saw it today and I liked it a lot. I know I totally gave in and call me Hot Topic but I'm a fan now. I do wish the movie gave more depth into some of the other characters more so you could really feel the different emotions for love and hate but I'm really looking forward to the next film and I may have to start reading ;) Expand
  79. Mar 26, 2012
    I always wonder after seeing a movie where I have read the book beforehand, â
  80. Mar 23, 2012
    Stunningly decent, yes that is how i think i will describe this it is strange almost like the concept is well done yet still not allowed to flourish. The over all scope of things is easily grasped and i can respect keeping it PG-13 for it's audience but it is just a little to lacking in detail, the book is deep, rich and complex while the movie lack the same stunning epic feel
  81. Jun 9, 2012
    The entire plot is based on the illogical premise that the games will keep the masses cowered and docile. But forcing two citizens from each region into lethal combat for public display and entertainment is a sure way to stir the populace into revolt and to make martyrs out of the participants. The random selection of contestants makes the slaughter of children inevitable, which would further inflame the populace. But this is just the beginning of a whole string of illogical plot developments that overwhelmed my ability to suspend disbelief. The film's robotic acting and dialogue make the moronic plot even more unbearable. I suspect that the producers knew they could profit by showing attractive young
    actors running around in futuristic costumes trying to kill each other and not have to bother with meaningful content or story. Hunger games left me starving for an engaging story or characters.
  82. Mar 24, 2012
    Jennifer Lawrence was the workhorse of this film and she carried the burden brilliantly. Smokin' hot, super smart -- just an all around great performance. Mix this in with a tight script and excellent direction and you've got a hit. Hunger Games clocks in at 144 minutes and you'll be happy for the whole of it. The weakest part of the movie is the opening, where I wish they had gone a little more Fellowship of the Rings-ish with an acted-out narrative rather than some blocks of text, but this is a minor gripe. Really, there's nothing to complain about of any substance here. This is the best movie I have seen in a long time. Expand
  83. Apr 16, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I never read the book. Many people consider that a negative. I consider it a benefit. I am able to judge the world not based on my expectations for the book's movie, but on my expectations for a movie in general. I am able to expect the movie to leave me without questions that could be answered by the novel.

    Overall, it was a solid movie - it had a unique story, a different atmosphere, and was produced beautifully with a competent balance of action and story. What it lacked it was character development and the occasional simply bad scripting and acting job (especially in the minor roles of newscasters and politicians).

    The setting is different - everything is big. The trains are big. The cities are big. The arenas are big. It combines the vastness of Star War's sci-fi with the bleak political corruption of 1984 to make an atmosphere that I haven't seen excessively much. Unfortunately, this setting really isn't emphasized. You see a massive train - for a few seconds before it goes straight inside. You notice that the government is merciless and corrupt, but this isn't a theme that is really developed at all. I feel like the entire political and physical landscape of the world of the Hunger Games goes to waste.

    Still, the story is one of competition, sacrifice, and, most importantly, survival. The characters must go to great physical and moral lengths - even abandoning their own attitude towards the world - to survive in an arena where survival isn't based on strength of arm, but on public view. In a plot contrary to many modern movies, the characters must actually try to get on society's "good side" to achieve their goals.

    Some scenes - such as a particular one where several youths are murdered almost pointlessly by each other - are downright grotesque, but open the viewer's mind to the idea that perhaps not every story has to follow set social standards and express traditional themes. Some scenes are intense - from fist-fights for survival, to desperate struggles to survive the wrath of nature (or "nature" as expressed by the overlords of the central competition), even to one or two cliche explosions (this is, after all, a modern sci-fi action movie).

    Very few scenes, however, are emotionally moving. The makers of the film definitely knew how to cast and write a great death scene, for example, but failed completely in giving us any emotional attachment to the dying character. Throughout the story, I really only felt attachment to the central character - all of the side characters were either evil or fodder for the evil ones. To top it off, only a handful of characters were well acted and scripted. Newscasters are given borderline cheesy scripts to introduce crucial plot elements. Villains behave and voice-act like 7-year olds stomping out an anthill. You have trouble being intimidated by a group of teens who giggles while they destroy their opponents.

    The ending left a little wanting. The setting, as I said, is a 1984-esque politically corrupt world that is not developed in the slightest. At the end, the setting is the same. Neither side has gained any ground. All that has happened is a competition. And while I applaud a self-contained story, this disturbing lack of closure can't go overlooked.

    Overall, it was a solid film. I wish I could have given it a 7.5, because honestly it doesn't deserve an 8. No movie should be judged by the book it is based on, but no movie based on a book should rely on the book it is based on. Overall, the Hunger Games doesn't rely on the novel - it explains most things well - but it lacks the character development and, well, non-cheesy introduction of plot elements that it needs.
  84. Apr 10, 2012
    The Hunger Games is a good movie. Not fanboy amazing, not hater terrible. It's good. As it is in most movies, there are a lot of little details that were taken out, but the details weren't necessary to the story. That said, the movie is definitely better if you've read the book. Is the book the difference between a 3 and an 8? No. It's the difference between an 8 and a 6. The movie has action, great acting, good looking actors and an actual plot. The movie stands well on it's own, but it is best enjoyed if you've read the book first. If you've read the book, you automatically fill in all the missing pieces, and that creates a wholesome, spectacular visual representation of the book. The movie shouldn't be criticized for leaving details out, the books should be criticized for having too much detail. That said, I definitely urge you to read the book and THEN go see the movie, but the movie is great on it's own, and worth seeing either way. (JENNIFER LAWRENCE!!! Expand
  85. Jul 31, 2014
    Based on the bestselling books for young adults the Hunger Games is a set in a world where, in order to keep the population under control, two children from each of the twelve districts are chosen to compete a two week trial in which only one can survive.

    I haven't read the books but throughout the movie I got the sense that certain elements have been left underdeveloped and toned down
    in order to maintain a reasonable running time and ensure a rating that would allow fans of the books to see it. In large part thanks to the central performance by, the always excellent, Jennifer Lawrence however The Hunger Games still makes for a relatively entertaining watch. It is well shot and moves along at a good pace with just enough tension to keep things from become too predictable.

    Not a classic but certainly worth a watch.
  86. Mar 26, 2012
    Definitely better than the book. Most of my gripes about the movie actually come from the source material: the plot holes, unexplained scenarios, certain shallow characters (Peeta) are all things that bothered me when reading the book. Granted, it's written for young adults, so there's a fair amount of simplicity and cliche to be expected, but the hype around this book made me especially critical. Another gripe I have is the names of the weird animals in the book... Tracker Jackers? Muttants? ...I think she could have done better than that... Overall, the book isn't poorly written, it's just adequate. Even while reading the book, I was thinking that it would make a really fun movie, and the movie would likely be better than the book if it had quality art direction, pacing, and acting. Luckily, it has all of those things. The art style, effects, and camera work are all surprisingly good. The pacing is much better than the book, and kept me interested throughout (the book, on the other hand, had some incredibly dull stretches, i.e. in the cave with Peeta for days...). When I read reviews that say this "didn't do the book justice", I wonder if the reviewer is 12 years old (which I probably shouldn't complain about since I'm talking about a young adult movie), or if they've just never read a good book. There is truly not much depth to be found in the novel - it's entertaining and quick, and if it gets kids reading, then great - but it's not really something that leaves you thinking. If you're an adult, and a friend tells you to read the book, do yourself a favor and grab Game of Thrones instead. This movie doesn't have much depth either, but that's ok, because it's basically an action blockbuster. I promise you, you're not missing much by skipping the book and watching this - and you're gaining hours of time. As for acting, Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic, as you'd expect. She was amazing in Winters Bone, and is great in this as well. Woody Harrelson is one of my favorite actors, and tends to steal the show in all his movies, even as a supporting character. Without those two, this movie would likely have been pretty forgettable. Other supporting characters were good too, but didn't stand out. As for the Twilight comparisons, I think they're inaccurate. They're both young adult books with a female lead and a love triangle. Other than that, I don't see how they're similar; Bella broods and cries, while Katniss shoots people with arrows blows things up. The Hunger Games is far better than the Twilight movies (which isn't saying much - in fact I've never been able to sit through one). I say this as a 20-something man though, so I understand I'm not the target audience for either. But enough about Twilight. All in all, I give The Hunger Games a generous 8 for fantastic acting, nice art direction, and pure entertainment value. Expand
  87. Jul 4, 2012
    I'll make it clear from the start, I regrettably haven't read Suzanne Collins' book series this film (and its inevitable sequels) are based on. I'm still quite able to judge it in cinematic terms, and besides, I would rather not become one of those over-protective readers who take it as a personal insult whenever the slightest change is made to the story for the sake of on-screen narrative flow. As all good sci-fi does, the film comments on an issue hugely relevant to contemporary society, in this case it's the rapidly increasing extremity and dominance of reality TV. The world of The Hunger Games is a dystopian future ruled by an oppressive, authoritarian government, where every district of Panem (formally North America) are annually forced to submit a teenage boy and girl to compete in a brutal blood sport for the dual purpose of keeping the formally rebellious lower-classes downtrodden, and to keep the rich citizens of the Capitol entertained as the ultimate form of twisted reality TV. The cast of the film are quite superb. Jennifer Lawrence is utterly captivating as the film's heroine Katniss Everdeen, District 12's female competitor, and Josh Hartnett continues to prove himself a fast-rising star as the District's male competitor Peeta Mellark, though both are acted off the screen by newcomer Amandla Stenberg playing an intelligent but younger-than-average games competitor, Rue. The veteran actors playing the adult characters all seem to be having a great deal of fun, from Woody Harrelson's cynical and alcoholic, but good-natured Hunger Games survivor Haymitch, the porcelain-doll-like games promoter Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), eccentric stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and especially Stanly Tucci's batty blue-haired TV host Caesar Flickerman. The only one who doesn't appear to be having a good time is Donald Sutherland, playing President Snow, though to be fair he's only a very minor character in this installment. and the filmmakers probably just wanted to get a big name in early to play a character who becomes (so I'm told) far more essential in the sequels. The games themselves are extremely well-realised - after the back-story to this particularly pessimistic vision of the future is established and the characters introduced, we are plunged into a something that is a cross between Battle Royale and Deliverance. When I first heard about the film and its teen-friendly certificate, I thought it would be limiting to the film tackling its exceptionally dark subject matter. Quite the contrary - a lower certification forces director Gary Ross and cinematographer Tom Stern to get creative. The action is thrilling, and what happens to the young competitors is in many ways more horrifying and visceral when it is slightly obscured by clever editing or if it happens just off-screen - your own imagination fills in the gaps and these fights don't lose any impact. I do however question why you're not allowed to show blood on weapons in a 12A certificated film, yet you can show a young boy's neck being broken and the two lead characters covered in blood at the film's finale. The story sucks you in and keeps you engaged throughout, though the run-time is a little gruelling, and the final act is pretty generic. The film cleverly addresses powerful and timeless themes of freedom and morality, coming of age and loss of innocence, and serves as a warning against technological dependence. While all these themes are all effectively discussed in the film, I still see potential to expand on them in the sequels, where these thematic seeds will really have the opportunity to bloom. I really was pleasantly surprised by The Hunger Games - I expected little more than a sub-par Battle Royale, but through a combination of stunning visuals, great performances, and mature discussion of complex thematic material, it stands on its own terms, and can be enjoyed by the teen audience it was marketed at and adults alike. I look forward to seeing the uncut version of the film, that is yet to be released in the UK, once it is released on DVD, and see just how much the film is changed. Whether the next instalment of the series has the same impact without the artistic talent and energy of director Gary Ross, who has now dropped out, remains to be seen... Expand
  88. Jul 3, 2012
    I personally didn't read the books but after watching the movie there is probably a good reason why. this movie is.... Mediocre. The story is bland, the build up things with little payoff and the editing is how you say GOD AWFUL. Extreme shaky cam and extreme close ups really hurt this movies potential. I also utterly despise the setting. A post apocalyptic future where the rich control the poor. DONE TO DEATH! You really have to work hard when your movie is worse than New Moon and that's me being nice. AVOID THIS MOVIE!!! Expand
  89. Apr 8, 2012
    I haven't read the book but it made perfect sense to me. As far as blockbusters go it was pretty darn good. It's a difficult thing to do a film like this well but they managed it, and in the process created something of a classic for our times.
  90. Apr 5, 2012
    What an excellent film. Having read the books, i love the way Gary Ross brought the highly acclaimed book to the big screen. Yes it had its differences from the book, but wow he did an amazing job. The parts that were missing from the books were understandable because he had to appeal to the audience that didn't read the book and help them understand the development of the story and the plot. The character development was the biggest flaw i saw in the film. It seemed very weak. I read the books yet i didn't feel anything for Gale and his relationship with Katniss in the movie, and the actor for Peeta was very weak, but you can't expect picture perfect acting from a newcomer like him. Same with Katniss and Rue's relationship, it wasn't built up nearly as much as it was in the book, yet the movie was already 2 and a half hours so its understandable. Overall though this film was just beautiful. The development to the games was perfect, the games themself were perfect and the way they brought the capitol and district 12 to life was perfect, exactly as i pictured it in the book. The action was very well done as well. This movie was almost perfect with just a few minor flaws. I'd give it a 9.5/10 but ill round it up to 10/10. Whether you have or have not read the books, you will love this movie for sure. Thank you Gary Ross (director) for bringing one of our favorite books to life in a beautiful way. Expand
  91. Mar 24, 2012
    It's tough rating this movie, because there is a lot to like - but it seems so intent on being the first in a series that it just barely stands on its own two feet. Really, I'm afraid that people who haven't read the books aren't going to have the first clue about how good this story actually is and I wonder what this movie could have been if they'd allowed it to be it's own story as opposed to just a set up for the profit monster they expect the second and third parts to be. Not to mention, for a story called "The Hunger Games" you'd figure food would be a larger part of the story (as in the book), but there is surprisingly little of anything related to poverty, hunger, or food that contribute so much to who Peeta and Katniss (not to mention district 11's Rue) are as characters.

    What's the like? Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, and seeing how the games are run.
    What's to hate? Really underdeveloped characters, poor pacing really hampers emotionally significant moments, and the camera work is at times amateurish.
  92. Apr 14, 2012
    The Hunger Games - 10/10 - The Hunger Games is inventive, inspirational and at times mind-blowing. It's not the greatest adaptation of the novel but this film stands alone. The shaky camera might be a little must but it's a brilliant way for this film that's about kids killing kids to bypass the MPAA and a R rating. Also a blockbuster of this nature made for under a hundred million and not being a total disaster is a feat within itself. Hunger Games is a must watch blockbuster in a randomly placed March! Expand
  93. Mar 24, 2012
    Before I saw this movie, I decided I wanted to walk into it with no knowledge of anyone's opinion. I didn't check Facebook, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, IMDB, or watch TV for a week. After my brother and I discussed our opinions of the movie, I checked out Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic and was somewhat surprised by the positive reaction to this film. To me, this film was a little better than okay. At the beginning of the film, It had some very effective dramatic scenes in it (especially the reaping). The cinematography was pretty decent, though I could have used a little less shaky cam. As the film went on, I was introduced to the film's vision of the capital, which was a little too over-the-top in my opinion. I understand it's supposed to be that way, but it does take away what makes the capital so ominous in the first place. As the games begin, we get our first action scene, which like every other action scene in this movie, was badly shot, poorly edited, was mostly bloodless, and extremely hard to follow (all because they needed their PG-13 rating). Imagine the fighting scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but with a bunch of kids in a field killing each other rather than giant robots. While I was still enjoying the film alright, the action scenes really made the film not as good as it should have been. Also, it seemed that whenever something dramatic would happen in the games, it would cut back to a goofy newscaster. And while I see the satire the film was trying to pull, it really did take away from the tone of the film. The ending was better concluded than it was in the book, so I give the film some props for that. As for the performances, almost all of them were engaging and well done. Overall, the pros slightly outweighed the cons, but just barely. Expand
  94. Apr 11, 2012
    The Hunger Games is, a decent movie, I could say. It starts with Katniss, you fanboys know her, right? Well she is a dull character that has no reason for the audience to want her to win. As that continues, the plot expands, and the plot is great. Should keep viewers interested in this clever, expanding plot; despite it's simularities to "Most Dangerous Game". Anyways, Peeta, is another dull character. In fact, all the characters are. I can name a list of films that had begter characters. But then, I feel how the film was overall. In the end, it's an okay film, perhaps for the better than for the worse. I recommend this film, overall. Expand
  95. Apr 9, 2012
    Its a bit **** just some girl crying for about 6 hours. I would say its a cross between Battle Royale and Twilight. It bigs these two people up like there these amazing people with awesome powers, and they hardly get used. The main guy in it supposed to have this amazing throw and he doesnt even throw anything throughout the film.
  96. Apr 2, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I read the books and was dying to see it the day it came out and I have to say, I was not disappointed. The CGI and acting were both a lot better than I thought they would be. The movie was not at all brought down a notch violence wise for kids. Many people who saw the movie actually think it should have been rated R. One of my favorite things with this movie is that it stayed almost exactly with the book. Many big blockbuster films based off of books are so drastically changed that it completely ruins the story for all of those who read the book originally. all in all, i would rate this a solid 9.5 out of 10. It doesn't deserve a 10 in my opinion because I feel like the beginning part when Katniss is in District 12 before the Reaping was way too short and you didn't really get to know Gale and how Katniss feels for him. Expand
  97. Apr 15, 2012
    success does not imply quality. while you can't argue the fact that The Hunger Games is a box office success, the film itself is quite a let down. as with many teen novels that are adapted to film, the film displays a fundamentally poorly thought out execution. The plot is under developed, almost implying knowledge that can only be know from reading the book, an example of which is the relationship of the primary character (Katniss) with her Mother. The characters are underdeveloped and the plot lacks appeal. If you don't enjoy picking apart films, then you should enjoy it regardless of what anyone has to say. Expand
  98. Apr 8, 2012
    Movie, great. Actors, great. Plot, special effects, sounds, great, great, great.

    SUPER SHAKY CAMERA: I got a headache about half of the way through this movie and had to close my eyes so I didn't throw up. The camera ruined the whole movie for me, which is unfortunate because after reading the book, I was incredibly psyched.
  99. Mar 28, 2012
    It was much better than I ever expected. The pace was good and the story pulled you in. Certainly a star making performance for Jennifer Lawrence who carries the movie (as she must) without any missteps. She was great in Winter's Bone and now she will have the massive box office success to go with her great acting skills. With 2 more movies in the franchise, this was a great way to kick things off. Must see in the genre and the first really solid movie of 2012. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 44
  2. Negative: 2 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Mar 26, 2012
    The result is an evasive, baffling, unexciting production - anything but a classic.
  2. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    Mar 23, 2012
    Ross manages to keep the pacing remarkably swift, given that the games themselves don't start until halfway through the 144-minute running time.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 23, 2012
    Katniss is gritty, she's flinty, she's intimidating -- and she doesn't have to compromise one iota of her femininity for it. And Ross' movie tells her story wonderfully.