THE WORLD WILL BE WATCHING.
As punishment for a past uprising, twelve districts must offer their rulers two “tributes”, a boy and a girl, to compete in the Hunger Games where they fight to the death. This adaptation of an immensely popular young adult novel is head and shoulders above most other similar projects, boasting an impressive production design and plenty of action as we follow the tributes of District 12, Katniss and Peeta, as they fight and scheme their way through the games. Jennifer Lawrence is ideal in a star-making performance as the 16-year-old who knows how to handle a bow and arrow; Stanley Tucci stands out in the supporting cast as a smarmy TV host. Long, but worthwhile.
2012-U.S. 142 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik. Directed by Gary Ross. Screenplay: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray. Novel: Suzanne Collins. Song: “Safe and Sound” (Taylor Swift, T Bone Burnett, John Paul White, Joy Williams). Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci… Lennie Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones.
Trivia: Followed by three sequels, starting with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).
Last word: “I think it has a lot on its mind. That’s why I wanted to do it. I wouldn’t do it if it was just a glossy piece of entertainment. Just before this, I was offered a sequel in a really large franchise, and I turned it down. I won’t say, but I turned it down and my agents were sort of stunned. I said there’s nothing fresh I could do and it doesn’t really have much on its mind and I’m not just interested in a piece of entertainment, per se. What I loved about Suzanne’s novel was that it was so intelligent, had so much to say, was so relevant. The idea of Katniss fighting for her own humanity in a system that wants to strip her of humanity, who wants her to be complicit in these games, to play the game, and the evolution of her own sense of ethics and her empathy and her compassion and her sense of who she is and her own moral line that leads to this act of defiance that is the thing that sparks the revolution, I thought that was fantastic. That’s why I wanted to do it.” (Ross, Screen Rant)