The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match. 3.1 out of 5 based on 17 reviews
The Hunger Games

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Action, Drama, Science Fiction
Director Gary Ross
Cast Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson Jennifer Lawrence
Studio Lionsgate Films UK
Release Date March 2012
Running Time
 

Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Ross and his cinematographer Tom Stern, capture the action up close with twitchy, often hand-held camerawork: not only is it a perfect match for the punchy, urgent prose of Collins’s novel, it lends the film a teenager’s heart-in-mouth hyper-awareness. The screenplay ... deftly pulls together all of the novel’s itchiest themes: the Faustian pact of instant celebrity; the ever-broadening gap between the have-nots and the haves; the basic human urge to confer narrative, and so meaning, on human life in all its nasty, brutish brevity.

16/03/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

This is no Twilight romantic sap. The Hunger Games is first and foremost a longrunning, brutal battle, which left some young viewers at the screening shaking in their seats. For the older audience, it is also a biting satire on competitive reality television. Think of Joan of Arc taking on Simon Cowell, and winning the moral argument.

16/03/2012

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Total Film

Matthew Leyland

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.

16/03/2012

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Empire Magazine

Olly Richards

As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all.

19/03/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Kenneth Turan

Collins came up with the idea for "Hunger Games" while switching between a reality TV show and coverage of the Iraq war. And the finished film, though it combines elements familiar from short stories "The Lottery" and "The Most Dangerous Game," does come off as a lethal "Survivor" or even"American Idol" with deadly weapons.

21/03/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

There’s much to admire. The make-up, costumes and environment of the ruling class are spectacular, and Gary Ross directs competently — if not at his Seabiscuit best. However, I was not sure of the point of it all. Is it to satirise the sadism of reality TV? To dramatise the uncaring way teenagers are treated by their elders? Those ideas are scarcely developed. Perhaps they will be in future films.

22/03/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

It’s as if the film’s makers have decided that because it features a game show in which reality can be manipulated, they can simply use this as a device to get the film out of trouble every time it backs the characters into a narrative corner. Unfortunately this makes Katniss’s quest for survival increasingly dull at the very moment it should be at its most exciting.

22/03/2012

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Screen

Tim Grierson

Sadly, there’s a sense of familiarity that The Hunger Games can’t completely shake off. Recalling everything from Lord Of The Flies to A.I. to The Running Man to the cult Japanese thriller Battle Royale, the movie feels more like a solidly crafted amalgam of disparate influences than a wholly original vision. Still, what holds The Hunger Games together is the filmmakers’ laser-like focus on Katniss, creating a most unlikely coming-of-age story in which a shy tomboy finds love and self-confidence in the deadliest of situations.

16/03/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

The worry now is that with big-screen versions of the next books in Suzanne Collins's series coming down the line, the impact will be lessened, and it will become a Twilightish soap ... For the time being, however, this is supremely effective entertainment.

22/03/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

The director, Gary Ross, is so cautious that he undermines the ­dramatic potential of the film. Actually, I’m not sure what the point of this movie is. It’s too soft to be a satirical swipe at reality TV, and its neo-Marxist, Frankfurt-school-inspired vision of the poor, downtrodden masses manipulated by the ruling class via the media is rather dated. There is also a streak of right-wing loathing for the fancy, foppish, metropolitan elite, and a romantic celebration of the decent values of rural America, as personified by Katniss.

25/03/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

The Hunger Games is a deliberate mix of archness in the TV studios, where camp MCs comment on the action, and archery out in the wilderness, where the competitors die. It's far too long and much inferior to the ferocious Japanese Battle Royale. Younger audiences may well be intrigued, but I'd be surprised if it proves as popular as the Twilight series, which is more openly necrophilic in a romantic "swoon to death" way.

25/03/2012

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

The perils of allowing a successful author to adapt their own work for the screen are demonstrated once again in this absorbing but cluttered take on Suzanne Collins’s highly regarded post-apocalyptic teen epic. This is a gripping, impressively mounted action movie – but its adherence to finicky details in the novel means that there’s not enough time to fully explore Collins’s complex world or the characters who inhabit it.

20/03/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

I don't know whether this noxious premise seems plausible in Suzanne Collins's book, but the film leaves some fundamental questions unanswered, the most fundamental of which is: what's the point of the Games, anyway? ... Maybe I'm taking Collins's cartoonish satire too seriously, but that's how The Hunger Games wants to be taken. With its wobbly, indie camerawork, its lack of humour and Lawrence's sullen perma-frown, it presents itself as something deeper and darker than the woolly fantasy it is.

25/03/2012

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The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

What invests Katniss with such exciting promise and keeps you rapt even when the film proves less than equally thrilling is that she also doesn’t need saving, even if she’s at an age when, most movies still insist, women go weak at the knees and whimper and weep while waiting to be saved. Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross’s soft touch and Ms. Lawrence’s bland performance.

22/03/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

Aside from the opening 20 minutes, in which the Tribute selection process carries sinister echoes of the Holocaust, the film backs off from complication. At first it looks to be commenting on the American appetite for reality TV and the confections of celebrity, but its heart isn't really in it. The Hunger Games is playing variations on the Twilight formula of a lovers' triangle-with-violence, plus a lot of daft art design. And the irony of its finger-wagging remains. "If no one watches, they don't have a game." If no one watches this they don't have a movie. But the hype points to long queues everywhere.

23/03/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh. As the film’s king baddie, President Snow (Donald Sutherland), warns, “A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous.” We advise acolytes of The Hunger Games, and newcomers too, to bring only a little hope to this long, pedestrian film.

21/03/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

The whole thing is like TV’s Big Brother projected into the future by a demented Classics student: so terrible it might, with antiquity, become a camp masterpiece.

22/03/2012

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