USA: Gary Ross, 2012
Having not read the book or followed the media discourse, I went into the cinema with an open mind. My main attraction to the film was to see Jennifer Lawrence in a lead role in a big film. After a needlessly overlong two hours twenty minutes, I came out thinking what a shame it was that the kernel of a good idea - albeit unoriginal - this film promises is never fulfilled due to its blatant courting of mainstream acceptability.
THE HUNGER GAMES should be a full on gore-fest with hard, biting SF satire. Instead what you end up with is a clumisily (shaky-cam) directed and heavily thematically diluted reworking of THE RUNNING MAN and BATTLE ROYALE sanitised and made bland for the broadest audience possible.
No doubt it'll go on to be an enormous hit with early teen TWILIGHT generation and further cement Lawrence as a rising star. Sadly, for anyone over its 12A rating THE HUNGER GAMES will leave you pondering what might've of been if the studio and filmmakers had delivered on the dark dystopian promise the material and the texts that inspired it undoubtedly offered.
The Count's Verdict: There is a decent genre movie in here somewhere it just gets swallowed by the safe and shameless studio polish heavily applied the longer the film goes on. Jennifer Lawrence is watchable as always but isn't asked to extend her range far here. A missed opportunity although I concede I'm not the target demographic for this film.