‘The Hunger Games' 2-Disc Blu-ray + Digital Copy
There's a fine and tenuous line between glorifying violence and exploring mankind's troubling thirst for blood, and Gary Ross' nimble traversing of that line gives his blockbuster adaptation of “The Hunger Games” a cinematic victory.
Turning a global literary phenomenon into a movie is never an easy task, but the Oscar-nominated director/co-writer obviously put a great deal of thought and care into his handling of Suzanne Collins' sharp dystopian tale. Adapted from the first book in her best-selling trilogy for young adults, “The Hunger Games” stumbles over a few of the anticipated pacing and storytelling pitfalls involved in building such an intricate world, but the compelling movie mostly meets and in some arenas exceeds expectations.
Set in the not-too-distant future, what was formerly North America has been replaced by Panem, which consists of a wealthy, corrupt Capitol surrounded by 12 poor, oppressed districts whose residents provide necessities and luxuries to the sleek metropolis and its pampered denizens.
As penance for a long-ago uprising, each district is required each year to provide two tributes — a boy and a girl — between the ages of 12 and 18 to travel to the Capitol, receive training and then fight to the death in the Hunger Games. Only one of the 24 tributes will survive, and everyone in Panem is legally required to watch the dehumanizing brutality play out live on television.
In poverty-stricken District 12, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence, who ably carries the film) and her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) keep their families fed by breaking the law and hunting game in the woods outside their coal-mining village.
But they can't protect their siblings from everything, and Katniss' gentle, 12-year-old sister, Prim (Willow Shields), is chosen by lottery to compete in the 74th annual Games.