Billed as the movie event of the year, “The Hunger Games” is a visceral, violent film that outshines its teen-targeting counterparts.
“The Hunger Games” took in $155 million last weekend — the third best movie opening ever. The hype surrounding the film, based on a bestselling novel by Suzanne Collins, has skyrocketed, as fans waited around the block to attend midnight screenings bedecked in full costume. Even at UNC, fans took part in their own Hunger Games involving water balloons and markers last Friday. Unquestionably, the games have become a phenomenon.
The book is now an essential cornerstone in the teenage cultural psyche, alongside Twilight and Harry Potter. The novel has spent three years on the New York Times bestseller list, and there are more than 26 million copies of the work, alongside its sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay, in print worldwide. For the movie, eager anticipation would be an understatement.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is an inhabitant of Panem, a futuristic world that was once America. The ruling Capitol attempts to keep its 12 districts in check by organizing a yearly, televised battle: The Hunger Games. Two teenagers from each of the 12 districts are brought to fight each other to the death until one is victorious. When Prim, Katniss’ sister, is chosen at random to enter the games, Katniss volunteers herself as tribute.
For a teen franchise, you’d expect “The Hunger Games” to be a clear-cut drama, teeming with romance and an indie-rock soundtrack. But director Gary Ross delivers dystopia with shaky camerawork throughout, mirroring Katniss’ turbulent journey. The scenery of North Carolina, where the film was shot, is lush against the horrors of the games themselves.