THE BUZZ: Hunger Games Movie: The hottest ticket during the hottest spring on record
THE GENRE: Dystopian Fiction, Book-to-Film
THE PREMISE: In Panem, uprising against the capital comes with a hefty price. Now, as penance every year, there’s a ‘Reaping’ where a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are picked from each of 13 districts and forced to fight to the death during the Hunger Games.
THE GOODS AND BADS: The trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, has gathered a massive cult following – among tweens, teens and adults alike so it’s no wonder theaters were packed when the film finally released. A solid adaptation of the novel, which just happens to be brimming with thematic imagery, moody dialogue and bloody combat, the film stars some talented young actors, including scene-stealing Jennifer Lawrence (of Winter’s Bone fame) who plays heroine Katniss. But young critics can be harsh. Some yawned through the film’s first half, and gave the lacklustre murderous gaming the thumbs down. Plus, the lack of focus on the love triangle between Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and Katniss’ BFF, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), sucks some heart from the story, some say. Expectations run high but with a true blockbuster, fans know it’s rare for the onscreen world to live up to the one on paper and in your imagination. And ticket sales aren’t suffering in this case.
THE CONTROVERSY: Critics worry that the violent storyline is too much for young fans.
THE REVIEW: This is violence with a purpose – not the gratuitous murder and rape found in Call of Duty or Halloween XI. Hunger Games addresses the important themes of Good versus Evil, the strength of determination, love and human survival, the power of propaganda, and political oppression. Our take? If your child is ready to talk about these themes, then it’s time for Hunger Games. And there’s always the chance that if you ban the film, your teens will see it anyway – and lie about it.
THE VERDICT: A well-produced film with important themes. While it may lack that certain something that turns a work of art from good to great, this one is definitely worth talking about with your kids and worth seeing – either separately or together – depending on their age.
THE CAVEAT: Please don’t wear costumes. Dressing up as movie characters is so not cool. Unless, of course, you’re under 18, and then it’s your call.