For all of the marketing hype surrounding "The Hunger Games," it is hard to believe that this young adult novel was published less than four years ago. This book has definitely struck a nerve with popular culture that is multigenerational. At the Friday afternoon screening that I attended, the Muvico Pompano auditorium was filled with senior citizens that seemed enthralled by the proceedings.
In the not too distant future, the United States of American has fallen and has been rebuilt into the 12 Districts of Panem. To recall the rebel uprising that caused the fall of USA, the totalitarian government selects 24 teen agers (2 from each district) to be sacrificed in the nationally television sports/reality television show, "The Hunger Games.' These young people (called Tributes) are chosen by lottery to forge for food and outlast their 23 competitors.
Meet Katniss Everdean (Jennifer Lawrence), the eldest daughter who has experience hunting for food with a bow & arrow since her father died in a mining accident. Katniss becomes a 12 Distict Tribute with her neighbor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson, the son of a baker who had a long, unrequited crush on Katniss. Together Katniss and Peeta enter the "Hunger Games" as both rivals and allies.
With the exception of two poorly edited fight scenes, "The Hunger Games" has lived up to the hype of Suzanne Collins Young Adult novel. Part one of a trilogy, "The Hunger Games" is science fiction myth more in common with Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" and George Orwell's "1984," than "Star Wars" and "John Carter." The message is important, but a satirical sense of humor keeps the story from being mundane.
Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones portray two foppish commentators who narrate "The Hunger Games," these characters can get a job with the "NBC 30 Rock newsroom." Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson also portray broad character, though with far more depth than Tucci & Jones' characters.
As the leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence deserves her kudos. Given her persona in "Winter Bone" and "X-Men First Class," Lawrence enchances her image as the central character. Josh Hutcherson offers strong support without upstaging his Katniss. Not since the films produced in the 1970s, **Hunger Games** has scenes that require these young actors just to silently sit and think. Lawrence and Hutcherson make these scenes as interesting as brutal action sequences.