Released: March 23, 2012 by Lionsgate
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Donald Sutherland as President Snow
Wes Bentley as Game Master Seneca Crane
Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
Full Cast Here
Synopsis from IMDB:
In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.
I'll try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, but you've really got to read the books, or you will want to read them as soon as you're done watching this movie!
I convinced by boyfriend to go with me - yes it took convincing, he hadn't read the books nor did he have any interest in reading them. This is partly my fault, I traumatized him the last time we went to a movie based on a book by taking him to the first Twilight movie - even I regret that decision now. So he was hesitant when I described the movie as project runway, meets survivor, meets the deadliest game - all the best elements of reality TV with a cast of teenagers fighting it out to be the sole victor in a battle royale.
Most people who have read the books go into this with a version that they've played out in their heads, and for some it'll never meet their expectations (I've seen the insane hordes of hate tweets and reviews). I've come to accept that there will be parts I might not enjoy as much, but I try and enjoy the movie as is. With the hype before the movie I was super excited and my hopes were way up there. Overall I was NOT disappointed in the movie at all! It's turned out far better than any other adaptations I've seen before.
I was really grateful that the director/writer Gary Ross (responsible for the award winning movies Seabiscuit and Pleasantville) had stuck fairly close to the book. Everyone always worries that the movie production will end up ripping the soul out of the book and glamorizing it to fit into the mold of Hollywood, but any changes Mr. Ross did were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things (except the how she gets the mockingjay pin that one still irks me) but he makes up for it with allowing the audience to go a bit behind the scenes of the games.
Jennifer Lawrence is great as Katniss (comments aside about how she was a bit too well fed for a character that was purportedly starving to death). She really delivered as a versatile actress in portraying the strong daughter, caring older sister, expert marksman, the fear that accompanied being chosen, to the focus she puts into winning this while maintaining some semblance of humanity.
Josh Hutcherson pretty much rocked as being Peeta, he captures the shy boyishness with incredible strength, with some seriously impressive artistic talents and smarts to boot! I really didn't like Peeta's character all that much in the books, I found him pretty irritating and preferred Gale to him but Josh Hutcherson's portrayal changes everything!
I can't say much about Liam Helmsworth and his portrayal of Gale, we see him for a total of maybe 15 minutes? But he's sure got the mouth agape, eyebrow brooding down flat. In the subsequent books/movies he plays a bigger part so he'll really be put to the test then.
Stanely Tucci was the freaking embodiment of Caesar Flickerman! The charisma, the voice and the crazy Capitol fashion! He's pretty much replaced any previous imagination versions of a Caesar Flickerman that I had.
Elizabeth Banks was unrecognizable under all that Capitol glamour. Seriously:
Cinna is among my favorite characters in the books, even as such a small secondary character I feel Lenny Kravitz nailed it perfectly!
For me the best part of this whole book to movie adaptation is that while the main story is told from Katniss' point of view, in the movie we get to see some things that are happening outside of Katniss' scope. Such as behind the scenes of how the games are run (Seneca Crane is seriously a diabolical Game Master), a bit more insight into President Snow and how the districts are reacting to the events in the games.
To me this was a pretty successful adaptation all in all, I mean I cried, I laughed and even got a good scare in! My boyfriend, for the most part picked up the plot quickly and really enjoyed the movie. Then afterwards he wouldn't stop asking questions about the series (at which point I just told him to read the series). I'd definitely watch it again and will be eagerly anticipating the sequel Catching Fire. Which, it looks like director Gary Ross will be participating in and is already getting some ideas: Hunger Games Sequel: Catching Fire
Also: Congrats to: