Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Summary: Panem is a futuristic nation built on the ashes of North America, divided into 12 districts and a Capitol. The Capitol serves as the ruling force over the districts. They assert their power by forcing the 12 districts to participate in an annual event called The Hunger Games. Each district is required to hold a lottery, called the Reaping, to select a girl and boy to represent them in the games as tributes. The games are then televised all over Panem, both to entertain the citizens of the Capitol and to intimidate the districts into submission.

When her 12-year-old sister Prim is selected to represent District 12, 16-year-old Katniss (Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. Katniss is sent to the Capitol along with the male tribute Peeta (Hutcherson) to face off against the other tributes. Back home Katniss’ best friend Gale (Hemsworth) can do nothing but watch as she is thrown into the arena and forced to fight for her life.

As far as adaptations go, The Hunger Games was done very well. I found myself getting pretty emotional as I saw Katniss on the big screen struggling to survive. The casting was done perfectly, with each actor embracing their role and making it their own. What’s great about this film is that you can enjoy it without having read the books. Of course I wish they would’ve focused more on the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, or that they had done some other things differently, but I understand that everything can’t make it in. In terms of the violence, I actually feel they toned it down a bit, which makes sense given that it needed to be PG-13 to reach its target audience.

Trivia: Both Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) are natural blondes whose characters have dark hair, while Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) has naturally dark hair which he had to lighten.

Rated: PG-13 – For intense violent thematic material & disturbing images - all involving teens

Grade: A