The Hunger Games

Katniss and Peeta gearing up for the 'Games'

The premise seemed a little freaky: a young adult novel about teens killing each other, but the controversial story set the world ablaze. Suzanne Collins penned this novel detailing a dystopian future in which, in order to assert its ultimate authority and discourage rebellion, the global government,  simply called the Capitol, randomly selects 24 adolescents to participate in a televised battle in which only one person may emerge alive. The movie further spreads the flame, and does not stray from the raw brutality of the book.

Jennifer Lawrence again plays the role of protector, which she held so skillfully in Winter’s Bone, the Oscar-nominated film that ignited her career. Here, she is Katniss, a commoner, a care-giver to her considerably weak sister and mother, and comparable to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth in fierceness. When Katniss’ baby sister, the saucer-eyed, angelic-faced Primrose (Willow Shields) is chosen for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. In doing so, she leaves behind her loyal and undeniably handsome best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and journeys to the strange and extravagant land of the Capitol where she must prepare to enter the Games. To make matters even more unfortunate, one of her competitors is the warm-hearted Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a boy from Katniss’ district (Hunger Games lingo for state) who once saved her from starvation.

Before the Games begin, we are introduced to an array of interesting characters. Elizabeth Banks, nearly unrecognizable in eccentric Capitol garb, is delightful as the shallow, eerily upbeat Effie Trinket, who represents Katniss and Peeta’s district and to whom the Hunger Games really is just a game. Stanley Tucci is similarly delightful as the bizarrely lovable Caesar Flickerman, a Capitol talk show host covering the Games. Caesar is like a male, blue-haired Ellen DeGeneres, adding an element of fun into a very dark film.

But the fun subsides when the Games begin and the audience is treated to an eyeful of frenzied teens attacking each other to save themselves. Despite its PG-13 rating, The Hunger Games movie does not shy away from violence. Still, this violence is not needlessly glorified. This is certainly not a slasher flick out to shock you with excessive blood and guts.
Shaky cinematography during action sequences successfully conveys the Katniss’ fear. Collins’ best-selling book had the advantage of constant narration of Katniss’ inner monologue, but in the movie, where the heroine’s silence is necessary to her survival, Lawrence must capture all these complex emotions and thoughts solely through facial expression. As she is a talented actress, she pulls it off. The movie also differs from the beloved book by occasionally divulging from Katniss’ perspective. Some motives that were kept a mystery until the sequel are seamlessly slipped in. This alteration may anger fans looking for a word for word adaption, but the majority of the book’s fanbase should be satisfied. The filmmakers may not have stayed entirely true to Collins’ first novel, but they are true to the vivid world Collins crafted. Fan or not, The Hunger Games is a powerful story that’s made an unusually smooth transition from page to screen, and is guaranteed not to disappoint.
—Karina Stow

Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games

Sure with the hottest artist including Taylor Swift, Kid Cudi, Maroon 5 and Miranda Lambert, The Hunger Games Soundtrack (now in stores) doesn’t need our help putting together a list of awesoME songs. But hey, if they asked, here are the songs we’d add to Katniss, Peeta and Gale’s playlist.

The Peeta + Katniss & Gale + Katniss Love Song:“We Found Love” by Rihanna
Whether they kindled loved within District 12 or within the arena, both seem rather hopeless. Peeta and Gale can surely relate to this Rihanna dance hit!

Peeta’s Song: “Grenade” by Bruno Mars

Peeta, we feel your pain, so does Bruno! So when you question Katniss’s feelings for you, hang on and listen to this ballad.

Katniss’s Song: “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

SPOILER ALERT: Katniss is surely a survivor, so are the people of people of the districts. We can’t help but hear this soaring victory song when we read of the perils Katniss faces!
Add your Hunger Games playlist in our comments section below and you could win The Hunger Games Soundtrack!
—Ashlyee Hickman

*Bonus* A song from the actual soundtrack “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars

Jennifer Lawrence starring in "The Hunger Games"

Move over, Bella, Katniss will race to the silver screen starting March 23, 2012. For those not familiar with the series, “The Hunger Games” tells the story of a country built after the destruction of the United States. The capitol, Panem, forces a male and female teen to represent their district and fight to the death— 24 go in. Only one survives. Taking the place of her sister, Primrose, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) goes to battle in what is then known as the Hunger Games. Before your next favorite heroine hits theaters, here are 10 things to know about the amazing Jennifer Lawrence.

  1. Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss are from the same state. Kind of. The novel is set in the area we know as Appalachia, Lawrence was not far from it, living in Kentucky.
  2. Lawrence was discovered at 14, after delivering what has been called one of the best cold reads some agents have heard. Immediately, they tried to convince her mother to spend the summer in Manhattan. She was then discovered that same day by another agent while modeling for an H&M advertisement; her mom was then again convinced to let her stay in Manhattan over the summer.
  3. Jennifer Lawrence has worked with famous names such as Mel Gibson and Jodi Foster.
  4. In the film where she worked with Foster, called “The Beaver,” Jennifer Lawrence learned how to skin squirrels, chop wood and fight.
  5. She has also played roles in films that were presented at the Sundance Film Festival. Her most acclaimed were “The Winter’s Bone” and “Like Crazy.”
  6. Her role in “The Winter’s Bone” got her an Oscar nomination and invitation to join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  7. This camelion might look familiar;  she played Mystique in “X-Men First Class.”
  8. In order to start her career with a greater force, Jennifer Lawrence got her high school diploma two years early.
  9. When she is not in front of a camera, Jennifer Lawrence plays the guitar.
  10. Jennifer Lawrence claims to have never taken an acting class in her life or to have ever joined a drama club, but she acts based on what feels natural to her.

With these fun facts and more as the movie comes closer to a release, you are now more than prepared to see “The Hunger Games”  when it comes to theaters! Do you think it’s going to beat the Twilight series? Let ME know in the comments section.
—Marisa Hezekiah

Photo by Murray Close