May the odds be ever in favor of The Hunger Games…the screen version. The Scholastic version has already beaten all the odds and Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy, has sold over 26 million copies in the United States alone. The same fan base responsible for these numbers is probably the same inspired movie going audience that sold out the entire weekend in ticket sales before the print even arrived at the theater. This, amigos, is a fan base that only a Presidential candidate can dream of. Also fear its wrath if you make any false moves.
With Harry Potter finally done and the Twilight franchise nearing its own twilight, the stakes are pretty high for what is already known as the next "big" franchise. All of which makes Director Gary Ross a pretty gutsy dude.
The Hunger Games is fairly loyal to its source and takes its time in telling the story of what happens every year in the ruins of what was once North America now known as the nation of Panem. The tyrannical Capitol makes each of its twelve districts send a boy and girl between the ages 12- 18, also known as Tributes, to compete or better still, kill each other until there is one sole survivor in a very twisted televised reality show called The Hunger Games. When President Snow is played by Donald Sutherland, you know you have much to fear. But the good news is...I guess, that much like in the X factor, the winner is set for life. Or at least that is what is advertised…
Ever the devoted sister and daughter, when Katniss Everdeen's (an inspiring Jennifer Lawrence) sister Primrose gets selected at the Reaping, Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place. She is soon joined by the district 12 boy tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), who as the baker's son seems hardly suited for these deadly games. Her soulmate Gale (Liam Hemsworth) can only watch from a distance.
Under the uneven stewardship of their unique mentor and former victor Haymitch (a sweet and sour Woody Harrelson) and with their multi-color hair escort Effie (Elizabeth Banks) they are immediately transported to the capitol where they are dined, wined, styled and celebrated while they train in a bootcamp for young killers to be.
These young killers (some miniature really…) are also styled to attract an audience. And style is not an issue here. Katniss' entrance into the arena as the girl in fire would have made Ben Hur proud, all thanks to Kat's visionary stylist and new friend, Cinna (a spot on Lenny Kravitz). Having grabbed the attention of the public and possibly some needed sponsors, Kat is now a darling of reality television. Perhaps the most surprising discovery in this process is the confession that the baker's son has secretly loved her since forever. A made for reality television Romeo and Juliet story takes over the hunger games…and keeping this fantasy alive can very well mean the difference between life and death at the arena.