From the moment the film opens up on the land of Panem and zooms in on the poor landscape of District 12, you can't help but be sucked into the world of The Hunger Games.
The movie, directed by Gary Ross, tells the tale of the 74th Annual Hunger Games, where we are now living in a post-apocalyptic world and North America is made up of 12 districts that are ruled by the Capitol and its president (Donald Sutherland). After a war where the districts rebelled against the rulers, every year, each of the districts must choose one boy and one girl ages 12-18 to be sent into an arena to battle to the death.
When the casting for the film was first announced, fans of the best-selling book series by Suzanne Collins were baffled by the decision to cast Jennifer Lawrence. She was blonde! She was too old to play a 16-year-old! But put all of that aside. The Oscar-nominee for Winter's Bone couldn't have been cast more perfectly.
From the moment Jennifer first appears onscreen as Katniss Everdeen, she is that girl. And the deep friendship she shares with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is apparent as soon as we see them hunting together in the off-limits woods, with Gale wondering if they should just run away. Liam, a native of Australia, showing off his attempt at an American accent, didn't go unnoticed.
But before long, they must prepare for The Reaping, where the tributes in the games will be chosen. She comforts sister Prim to not worry and shuns her mother for not being there for them when their father was killed in the coal mines, but it isn't long before Prim's name is called and Katniss offers herself up as a volunteer to replace her sister. The emotion felt between the sisters just rips at your heart. And before long, the boy tribute is picked: Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). He is the baker's son who Katniss will soon remember as a boy who gave her burnt bread when she was starving. But now they must fight each other to the death. Josh portrayed the quiet intensity of a boy who felt he couldn't compete with Katniss' amazing archery skills. But it was amazing to see just how much his strength and cake-decorating skills really would come in handy inside the arena.
With an instant friend in her stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and her always-drunk mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) giving her all the advice that they can, could Katniss really have a fighting chance to win this thing?
Once in the arena, the action, the fear, the tender moments between Katniss and Peeta, none of it disappoints. Will fans think it is true to the book? Beyond yes! There were times while watching The Hunger Games that we actually felt like we had the book right in front of us and we were reading along.
Plus, all the moments that weren't in the book fit in so perfectly that it didn't bother us at all. And about those comparisons to The Twilight Saga? There is no comparison at all. The Hunger Games is so completely different and in a totally different world from the world of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's Edward and Bella Swan. We could see some award nominations definitely coming its way! But will you be on Team Gale or Team Peeta?
The Hunger Games lives up to every expectation. Now we can't wait to see Catching Fire! Sadly, we have to wait until November 2013!
Are you excited to see the movie?