Story : In the evil nation of Panem are some twelve odd districts. And there are some twelve 'tributes' competing against one another in the Hunger Games. So who will be the winner?
Movie Review: The expectations are pretty high on this one. No prizes for guessing why. The Hunger Games, the movie, is based on the bestselling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. Naturally then, like the book, the film raises some thought provoking questions often read between the lines all throughout its screenplay. Will the next World War be all about food? Are most of the government strategies all about playing big brother to the common man? Will the on-going crisis the world over -- Iraq, Syria, Somalia, to name some -- ever reach a fruitful conclusion? Are reality games tweaked to pump up TRP ratings? How much is too much when it comes to seeking all that audience support (votes) in a reality show? Will survival of the fittest be the only driving force in the world that lies ahead? Whatever it is, Greek mythology gets all contemporary (and topical) in here.
The annual Hunger Game event held in the ruined city of futuristic North America, now Panem (Rome anyone?), forces a teenage boy and girl from District 12 to compete in it along with similar pairs from other Districts. The games, of course, are a nationally televised event in which tributes must fight with one another until one survivor remains (the Roman gladiator games anyone?). One such tribute is none other than huntress Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) working sharply on her physical as well as mental skills to get the game bang on (the future Theseus of Greek mythology anyone?). Her aim is to return home - District 12 -- victorious, but before that it's a pick-and-choose game she needs to excel in: the may-you-win-against-all-odds game against her opponents and the game of love, courtesy Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
It's actually Jennifer's preparation for the big game that holds your attention as she pits against some highly-trained tributes who have prepared for these Games since time immemorial. That's another story, nothing seems to intimidate our PYT (Pretty Young Thing) -- not even her lack of confidence when it comes to getting people to like her. Watch her strike the apple for the first time she is all out to make an impression and ensure she is 'remembered' amongst those who matter. She scores a perfect eleven! And then there are more of Jennifer's expertise with the bow and arrow coupled with her moments of anger, desperation, will power and vulnerability. She successfully portrays just what every 16-year-old girl would want to be. A perfect ten, we say! Next is Stanley Tucci (as the talk show host), Donald Sutherland (as President of the evil nation. Wish we had more of him), Woody Harrelson's Haymitch (as the 24X7 drunk mentor and father figure) and Elizabeth Banks's Lady Gaga-inspired Effie Trinket who not just escorts tributes, but brings in ample comic relief.
For the rest, there are swords, bows and arrows, knives, deadly bees, dense forests, computerized beasts multiplied by the click of a mouse, tree climbing, balls of fire, fire fashion statements, do or die instincts, a (not-so-happening) romantic plot....