Sunday, April 01, 2012

Favorable odds, destructive appetite

Savagery and media manipulation take center stage in the hit dystopian drama-actioner “The Hunger Games,” the title referring to an annual competition where young “tributes” fight each other to the death.

Benefiting immensely from a capable cast, the film is based on the successful series of books by Suzanne Collins. Brave and unassuming Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and longtime admirer Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) represent District 12, pitted against other young rivals who have no compunctions with killing their fellow competitors.

New film heroine Katniss has a timeless appeal; it’s assured that you’ll root for her early on. She proves her selflessness by replacing her younger sister and “sacrificing” herself during the selection process. Faced with imminent death and hesitant at playing along to satiate the masses’ (and the organizers’) thirst for blood, she nevertheless manages to display her humanity and defiance during the televised survival match.

It’s a safe bet that “Hunger Games” sequels will just be as well-received. Some violent situations may be too disturbing for much younger viewers, and even some adults. It’s a mite long, but it mostly does a good job of introducing a world where questionable “entertainment” is being used to distract and subjugate its denizens. It also introduces some appealing new heroes, rare figures in such a horribly twisted system. 

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