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'Hunger Games' - Read a Review Before You Go

The movie opens at midnight at both AMC theaters in Lawrenceville.

Movie fans who haven't yet purchased tickets for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games will have to wait for the BigD experience — but there are still tickets available for the regular showing.

Click here to see show times at and .

Barrow Patch Editor Deanna Allen got a sneak peek of the film during a screening Monday and offers a review. 

Taking a story from page to screen apparently isn’t easy — even when the author is on board co-writing the screenplay.

But the latest young adult book-to-film adaptation set to make its debut on movie screens across the country still delivers — The Hunger Games brings enough of Suzanne Collins’ original storyline to the screen to satisfy fans of the series in a film that will bring those new to the games up to speed.

Here’s the premise: In the futuristic nation of Panem, there is a drastic contrast between the lives of residents living in the Capitol, the hub of government, and those living in the 12 districts that keep the Capitol supplied with food, luxury items, electronics, lumber, textiles and coal — some of the districts are poorer and more bleak than others. As punishment for previous rebellion, every year the Capitol selects a boy and a girl from each of those districts to engage in a fight to the death.

That’s right. It’s a pretty dark scenario — children being forced to train alongside one another before entering an arena where all but one will die as their families, friends and neighbors watch on their television screens at home. It’s perhaps the ultimate reality TV show.

The film — and book — follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), who volunteers for the annual games in place of her younger sister, Prim. A skilled hunter with a bow and arrow, Katniss enters the arena — a highly-controlled landscape where the 24 tributes try to survive not only each other, but dangers created by the head gamemaker tasked with ensuring an exciting show.

Katniss is joined in the Hunger Games by fellow tribute and District 12 resident Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson, leaving longtime friend Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, back home in District 12. Yes, for those of you who haven’t yet read the series, this sets up a love triangle that will play out in subsequent films.

So now moviegoers have romance, action, drama and a strong but sensitive protagonist to root for — a combination that makes The Hunger Games shine much more brightly than another young adult book-to-movie series adaptation, The Twilight Saga

Also of mention are the remaining cast members — Woody Harrelson as the former games victor turned drunken mentor Haymitch; Stanley Tucci as the colorful games announcer Caesar Flickermam; Donald Sutherland as the controlling and sinister President Snow; and Elizabeth Banks as Katniss' and Peeta's ever-polite escort Effie Trinket. 

My only complaint while watching The Hunger Games unfold on screen: The special and visual effects left much to be desired. The futuristic, sci-fi story Suzanne Collins created doesn’t transfer from page to screen as well as it could, as some of the visual effects in particular seem amateurish and almost B-movie grade. The girl on fire doesn’t glow quite as brightly because of this — one aspect of the story that I was most excited to see on screen.

Special effects aside, the movie is a must-see for fans of the books and a good bet for teens and fans of young adult literature. Engaging and thought-provoking — if you take time to consider the movie’s themes — The Hunger Games will only leave you hungry for the next installment.

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