The Hunger Games is finally here! After months of waiting, we can finally experience the story on the big screen! But how good is the movie, according to the critics? Check out our review round-up below for the answer to that question, and be sure to leave your opinion in the comments!
Overall, the critics were generally positive about the movie. So far, it has a Metacritic score of 67 (Metacritic user rating of 7.4/10) (Generally favorable) and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 85% (Certified fresh).
New York Daily News
It's a true shot to the heart!
“The Hunger Games,” the highly anticipated movie based on the best-selling teen novel, is as tough-spirited as fans would hope for — and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.
It’s also a far more serious movie than the marketing, and mainstream mania, have led us to believe.
It’s better and scarier than its source book, and aims an angry eye at our bloodthirsty, watch-anything-and-cheer culture.
This Hunger Games is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed. It conveys both the miseries of the oppressed, represented by the poorly fed and clothed citizens of Panem's 12 suffering districts, and the rotted values of the oppressors, evident in the gaudy decadence of those who live in the Capitol. Best of all, the movie effectively showcases the allure of the story's remarkable, kick-ass 16-year-old heroine, Katniss Everdeen.
As action, as allegory, as cinema, The Hunger Games is the best American science-fiction film since "The Matrix," and if Ross and his crew stay with the series for the next two books, we may get that rarest of things: a blockbuster franchise that earns our money through craft, emotion and execution, not merely marketing and effects.
Rolling Stone Magazine
My advice is to keep your eyes on Lawrence, who turns the movie into a victory by presenting a heroine propelled by principle instead of hooking up with the cutest boy.
Los Angeles Times
Making a successful Hunger Games movie out of Suzanne Collins' novel required casting the best possible performer as Katniss, and in Jennifer Lawrence director Gary Ross and company have hit the bull's-eye, so to speak.
There's action here, too, and a great deal of vitality that feels true both to the spirit of Collins' book and to the idea of movie entertainment as it exists.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance.
Tampa Bay Times
Leaner than "Harry Potter's" adventures, meaner than the "Twilight" saga, The Hunger Games lives up to its source if not entirely the hype.
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Katniss is gritty, she's flinty, she's intimidating -- and she doesn't have to compromise one iota of her femininity for it. And Ross' movie tells her story wonderfully.
Time Out New York
Score: 80% If the movie had a lead actress more delicate or malleable than the strong-cheeked Lawrence-a Natalie Portman, say-it would tip over into sexy-girl-killer celebration; the same goes for Harrelson's salty mentor, who is never too supportive or paternal. Both performers lean into the economies of survival, certain of the savagery that lies ahead, and come up with sharp work.
What's remarkable is the lack of cheese. Tacky effects, corny dialogue and creaky performances are all shown the door. We repeat: not the new "Twilight".
The Hunger Games is that rarest of beasts: a Hollywood action blockbuster that is smart, taut and knotty. Ably filleted from the Suzanne Collins bestseller, it's a compelling, lightly satirical tale.
Thought it was okay
New York Times
A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission. The graver problem is a disengaged performance that rarely suggests the terrors Katniss faces, including the fatalism that originally hangs on her like a shroud. What finally saves the character and film both is the image of her on the run, moving relentlessly forward. Unlike those American Adams who have long embodied the national character with their reserves of hope, innocence and optimism, Katniss springs from someplace else, a place in which an American Eve, battered, bruised and deeply knowing, scrambles through a garden not of her making on her way to a new world.
New York Magazine
The audience at Monday’s packed preview of The Hunger Games came out juiced and happy, ready to spread the good word, while all I could think was, They’ve just seen a movie in which twenty-plus kids are murdered. Why aren’t they devastated? If the filmmakers had done their job with any courage, the audience would have been both juiced and devastated...
...The Hunger Games is likely to break box-office records, and I have no doubt the majority of its audience will like it and love (for good reason) Jennifer Lawrence. But where is the pervasive, lingering sense of loss? Where is the horror? Maybe the true horror is how easily the movie goes down.
The New Yorker
Jennifer Lawrence demonstrated a convincing strength as Ree, the Ozarks girl with a husky voice and pale-blue eyes in “Winter’s Bone.” In “The Hunger Games,” as Katniss—a more dynamic version of Ree—she has a lightly burnished copper complexion, and when she’s still, there’s something luminous, slightly otherworldly about her. Her gravity and her steady gaze make her a fine heroine. And I enjoyed nineteen-year-old Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, the other competitor from Katniss’s district, who adores her; he has a lost look, an engaging not-quite-handsomeness. In true young-adult-fiction style, Katniss has a second admirer—stalwart, gentle Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, who looks, in this movie, like a larger Taylor Lautner. Among the adults, Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks, wearing enormous wigs, camp it up as the rulers. Though the satiric point of making some of the plutocrats monsters out of an eighteenth-century farce eludes me, the actors try hard for vulgar panache, and they perform with professional skill. But the rest of “The Hunger Games” is pretty much a disaster—disjointed, muffled, and even, at times, boring.
The Wall Street Journal
In life it's usually feast or famine. In "The Hunger Games" it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful—and touchingly vulnerable—presence of Jennifer Lawrence as the 16-year-old heroine, Katniss Everdeen. That's a significant exception, but not a decisive one, since there's only so much this remarkable young star can do in the benumbing, big-budget surroundings. The first book of Suzanne Collins's prodigiously popular trilogy has been brought to the screen with a Jumbotron sensibility, a shaky camera to emphasize the action and a shakier grip on the subject's emotional core.
Now it's time for Wikians to review The Hunger Games. If you've already seen it, post your thoughts in the comments or post your own blog! Let us know what you thought while experiencing the games on the big screen!