In the not-too distant dystopian future, people are hungry and starving. Not that you would know it from the healthily-proportioned Jennifer Lawrence who stars as Katniss in the tween sensation film The Hunger Games. Though I am a good 20 years outside the target audience, I found the fact that it is by far the most successful film of 2012 in turns disturbing and sad; this reflects the id of nation in which the only thing beyond “American Idol” is a reality TV show turned blood-sport.
Katniss hails from District 12, one of 12 districts comprising what is left in North America following a great war. I believe District 12 situates somewhere close to Dollywood. District 12 is a coal mining area where clothes from “Little House on the Prairie” are haute couture, and they are supposed to be starving. However, all the residents appear to be relatively robust from all the squirrels Katniss kills with her bow and arrow. She and a perpetually useless friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) get cast in the Hunger Games. In these games 24 children ruthlessly kill each other in a reality show, and this somehow stops the sinister government from doing… something. Speaking of the government, the Capitol looks like a righteous place to hang out. People all look like drag queens with day-glo hair and ’90s raver makeup. Forget District 12, the Capitol is obviously where the party is at.
Katniss gets sent to woods from The Blair Witch Project to kill her adversaries from presumably more sophisticated districts. Here she learns life-lessons about compassion, love and selling out. Speaking of selling out, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz both showed up for a paycheck, lending to the proceedings a certain A-List gloss. Joining them in the Capitol is Stanley Tucci whose role as the TV show host is at once both painful and genius. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any more camp than his role in The Devil Wears Prada, they stick him in a shiny suit and one of Katy Perry’s blue wigs and voila you have a reality show host from *AN EVIL FUTURE*. I promised myself I wouldn’t be too referential with this article, but this movie begs for it as it so obviously borrows from Running Man, Lord of the Flies, and Battle Royale.
Final Verdict: Three stars (out of five)
More watchable than Twilight (I didn’t make it through Twilight).