The Hunger Games

 

Lionsgate

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens.

 

Plot Summary: In a futuristic society where twenty-four teens are annually chosen to fight to the death, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister's place in the 74th games.

 

PopFam Recommends: An action-packed adventure for parents and teens alike - enjoy it together!

 

When I first heard the book, The Hunger Games was being made into a movie, I was nervously excited. Hopeful it would be given the same treatment as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but nervous it would turn out like Twilight (sorry to all you Edward lovers, but let's be honest. The books are so much better than the movies). Thankfully, my hopeful expectations were met.

 

If you're not familiar with the books, The Hunger Games begins in the future, where 12 Districts and the Capital make up the nation of Panam. Due to an uprising at least 75 years prior, each year a girl and a boy from each district, between the ages of 12 and 18, are chosen to fight in The Hunger Games, an event which is televised throughout Panam. The word "game" makes it sounds like a fun reality show, when really it's a gruesome slaughter where one person lives and the other twenty three die from violence, exposure, or dehydration.

 

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a teen from District 12 who can often be found illegally hunting for food with her best friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), in the forest outside District 12. Unfortunately, on the day of the "reaping" her younger sister, Prim (Willow Shields), is chosen as the year's female tribute to represent their district. Knowing that Prim would never survive, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the Games. Also chosen is Peeta Malark (Josh Hutcherson), a baker's son Katniss has seen around the district.

 

Shortly after being chosen, Katniss and Peeta board a train and travel with their mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) to the Capital where they are waxed, washed, groomed and trained for the Hunger Games. It is here where they are introduced to the tributes from the other eleven districts and begin to see what they are up against; some tributes have been trained well for this event, while others are completely unprepared.

 

And then The Hunger Games begin, and Katniss must use every bit of wit and skill she possesses to out-think and outplay not only the other tributes, but the Gamemakers as well, in order to survive.

 

Suzanne Collins, who wrote the Hunger Games books, and her fellow screenwriters did an first-rate job of translating the story of Katniss and Peeta into a movie format. The characters are just as complex and the plot as intricate as that of the book. Even my husband, who hasn't read the books, was able to pick up on small details like the relationship between Katniss and Gale, and her intentional actions toward Peeta. Yet with all the detail, the movie moves along at a perfect pace, never feeling too slow or tedious.

 

As for casting, Jennifer Lawrence played a strong Katniss Everdeen, and the rest of the cast (which also includes Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Sutherland) are outstanding as well. It seems this is a movie everyone wanted to be a part of. And why not? It's a wildly popular book with teens and young adults. If you have a teen, they have most likely read the book themselves. Use this movie as a bridge to conversation and time spent doing something they enjoy.

 

And, as everyone in the Capital likes to say, "May the odds ever be in your favor."

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Katniss survived by using her hunting skills. Peeta used his cake decorating skills to camouflage himself. Rue stayed in the trees, and Foxface followed others, using what they left behind. What skills would you use to survive if placed in such a terrible situation?

 

• What does the movie have to say about the benefits of friendship? If you were in a tight spot, which friend would you want by your side?

 

• Peeta was afraid of losing himself in the games, making choices and taking actions that contradicted who he was. Being a Christian can be like that. When have you had to make a choice or take an action that might contradict your beliefs as a Christian?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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