MOVIE REVIEW: Strong performances, story highlight ‘Hunger Games’

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

I hadn’t read the book, “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, but I was excited about seeing the movie.
I’m a science fiction fan from way back, and the movie’s trailer depicted a dystopian, futuristic world that felt real. I eagerly anticipated “The Hunger Games,” and wanted to see if the promise of the trailer was fulfilled.
The answer is yes. This is a good, action-packed movie that transports the viewer to a fictional place and time, where Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has to use all of her hard-learned skills to survive a deadly contest.
Every year, two children from each of Panem’s 12 districts are chosen to fight to the death. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) reigns over this macabre pageant as a way to display the government’s power.
Katniss’ fellow competitor from District 12 (Josh Hutcherson) doesn’t have her survivor’s instinct, and everybody knows it.
He also has a crush on Katniss, and everybody knows that, too, especially Katniss’ boyfriend, (Liam Hemsworth), who’s back home watching things unfold on a TV screen.
“The Hunger Games” is loaded with tense situations and strong performances.
Woody Harrelson easily slides into the role of a past winner of The Hunger Games from District 12. He’s a drunken wreck because he knows what it takes to survive the brutal, 24-person gauntlet.
Stanley Tucci gives just the right mix of glamour and banality to his role as a talk show host in a depraved society. Musician Lenny Kravitz plays a stylist who becomes something of a spiritual mentor for Katniss.
Again, I haven’t read “The Hunger Games,” but I can’t imagine an actress bringing more intensity to the role of Katniss than Lawrence. She shines in every scene without having to dominate it.
There are some negatives that I won’t share because they might give away too much information about the ending.
“The Hunger Games” is an action film, as well as a glimpse into a world most of us would never want to live in. I give it an A minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Kelli Karlson Wizard 106.7. She gives “The Hunger Games” a B plus. “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”