‘The Hunger Games’: See, rent or skip?

Maxine Weiss Kunz is an associate attorney at Rosenfeld, Hafron, Shapiro & Farmer. Her practice is concentrated in family law. Kunz frequents the theater as a way to relieve stress and relax and writes for “Non-billable Hours” in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Feel free to provide her feedback at mwkunz@rhsflawfirm.com.

“The Hunger Games” stars Jennifer Lawrence and was released in theaters on March 23.  If you do not already know Lawrence from “Winter’s Bone” (2010), which donned her a best actress nomination, you should consider putting that film on your to-be rented list.  Lawrence co-stars with little-known Josh Hutcherson (“The Kids are All Right” (2010)). 

“The Hunger Games” is a trilogy and this film portrays the first book. The basic premise to this science fiction/thriller/romance is that a child from each of 12 districts must compete to the death against other “tributes.” Lawrence plays Katniss, a young girl from the poorest of the districts who volunteers for the role when her baby sister’s name is drawn in the town lottery. Hutcherson’s character is both her rival tribute and her romantic interest. The tug-of-war between the two characters is intriguing, although the film does not adequately portray the history between the two. Set in the future, some of the electronic toys and costumes are mesmerizing. And Katniss is quite good with the bow and arrow, which provides the film with a warm Robin Hood feel at times. 

However, as a whole the film is dark and rightfully so. One issue this viewer had with the film is that you clearly had to have read the book to enjoy, or at least fully understand, the movie. If you choose to see the film with somebody that has not read the book, get ready to do some explaining afterwards; if you have never read the book and wish to see the film, read the Cliff Notes on the book first. It is especially confusing at the end, when the film leaves you hanging without resolution. Already known to a reader familiar with the trilogy, the abrupt cliffhanger ending will likely confuse and annoy a non-fan. 

All of this aside, the film does a decent job making the book into a film.  The best supporting actor certainly goes to Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones” (2009)), always a breath of fresh air, who brings the film to life more than any other character. Also, Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger” (2009)) and Lenny Kravitz will make you smile during their time on air. 

Bottom line: See it? Rent it? Skip it? Unless you have read the book(s), in which case you will undoubtedly see the movie regardless of any yay or nay review, this viewer says, SKIP IT…

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