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'The Hunger Games' wins big at the box office

Film earns record numbers opening weekend, leaves fans hungry for next installment

By Emily Lake
On March 28, 2012

  • While Jennifer Lawrence (right) shows why she was once an Oscar nominee as Katniss Everdeen, Stanley Tucci steals the show as TV personality Caesar Flickerman. As Flickerman, Tucci can be shown narrating the action of the games, interacting with tributes and flashing a winning smile. Photo from imdb.com

 

While "The Hunger Games" revolves around underdog Katniss Everdeen's fight to overcome insurmountable odds, the movie emerged victor of the box office on its opening weekend. The film raked in a total of $153 million, making it the highest grossing total to date for a non-sequel. It was a fiscal triumph for a film that went to great lengths to stay true to its beloved source material.

While "The Hunger Games" movie does not quite live up to the high standard set by Suzanne Collins' novel, it comes close. One of the most astounding aspects of the film was the futuristic dystopia Collins described on paper brought to life on the big screen with spectacular vision and accuracy. The sets and costumes of "The Hunger Games" are precisely on point with the book and demonstrate the staunch difference between the grandiose Capitol and the impoverished districts with stunning visual clarity.

When dealing with a series as widely read as "The Hun­ger Games," casting is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects. Readers often have precise visions of their favorite characters and not meeting the fans' expectations could make the movie a flop. Fortunately, Jennifer Lawrence dominates in the lead role of Katniss, capturing the essence of the no-nonsense heroine with the power and conviction that the role demands. Josh Hutcherson, as Peeta, is every bit as charis­matic as his literary counterpart, and the adult cast, consisting of renowned actors such as Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Banks as well as more unconventional choices like Lenny Kravitz, embodied their roles perfectly, leaving little room for critique on that front.

The premise of the film - a fight to the death between adolescents- necessitates that the movie is going to be filled with action and violence. In light of this, director Gary Ross, known for more senti­mental films such as "Seabis­cuit" and "Pleasantville," was an unusual choice for this cut-throat movie. But Ross made the film as wildly exciting and action-packed as the book.

There is room for "The Hunger Games" sequels to improve in character devel­opment and romantic content, while retaining the violent and oppressive tone that the first film mastered.

The series' second install­ment, "Catching Fire" is al­ready slated to hit theaters in 2013.

Emily Lake can be reached at emily.lake@student.shu.edu.


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