Critic Reviews



Based on 49 critic reviews provided by
As tough-spirited as fans would hope for - and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.
A muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed.
Boxoffice Magazine
As action, as allegory, as cinema, The Hunger Games is the best American science-fiction film since "The Matrix," and if Ross and his crew stay with the series for the next two books, we may get that rarest of things: a blockbuster franchise that earns our money through craft, emotion and execution, not merely marketing and effects.
My advice is to keep your eyes on Lawrence, who turns the movie into a victory by presenting a heroine propelled by principle instead of hooking up with the cutest boy.
A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance.
There's action here, too, and a great deal of vitality that feels true both to the spirit of Collins' book and to the idea of movie entertainment as it exists.
Making a successful Hunger Games movie out of Suzanne Collins' novel required casting the best possible performer as Katniss, and in Jennifer Lawrence director Gary Ross and company have hit the bull's-eye, so to speak.
What's remarkable is the lack of cheese. Tacky effects, corny dialogue and creaky performances are all shown the door. We repeat: not the new "Twilight".
The Hunger Games is that rarest of beasts: a Hollywood action blockbuster that is smart, taut and knotty. Ably filleted from the Suzanne Collins bestseller, it's a compelling, lightly satirical tale.
As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all.
If the movie had a lead actress more delicate or malleable than the strong-cheeked Lawrence-a Natalie Portman, say-it would tip over into sexy-girl-killer celebration; the same goes for Harrelson's salty mentor, who is never too supportive or paternal. Both performers lean into the economies of survival, certain of the savagery that lies ahead, and come up with sharp work.
This is better than any of the "Twilights." It features a functioning creative imagination and lots of honest-to-goodness acting by its star, Jennifer Lawrence.
The action is brisk, the acting is solid, and barring an unlikely failure at the box office, a franchise is born. Let the games begin.
The Hunger Games' pacing is brisk, its stakes as high as stakes get, and its leading lady engaging enough that the odds - at the box office at least - will be ever in its favor.
The Hunger Games is more notable for the holes it doesn't fall into than the great heights it reaches.
As she did in her breakthrough film Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence anchors this futuristic and politicized elaboration of The Most Dangerous Game with impressive gravity and presence, while director Gary Ross gets enough of what matters in the book up on the screen to satisfy its legions of fans worldwide.
Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes The Hunger Games ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn't elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen.
It also smells very much like a movie with money on its mind - not altogether successfully balancing its loftier ideas with a sense of superficial whimsy and Vegas-meets-Wizard of Oz production design.
A watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own. Any real sense of risk has been carefully ironed out: The PG-13 rating that ensures the film's suitability for its target audience also blunts the impact of the teen-on-teen bloodshed.
In The Hunger Games it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful - and touchingly vulnerable - presence of Jennifer Lawrence.

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