The Hunger Games, rated PG-13
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Jack Quaid, Elizabeth Banks
Austin Family critical rating: 4 of 5 stars
Austin Family Family-Friendly rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
The Hunger Games, director Gary Ross’ adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ beloved young adult novel of the same name, is an immensely entertaining and successful movie that is even more remarkable when compared to the quality of other young adult novel adaptations, such as the Twilight movies. For Katniss Everdeen – the film’s tough heroine who, in a dystopian future, is called upon to compete against 23 rivals from other districts for a televised competition in which only one can survive – Ross cast the immensely talented Jennifer Lawrence, who, along with Carey Mulligan and Elizabeth Olsen, is one of the finest young actresses around. In fact, The Hunger Games succeeds in large part due to its great ensemble, which includes characteristically terrific work from Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland.
Because of the nature of the story and the source material, The Hunger Games has its share of violence and brutality, but Ross does a good job effectively depicting the violence while still safely remaining within the constraints of a PG-13 rating. Though perhaps slightly more brutal than the material in a Harry Potter film, The Hunger Games is no less appropriate than superhero movies like The Dark Knight or Spiderman. I hope the critical and financial success of this film encourages future young adult literature adaptations to aim for a high quality final product such as this one – and I include the sequels to The Hunger Games in that statement.
Jack Kyser is a graduate of Austin High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.