‘The Hunger Games’ lives up to high expectations

At first, I was a little reluctant to see the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games , fearing I would only go home disappointed and tired. But instead, I came out of the theater with a satisfied smile, and maybe even a little bit of an adrenaline rush. For those who haven’t read the incredibly popular novel by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games centers on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a 16-year-old girl living in District 12 of the dystopian society Panem. Every year, the Capitol selects two tributes, a boy and a girl, from each of the 12 districts to fight to the death in the Hunger Games. When Katniss’s sister is selected as a tribute, Katniss volunteers to take the place of her sister in the games alongside the other tribute from District 12, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). It’s not always an easy task to bring a much loved book like The Hunger Games to life, but director Gary Ross ( Pleasantville , Seabiscuit ), with some guidance from Collins, did an excellent job of keeping the integrity of the plot and making few sacrifices. The locations and characters are also faithful to the story; many readers of the series have said that the movie is just how they pictured it in their head. Even though the screenplay stays true to the book, the movie would be nothing if it wasn’t for the cast. Woody Harrelson provides some much needed comic relief as the drunken mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, and Elizabeth Banks is almost unrecognizable as the upbeat and somewhat snobby Effie Trinket. As much as I hate to admit it, I did shed a few tears during one of the many heart-wrenching moments in the movie. Along with the tragic moments are many tense scenes with the uncertain fates of beloved characters. Not surprisingly, The Hunger Games pulled in an estimated $152.5 million, the third-biggest opening weekend of all time. This is definitely one of the best movies that has been released this year and even if you haven’t read the book, you’ll still come out of the theater with a satisfied smile on your face. Overall rating: 9/10 Hannah McElroy is a staff writer for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.