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FILM FANS: Film Fans work up an appetite for 'Hunger Games'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "The Hunger Games." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

4 out of 4 Stars

"The Hunger Games" is set in a post-apocalyptic future of North America named Panem consisting of the Capitol and 12 districts, each producing a special commodity to sustain the Capitol. Yearly, one boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are chosen by lots and sent to compete in a live, televised death match called the Hunger Games.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 16-year-old who volunteers to take her 12-year-old sister's place. We follow her and her male counterpart Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) on their journey from poverty stricken District 12 to the lavish lifestyle of the Capitol and all of their brutal trials and tribulations in the arena of the games.

This movie should have been given an "R" rating due to the brutal violence to children by children. Even though the book it is based on is geared toward preteens and young adults, the graphic nature of the film deserves a stricter rating.

As an adult, I fully enjoyed the adaptation even with the minor changes from the book -- very exciting and an emotional roller coaster of feelings.

-- Gail Nunez-Blackshear,

Lawrenceville

3 1/2 out of 4 Stars

When talking about this movie, I must first start with the direction by Gary Ross who perfectly showcased the breadth of the districts, the Capitol and the Hunger Games field and made the audience truly feel like we were in the mind of Katniss Everdeen. And speaking of Katniss, no review can be complete without the mention of Jennifer Lawrence who continues to show with each and every role why she is one of our best young actresses.

Now, while it is a very good movie, there are certain elements that keep it from being a perfect movie. For starters, the movie takes a long time getting to the actual Hunger Games, which for a non-book fan causes the movie to drag. Second, it felt like they might have been laying on the faux "Twilight" relationship triangle on a little thick, especially as the relationship between Katniss and Peeta did feel quite fake, which admittedly it was at first. Finally, I must caution the younger viewers as there are some gruesome parts that occur when the games finally begin. This movie truly excels at setting up the trilogy.

-- Mark Weinstein,

Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 Stars

With the hype for this movie at an all-time high and the fact that I have not read the books, I was anxious to see "The Hunger Games." Although I was not disappointed, it didn't live up to the hype for me. It was entertaining, had excellent acting and an engaging story arc, but is definitely targeted to teens.

The film is set in a future post-apocalyptic country called Panem that has been separated into 12 districts. As a result of peace from the past war and uprising, each district must offer up a boy and girl in a ceremony called the reaping to fight to the death in a reality show arena. The show is televised for everyone to watch as the kids kill each other until only one remains.

The main character, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), volunteers to take the place of her scared little sister, Prim, after she is selected to compete. Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the male selection from her district, are taken to the Capitol to prepare for the games. Once in the Capitol, they are dressed up and paraded through the city like rock stars, in front of the rich citizens. They are trained with the other district tributes until they are finally taken to a forest arena to fight to the death.

The games are entertaining, exciting and intense at certain times, and even sad when some of the characters meet their end. The ending sets up the second film, "Catching Fire," that is coming out in 2013.

Overall, "The Hunger Games" is a good and enjoyable film, but not one that lives up to the hype as an excellent one. It will surely be a hit with the teens and young adults it was made for and entertaining for the older adults that see it with them.

-- Ken Gamble,

Lawrenceville