SAVAGE SPORT: In a dystopian world, archer-heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) exhibits a spark of humanity.PHOTO BY MURRAY CLOSE © 2012 LIONSGATE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Hunger Games

Directed by Gary Ross

The Hunger Games, Gary Ross’s film version of the first novel in Suzanne Collins’s young adult sci-fi trilogy, is a predictable hit after the biggest opening weekend since ancient Rome staged gladiatorial combats. But that doesn’t mean it’s any good.

The story is set in Panem, a totalitarian society in a postapocalyptic North America. All the power is in the Capitol, which controls 12 outlying districts identified only by numbers. Nearly a century earlier the Capitol had to put down a rebellion; ever since, in recognition of the districts’ fealty, each sends two adolescent “tributes”—one boy and one girl, chosen by lottery—to compete in the annual Hunger Games. This is a nationally televised event in which the single teen who survives the natural obstacles of the wild, the challenges artificially generated by the management of the games and the aggression of his or her competitors is proclaimed the victor.

 

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