Frankly, this is one of those movie reviews where the space would be better filled by giving you my savory beef stew recipe than actually discussing the film. I mean, I could tell you that halfway through the movie, pigmies run in and jab the audience with pointy sticks. But if you’re going to see it, you’re going to see it. On the flip side, I could tell you that going to see this movie is like watching Pretty Woman, sitting next to George Clooney, while getting a foot massage, eating Champagne truffles on Prozac. But if you don’t want to see it, you’re not going to see it.
For the film’s length and complexity, the story is fairly easy to explain: Just take Les Mis, Lord of the Flies and A Clockwork Orange, and mash them into one movie. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are fresh off their Hunger Games win and completing their victory tour. In each district they visit, the two see the growing unrest, symbolized by a defiant salute. In her home district, Katniss finds her old friend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth), being publicly flogged. Meanwhile, the Machiavellian leader, President Snow (Donald Sutherland), has decided to nip revolution in the bud by declaring a special Hunger Games event where the competitors are selected from the pool of previous champions. The games are no longer child’s play.
I have very few complaints about this film. Jennifer Lawrence has repeatedly demonstrated that she can carry a film, and this one is no exception. The rest of the cast reads like the guest list to an Oscar party, and the performances live up to the hype—the weak link being Hutcherson, who seems to lack leading-man mettle. It’s an 8.