This is one of those movies like a Harry Potter or a Twilight installment that really doesn’t need to be reviewed. Everybody is going to see it regardless. On a positive note, this film really earns its massive box office returns. On a side note, I haven’t read the book, so if I make a wrong assumption I apologize.

The film never specifies if this is the future or a parallel universe. Whatever the time or place, civilization is quite different. After some sort of failed revolution, citizens were divided into 12, mostly poverty-stricken districts with all the wealth and power of the society located in the capital. Every year as a show of power/punishment, the powers that be choose two children from each district to compete in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death with the last child standing crowned the winner.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take the place of her unskilled little sister as the female representative from her district. Her selfless act instantly curries favor with the audience, and popularity is a factor in success. She joins her fellow district representative, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), as they fight for their lives. Katniss also befriends the adorable Rue (Amandla Stenberg), a seemingly helpless youngster with more skill than one would think.

If you can get past the initial premise—I can’t think of any civilization on Earth that sacrificed children for non-religious reasons—the film is gripping. It takes a while to get off the ground as they are setting up the story for the entire trilogy, but other than that, this movie is a well-acted, visually stunning film.

It's an 8.