Pertinent to the times, the year's first blockbuster is a grand, beautiful film.
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
This Hunger Games is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross's soft touch and Ms. Lawrence's bland performance.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Like the select participants of its savage sport, The Hunger Games stands triumphant, if scarred and a bit wobbly from the contest.
Scott Bowles - USA Today
If the series's legions of fans miss a detail here or a sub-plot there, they'll still recognize its bones and sinew, especially in Jennifer Lawrence's eagle-eyed heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Like the book, "The Hunger Games'' doesn't end so much as open the door to the next installment; it's frustrating, but you'll probably feel you've gotten your money's worth.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Like the pacing of the novel, the film, even at almost two and a half hours, moves briskly, continuously drawing us in.
Melissa Anderson - Village Voice
As tough-spirited as fans would hope for - and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
The first book of Suzanne Collins's prodigiously popular trilogy has been brought to the screen with a Jumbotron sensibility, a shaky camera to emphasize the action and a shakier grip on the subject's emotional core.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Ross moves between action and human drama with nimble awareness of the weight of the issues coursing through the story of fascism, propaganda, and, yes, adolescence under the weight of the world.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
ADD auds won't mind that there's no time to get to know anybody, or watch a relationship unfold, or ride the dramatic rise and swell of a compelling narrative.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
Even when two people are just talking calmly, Ross jerks the camera around. Why? As the sense of danger increases, he has nothing to build toward.
David Denby - New Yorker
The Hunger Games is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The games have begun, and so far they're pretty gripping.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Director Gary Ross generally avoids the elaborate exterior shots and special effects that dominate high-concept blockbusters.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
[It] smells very much like a movie with money on its mind - not altogether successfully balancing its loftier ideas with a sense of superficial whimsy and Vegas-meets-Wizard of Oz production design.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Viewers who like a side order of political allegory with their science fiction will find much to savor here. So will romantics, fans of feminist heroines and action enthusiasts. "The Hunger Games" is that rare creation, an event movie of real significance
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Efficient if not electric, "The Hunger Games" is still epic in intent.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes "The Hunger Games" ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn't elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
This futuristic tale of teenage violence is so not my kind of movie that I approached it grudgingly, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being totally exhilarated and enjoying it immensely.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
What viewers are left with is a watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own.
Justin Chang - Variety
"The Hunger Games" may be derivative, but it is engrossing and at times exciting.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
[It] arrives in theatres ... not only intact, but in command of the essentials of storytelling and characterization. The film deserves the massive success it will surely enjoy.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Measured against its downright subversive subtext, you have to come away impressed by the level of achievement.
Laremy Legel - Film.com
A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
"The Hunger Games" never really holds together or makes any sense, except as an elementary fairy tale about a young girl's coming of age and an incipient romantic triangle (which is the focus of the film, far more than the book).
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Director Gary Ross' adaptation, co-scripted by Collins herself, isn't quite as crackingly paced as the novel, but it will more than satisfy existing fans of the trilogy and likely create many new ones.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Fans will be delighted. Non-fans should give this movie a chance.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Hunger Games has such a strong narrative structure, built-in forward movement and compelling central character that it can't go far wrong.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
"The Hunger Games" runs nearly two and a half hours in length but is the rare film that never drags and doesn't overstay its welcome. It could keep running as long as Katniss does, and we'd want to be right there every heart-pounding step of the way.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
The Hunger Games has epic spectacle, yearning romance, suspense that won't quit and a shining star in Jennifer Lawrence.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Well-paced, well-directed and extremely well acted entertainment.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
If, as the ads suggest, the whole world will be watching this, viewers will likely be satisfied with what they see.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
A refreshingly gritty and adventurous affair that packs plenty of thematic depth, it doesn't let the ambitious source material down.
Has all the technical ingredients of a great (and even important) film, but sideswipes them in order to leave the audience feeling like that they have been abandoned in the wilderness of extreme cruelty.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
Though not at all innovative or original, is at least a worthwhile action fantasy.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Director Gary Ross does a great job in bringing the thrilling novel to life in this uncompromising drama.
John Hanlon - John Hanlon Reviews
The movie is oddly blithe about its central premise. How can this movie set up this monstrous society and this brutal game of genocide and expect us to not only cheer for someone to "win," but also hope she finds someone to kiss in the end?
Will Leitch - Deadspin
The film shows precious little hunger and no sense of game.
David Thomson - The New Republic
Lawrence makes Katniss a heroine every bit as strong, fearless and compelling as the patron saint of badass females, Lisbeth Salander.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
The filmmakers' devotion to Collins' page-turner will please the book's fans and anyone who likes action, sci-fi, social commentary or a female protagonist with smarts, compassion and survival skills.
Carla Meyer - Sacramento Bee
An exhilarating debut from the bestselling series about teenagers engaged in a deadly bloodsport.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
Given the recent failure of so many big-budget films, the odds weren't in The Hunger Games favor, either. Thankfully, Hollywood got this one right.
Kirk Baird - Toledo Blade
The supporting cast is excellent (most notably Stanley Tucci as flamboyant television host Caesar Flickerman, and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss and Peeta's troubled mentor).
Tracie Cooper - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Some plot threads are underserved but The Hunger Games is a fascinating and disturbing character drama that successfully captures the core themes of the book.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
Sure this entry is a ripoff of "Battle Royale," but it's still an entertaining ride with great casting that will more than likely please fans of the book and those who've never even heard of it.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Despite a few minor problems, The Hunger Games proves to be a promising start to what will no doubt become the next beloved Hollywood mega-series.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
While the 12A rating renders any serious violence a tad impotent, there is much more going on here than the fawning and frowning of its soppy vampire peer.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
A retread of a tale that's The Running Man meets Lord of the Flies with a dash of Twilight for tween-adoring measure.
Erick Weber - NECN
I never thought I'd describe a film by Pleasantville and Seabiscuit director Gary Ross as 'whackadoodle,' but if the shoe fits.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
The Hunger Games may be a flawed beast, to be sure, but there's plenty of subtext to glean from the narrative, and a slew of wonderfully rich characters worth investing in.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
While a great ride of a movie, it is also one wrapped around an oddly disquieting message.
Richard Knight - Knight at the Movies
The first genuine can't miss film of the year that you'll want to go back to the theater to see over and over again.
Jeffrey Lyles - Lyles' Movie Files
Katniss embodies all that's better than her Hunger Games opponents, being aptly appalled at what she sees while also learning to manipulate her audience.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
The Hunger Games stomps the Twilight saga flat, and though I found those films somewhat amusing, this one is the real deal...
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
... Does a more-than-adequate job of introducing a future world and characters I won't mind revisiting. And it gives you a little to think about while you're waiting.
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
A blockbuster that has something to say about the world we could be living in. Unlike Twilight, this film actually has a deeper and more important philosophical meaning.
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
The phenomenal cast with great chemistry and sincere authentic performances from the older actors empowers the material.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
Here's the movie for which millions of fans have been starving.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
If 'The Hunger Games' represents the latest book-turned-film blockbuster franchise built on the backs of fanatical adolescents then this is progress indeed.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
For those unacquainted with the novel, it's a narratively unsatisfying - not to mention visually static - affair, regardless of how much Jennifer Lawrence holds her own.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
What works on the page may not translate to the screen. That's always been the challenge of bringing a writer's vision to the movies. It all comes back to "suspension of disbelief."
Paul Chambers - CNNRadio
Whatever rough patches and shortcomings this first film has, that by the end I was indeed interested in seeing what happens next speaks to how Ross got it mostly right.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
If you've never read Collins' novels, the odds that you'll enjoy the film are not in your favor.
Matt Singer - ScreenCrush
This movie rules.
Dominic Corry - Flicks.co.nz
If the setup behind 'The Hunger Games' upsets you, that's a good thing.
Dan Lybarger - KC Active
Lawrence is a strong role model for young girls with her character's sacrifice, courage, moral grounding in a world that's lost its own, and will to fight for what's right, even if it means sacrificing her own life or sparking a revolution.
Neil Pond - American Profile
I didn't read the book. While the film is entertaining enough, I never felt drawn in to this new world.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
An entertaining adventure, but while director Gary Ross gets terrific performances from Tucci, Banks, Harrelson, and Lawrence, he drags it out far longer than the story requires.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
Lawrence is terrific in the lead role and gives us someone to root for to survive this horrible ordeal. The supporting players carve out memorable characters. The musical score, costumes and makeup are the other strengths.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
I found the sardonic satire of the movie's first half in the Capitol (a city that suggests a meeting of L. Frank Baum and Albert Speer) more intriguing than the insufficiently suspenseful depiction of the Hunger Games competition itself...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Lawrence proved her ability to carry a character's heavy burden in Winter's Bone. As Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who is both physically and morally strong, she has gravitas, rarely breaking into a smile, but reveals no sign of self-seriousness.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Smarter and tougher than Twilight - and with a heroine who couldn't be further removed from drooping, love-struck Bella Swann.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Solid enough, but for a non-fan fairly unremarkable.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
A cheap looking, drab film.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
a triumph of restraint - but had the film been more visceral and less sanitised it might have better implicated viewers in the voyeuristic bloodlust of its entertainment
Anton Bitel - Sight and Sound
It is better than any of the Twilight movies, which isn't saying much, but it isn't bad. It is just barely O.K. and it badly needed more Steadicams.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
The battle that informs this adaptation is between the filmmakers' intent to create a moneymaking franchise... and the efforts of star Jennifer Lawrence to create a compelling movie.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
It has the slightly grubby, cobbled-together look of a futuristic flick from the '70s, but that is part of its charm.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
Jennifer Lawrence brings to the pulpy material a sense of weight and gravity that few young actresses could muster; she has a flinty strength that enhances, rather than belies, her soft features, and it makes Katniss a completely believable protagonist.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
The movie on its own terms is an entirely likable thriller, if a bit light on intelligence and personality.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Jennifer Lawrence's shining talent makes it all come together.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
The film is aided immeasurably by Judianna Makovsky's costume design. Clothes are an intentional method of deciphering The Hunger Games' politics.
Chris Laverty - Clothes on Film
This tension-filled action-adventure delivers a pulse-pounding, pop culture message of female empowerment.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
The Hunger Games is much more than a game. It is a memorable human experience. Thank the gods for the wonder of literature and the vision of movies. Some of us still hunger for eloquence on the screen.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Comparisons have been made to Battle Royale - and they're not entirely undeserved - but this is a different film, and never feels like a watered down version of anything else.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
As if it were a survival reality TV show with a real pulse.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Finally we have a female lead character who is strong without being brutal, appealing without being objectified, and confident without being female-chauvinistic.
Tim Martain - The Mercury
While the ending is a bit of a mess, the rest isn't terrible (and nobody sparkles in the sunlight).
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Gary Ross' first foray into action filmmaking is occasionally hampered by wobbly camera-work, but is successful in the way it communicates the horror of violence without threatening the teen-friendly rating.
Tom Clift - Moviedex
For those who have not read the book, this film is a movie without a cause.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Lawrence lends Katniss the kind of gravitas that, initially at least, makes the film's bleak vision of the future seem credible.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Does it really matter that this is not an entirely new idea? Nope.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotland on Sunday
It's far too long and much inferior to the ferocious Japanese Battle Royale.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
The Hunger Games features names that are like color palette rejects at the Dior counter.
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Pulls its punches, content to be a glossy entertainment.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
It is when the games begin that the potential and mythical quality of the characters is effectively conveyed despite a nagging feeling that Ross is holding back.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
There's not a shred of cynicism anywhere in it.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
The positives to The Hunger Games are largely thanks to Lawrence in the lead.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
Any gripes that I have with it stem from the fact that it couldn't be four hours long and that it can't be in first person like the books.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
People regularly complain that films can't be both entertaining and clever. The Hunger Games exists to prove them wrong. Please go and see it.
Michelle Thomas - Future Movies UK
Maintains the novel's romance to satisfy faithful fans while supplying plenty of action to keep the whole audience entertained. I'll take The Hunger Games over the Twilight series any day, but it's still no Battle Royale.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
There's a whole bunch of really nice subtle things that they do that they don't feel the need to Broadcast.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
The cinematic visualisation of the upper class of Pinem - is painted with a surrealist brush that Salvador Dali might have dropped (but).. falls short of expectations, registering a low emotional score despite all that is at stake
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Gary Ross has a minimalist style that enhanced dialogue-dependent and character-driven efforts like Seabiscuit and Pleasantville, and it's precisely why the first half works so well -- and why the second half needed a stronger presence behind the camera.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
... a Junior Scholastic spin on Lord of the Flies, Logan's Run and other post-apocalyptic allegories ... Lawrence scores a bull's eye as the flinty, maddeningly tenacious Katniss ...
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Gary Ross clearly does not have enough faith in the material or the world he created to simply let the audience enjoy the ride. The constant shaky cam, out of focus zooms and other unnecessary camera gimmicks literally made me sick.
Michelle Alexandria - Eclipse Magazine
A high attrition-rate, splatter flick designed to satiate the bloodlust of kids weaned on gory computer games. The Most Dangerous Game meets Lord of the Flies!
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
And how old is Lenny Kravitz (Cinna)? He must bathe in the blood of young Hendrix knockoffs.
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
A dark and engaging action/drama laced with social critique and dystopian sci-fi. But most of all, it's the story of a girl and crushed innocence.
Todd Hertz - Christianity Today
The first film of the trilogy should have fans craving for more and under the skillful direction of Gary Ross, they will enjoy his well balanced adaptation.
Wilson Morales - BlackFilm.com
Fans of the books and those new to the story should both be pleased and entertained.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
The Hunger Games is a mess.
Nick Nunziata - CHUD
More satisfying than Twilight and a stronger kickoff than the first Harry Potter movie. But ... [it] fails to explore the ethical dilemmas it presents.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
Even the most stalwart viewers, prior fans or not, will be squirming in their seats.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - San Francisco Examiner
... while Battle Royale is good bloody dystopian fun, The Hunger Games has a better, more completely drawn story and interweaving of theme. And it has Katniss Everdeen, who's a completely kick-ass female protagonist.
Kim Voynar - Movie City News
Older youngsters will, of course, love the thrill of the chase and some of the action sequences will, I dare say, have them perched right on the edges of their seats.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Uma experiencia eficaz gracas a um universo interessante e a personagens carismaticos.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
[Overcomes] the occasional rough spot to deliver a faithful and interesting sci-fi adventure.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
It is the shock of recognition coupled with a plot that constantly engages, and even surprises from time to time, that propels an intriguing premise both dynamically and sensitively realized.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
May the Dramamine be ever in your favor.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A slick, functional adaptation that seems oddly disengaged from the potential richness of its conceit; more inquisitive minds will find its cinematic adaptation lacking in some crucial respects.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Even if it wasn't propelled by a compelling narrative, and even if Ross' film didn't strike a nice balance between honoring the book and slavishly adhering to it, Katniss would be a fascinating character. That both of those are true only helps.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Katniss Everdeen is motion pictures' most fully realized and compelling female action hero since Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from the Alien franchise.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
Lawrence is terrific, but the film is a sleek, competent example of a big-budget, sure-fire commercial hit without much soul or style.
Caryn James - James on screenS
The Hunger Games has as much to say about oppressive politics and the bloodthirsty, heartless media as it does about the internal struggle among the combatants.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
It doesn't help, either, that star Lawrence delivers a consistently competent yet wholly uncharismatic performance...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
The basic problems stem from the lackluster direction and the witless, bare-bones screenplay. This is sort of a BookRags.com take on a classic. You get the characters and the plot basics, but the art is missing.
Brandon Judell - GreenCine
By the time the satisfyingly bold, next-chapter-generating cliffhanger comes along, insisting on a tone of distinct unease, you'll be hungry for more.
Dave White - Movies.com
"Hunger Games" should kick an audience directly in the groin with its presentation of the butchery foisted upon a society under the tyrannical thumb of a chosen few.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
For a PG-13 movie, it gave me all the intensity of an R-rated one, making me feel like our little kid's movies are all grow'd up.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
In book form, The Hunger Games was smart, provocative, exciting, and fun. The movie is all those things too. Everything comes together to bring a terrific story to life in a different format.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
The wide net cast by Games may water down its message and dull the edge a bit, but I was impressed by how much more the movie shares with a film like The Truman Show than with something like Rollerball or The Running Man.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
Katniss is the girl hero we've been waiting for.
Joshua Tyler - Giant Freakin Robot
"The Hunger Games" is a smart cross between "The Running Man" and "The Truman Show," with a little "Romeo and Juliet" thrown in for good measure.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
Gary Ross, who directed Seabiscuit, manages to get this nag out of the starting gate and across the finish line with no major blunders, but without much in the way of inspiration, either.
The Hunger Games absolutely delivers for its target audience: younger teenagers. To them, it can be highly recommended.
David Sexton - This is London
More in the league of the HARRY POTTER films than TWILIGHT. It's nice to see a film aimed at kids that has such a strong, resiliant, heroic- yet human main character. A star-making part for Jennifer Lawrence.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
That ["The Hunger Games"] is rated PG-13 while the soon-to-be released documentary "Bully" received an "R," says some rather unflattering things about our culture.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
The movie is exciting and solid, as intently focused on its goals as its protagonist is on hers.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The similar films, books and myths that went before don't matter. The Hunger Games succeeds on the strength of its fresh, clearheaded narrative and depiction of a brave young woman who rejects the monstrous rules of the game.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Gary Ross made a real movie. Not dumbed down and not just pandering to a PG-13 teenage audience. By visually telling the story entirely through Katniss' point of view he cleverly gets around many of the potential obstacles and objections one might have.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Ross manages to keep the pacing remarkably swift, given that the games themselves don't start until halfway through the 144-minute running time.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
The Hunger Games lacks a compelling raison d'etre -- it's not much of a class critique, and even less successful as an inter-generational study of how the young struggle against the old.
Jason Di Rosso - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
[Katniss is] perhaps the most engaging action-movie protagonist in recent years … Am I glad I saw The Hunger Games? Yes. But I'm not eager to see it again.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Viewers can hope future installments retain this same thoughtful approach that works on multiple levels.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
This is only the third movie that Gary Ross has ever directed. That is just all sorts of wrong.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
It's rare that a film based on a Young Adult novel is able to juggle so many powerful issues so profoundly.
Maggie Coughlan - Paste Magazine
Lawrence and the character she plays are excellent. But the movie's story is told poorly, too slowly and with little momentum
Stephen Silver - Patch
Where Collins' book paid careful attention to detail, Ross pays far too little. Characters never become exhausted or desperate or gaunt; they don't even get chapped lips or broken nails.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
So yes, Lawrence is terrific. The movie itself, unfortunately, is a disappointment.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
If The Hunger Games on screen doesn't exactly catch fire (as does its hero Katniss Everdeen), its savvy pop culture mash-up and the charge of teens in life-and-death peril remain intact.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
I have to admit, I rushed home after the movie to find out what happens in the next couple of books (thank you, internet).
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
It's difficult to picture a more faithful adaptation that still works as a film and doesn't push the running time over three hours.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
At more than two hours, the film takes its time in getting to the action but is all the better for it.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
...the first of what is bound to spawn a lucrative franchise.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Hunger Games just about manages to remain within the family enclosure. Little blood is spilt, but seasoned action fiends will not feel themselves overly short-changed.
Donald Clarke - Irish Times
The Hunger Games is a very enjoyable futurist adventure, presented with a compelling, beady-eyed intensity.
It's a science-fiction action-adventure for girls, faithful to its source novel, with a fiery teenage huntress battling to overcome a corrupt, male-dominated system.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Ross keeps the sci-fi themes vivid and relevant, the camerawork jittery and involving and the action speedy and thrilling.
Alan Jones - Radio Times
I know we're supposed to tut-tut about levels of cinematic violence, but this seems to me one of the rare occasions when the film needed to be bolder, and nastier.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Lawrence puts in a performance that will rank as one of the best of the year.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
It features a functioning creative imagination and lots of honest-to-goodness acting by its star, Jennifer Lawrence, who brings her usual toughness and emotional transparency to the archer-heroine Katniss.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
'The Most Dangerous Game' meets 'Dawson's Creek.'
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Watching The Hunger Games, I was struck both by how slickly Ross hit his marks and how many opportunities he was missing to take the film to the next level -- to make it more shocking, lyrical, crazy, daring.
Without stinting on the action, Ross' film shows us a sick, brutal society and then introduces us to a few characters who might be ready to start doing something about it.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The Hunger Games is first and foremost an adventure/survival story, and director Ross keeps things moving with nary a moment of downtime.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
It's a streamlined fable with enough zing to keep the franchise flying until the next round.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
One could ask for want more of Collins' story to be in the film: some key characters and social conventions of the new order are ill explained or not explained at all. But there are the books for that.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
The Hunger Games completely transcends the teenage genre by presenting a film with a strong emotional core mixed with an epically bad-a** central character! I loved this movie!
Kevin McCarthy - NerdTears.com
It's Judy Blume with more dead children.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
While it misses the insights from the first-person narrative in the book, the film remains a generally effective adaptation of Collins's novel.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
Jennifer Lawrence is an actor of subtle command, a gray-eyed beauty who can project star presence simply by being present.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
There are some sappy moments, but overall it's exciting, with a good story and a credible, charismatic performance by Lawrence that makes the whole thing work.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
The Hunger Games' pacing is brisk, its stakes as high as stakes get, and its leading lady engaging enough that the odds - at the box office at least - will be ever in its favor.
Bob Mondello - NPR
It's rare to see a blockbuster with such a sharp political sensibility. And the actors are terrific in complex roles.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The movie is undeniably a rich fantasy adventure, with plenty of narrative wiggle-room for the two books/movies to follow.
Jim Slotek - Toronto Sun
Director Gary Ross' solid adaptation aims to please fans and a mass audience alike, which is a double-edged sword. And a surprisingly blunt, bloodless one.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Lawrence , a rock on which to build a franchise, sells all of this beautifully. Her empathy roots the sci-fi extravaganza in an emotional reality that becomes crucial as the games unfold.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
It carefully walks a difficult line: How do you tell an essentially violent story without glorifying that violence?
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
In a grim future, kids fight to the death for televised games. Efficient adaptation of the Suzanne Collins bestseller won't disappoint fans.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
I'm already hungry for more.
Sharon Hoffmann - Kansas City Star
The sheer spectacle, horror and ghoulishness of the scenario holds the attention and the story moves fast as we journey with Katniss from her impoverished mining town to the glittering, futuristic capital city where the contest is staged.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Displaying a sturdy professionalism throughout that stops just short of artistry, director Gary Ross, who co-scripted with Collins and Billy Ray, does his strongest work in the early scenes, which set up the stakes with chilling efficiency.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
An intelligent, thrill-quenching blend of sci-fi and satire introducing a welcome addition to the woefully small canon of admirable action heroines. Bring on round two!
Rebecca Davies - Film4
So terrible it might, with antiquity, become a camp masterpiece.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Maybe 'The Hunger Games' series will deepen with further adaptations, but the series is off to a pretty pedestrian start.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Has all the imagination and youthful exuberance to become the next franchise to catch fire.
Mark Sells - The Reel Deal
Not... a bad film, it's just that the predictability does lessen some of the impact in this violent teen-aimed franchise-starter.
Matt Neal - The Standard
A palatable mix of riveting adventure, high-stakes drama, a compelling heroine, engaging visuals and plenty of flavor from a talented ensemble, The Hunger Games leaves you hungry for the sequel.
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
Clay Cane - BET.com
Director Muddles Games.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
The Hunger Games is odd, though, in that it wants its outrage at the system while, like the movie's characters, buying into it.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
I can recommend The Hunger Games with an asterisk. It is an intriguing - and maybe even close to original - story weighed down by a plot that is starving for tension.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Not as good as the book, but The Hunger Games has lots to recommend it
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
While missing a bit of emotional heft, The Hunger Games ends up being an excellent dystopian fable.
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
As the heroine in this futuristic saga, Jennifer Lawrence will surely attain the rarified status of a Hollywood star who's a household name.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
The overall combination of smart social commentary, compelling narrative, clever yet unobtrusive film style and the integrity to not be what it is critiquing, results in a very impressive film.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Does the obvious well enough, but except for Lawrence's stirring turn never goes beyond that...[has] dedication and taste, if not much imagination.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
From the decor in the luxurious apartments to the little curls at the end of Wes Bentley's beard, this is a film with a strong visual footprint.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
The Hunger Games expertly toes the PG-13 line, suggesting more than showing, but not shying away from brutality as an integral part of the film's and novels' grim message.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
The filmmakers owe a lot to their star, Jennifer Lawrence, whose commitment and intensity as Katniss Everdeen carries the film through its many weaknesses, dead spots and cheesy visuals.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Hunger Games largely transcends its teen-fiction origins to prove itself more than a money spinner.
Emma Simmonds - The List
Once we're in the arena, the bones of Collins's story ensure an enthralling time.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
It's rightly one of the big-ticket cinematic events of the year - don't miss it.
Adam Bub - MovieFIX
Led by a superb cast and deftly directed, this is a compelling and thrilling trip, which unsettlingly pulls you into the mix.
Cara Nash - FILMINK (Australia)
This adrenaline-pumping drama of survival is the most exciting and engaging action adventure since Avatar.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
An incredibly engaging story, told impeccably, with a moral backbone for good measure.
Rob Power - SFX Magazine
The idea of a future society where the state controls the population through lethal games is familiar from films like Rollerball, The Running Man and even Doctor Who, but retooled in the era of Simon Cowell gives it some fresh purpose.
Michael Bonner - Uncut Magazine [UK]
Stunningly designed and superbly written, this is an exciting, enjoyable and intelligent blockbuster with a terrific central performance from Jennifer Lawrence.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
[S]omehow, some way, the core of what makes [the] books such sharp satire and such enthralling adventure was retained... [I]sn't better than or worse than the novel -- it's the perfect accompaniment to it.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Just as brave and loyal Katniss Everdeen is the heart of the wildly popular series of "Hunger Games" novels, Jennifer Lawrence is the heart of this faithful adaptation.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
It's a theme which feels old - think Battle Royale, The Running Man - but Ross delivers it with such commitment and imagination that it feels fresh.
Francesca Steele - Sky Movies
Ross avoids the hyperbole of gore and mayhem to keep the emotions of what is happening so near the bone it hurts.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
A YA adaptation elevated by a talented cast, skilled direction, and a tone and story that feel vibrant and applicable beyond just this single film.
Kate Erbland - Film School Rejects
The Hunger Games is a smart satire and a tragic thriller, but above all it's a movie marvel; particularly in this age when big-budget blockbusters are as vapid as the churned-out faux-reality programming we so cheerfully but thoughtlessly consume.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
A clever film that manages to combine Orwellian themes with light adolescent drama and stabby teenagers.
Cameron Williams - The Popcorn Junkie
A lot has been lost in the translation, which is a shame because there is the potential there for this intrepid young woman and Jennifer Lawrence has an amazing screen presence.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
One of the problems, I think, is that given that the books were aimed at young women, I think the filmmakers have been terrified at making anything too violent.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
...a disturbing dose of science-fiction doom.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
It's rare to take such a distasteful subject matter and make it into a powerhouse film.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
It's a promising pilot for a franchise with potential to be something more than mere entertainment.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
I think it manages to walk that tightrope between faithful-for-the-fans and mainstream-for-the-new-blood as well as could be expected.
Mark Bell - Film Threat
Ross delivers the dystopian excitement in high style, mixing naturalistic action with retro-futuristic production design that is sure to draw Oscar honors.
Leslie Gornstein - E! Online
Twilight this is not, and Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen ain't Bella lusting after Edward. Instead, you would imagine the flinty Katniss driving a stake through Edward's pale, sentimental ass.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
This is a movie about an independent-minded girl who just isn't sure she can trust a boy, as true to the spirit of the Shirelles as it is to Greek myth.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
The Hunger Games is more notable for the holes it doesn't fall into than the great heights it reaches.
R. Kurt Osenlund - Slant Magazine
Lawrence, who came to notice in the art house hit 'Winter's Bone,' is sensational as Katniss, ably carrying the weight of the film on her shoulders.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Sci-Fi Movie Page
Lawrence was nominated for an Oscar as a backwoods girl in the independent film "Winter's Bone," and she gives this character a similar feral quality. This is a movie about killing.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Derivative and overlong for sure, The Hunger Games still has just enough bite for teens likely to find Battle Royale a little too unwieldy.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Forced to finally show us what Collins mostly left to our imaginations, it often falters.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Was it wrong to expect something more from "The Hunger Games" other than pajama-party fodder?
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Ross offers something in his film adaptation of the novel that Collins, writing with Katniss's voice, never could: the experience of watching the Hunger Games, rather than being a contestant in them.
Richard Larson - Slant Magazine
The Hunger Games' strength is not its social critique - rather, it's an exhilarating sense of a character learning to control her own destiny.
Philippa Hawker - The Age (Australia)
Whatever The Hunger Games lacks in originality, it makes up for with verve and relentless forward motion.
The Hunger Games is largely a triumph of smart, brave, timely, heady science fiction that recalls the 60s and 70s era of big idea scifi.
Overall, a solid and sometimes spectacular effort that promises even better things to come.
Leigh Paatsch - Daily Telegraph (Australia)
The Hunger Games has a rich sense of history that bobs on the surface of its culture of grim amusement.
Jay Stone - Calgary Herald
The futuristic film is just as gripping and moving as the best-seller on which it's based.
Randy Myers - Contra Costa Times
Even if you know nothing of Panem, mockingjays and Katniss Everdeen (silly names, ahoy), skip this darkly suggestive first chapter of a soon-to-be-major sci-fi franchise at your own risk.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
Intense adaptation is violent, thought-provoking for teens.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
Fatally emasculated by the need to appease young fans. The premise alone carries it so far, but cinematically speaking, it's a non-event.
Matt Bochenski - Little White Lies
...turns out to be a pleasing mix of throwback sci-fi and modern cultural critique.
Luke Y. Thompson - Nerdist
Why is the movie like eating the white of a hard boiled egg with no salt, pepper, or any other flavor except "white?"
David Poland - Movie City News
A gut-wrenching, mature, young adult fiction adaptation, diffused by occasional meandering, but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
Ross has successfully dissected and expanded the book and produced something that works as a film -- so long as you're not too precious about its origins.
Ariel Katz - The Vine
An often riveting, occasionally underwhelming chronicle of a competition forcing teenagers to kill each other, and the brave resilience of the world's best big sister.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Although I wasn't always blown away by the film and/or its various elements, for the most part I was engaged by the tale. And much of that is due to the presence of and performance by Jennifer Lawrence. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
[VIDEO] Everything about "The Hunger Games" is a rehash. If not for Jennifer Lawrence's ever-commanding performance, there would be no redeeming value for a movie that goes on two-and-a-half hours too long.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Jennifer Lawrence commands the screen in smart, thrilling, dystopian sci-fi adventure.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
More than just a Battle Royale with cheese. . .
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Should please fans, but leave them wondering what an alternate version might have looked like that wasn't afraid to get its hands dirty.
Leaner than Harry Potter's adventures, meaner than the Twilight saga, The Hunger Games lives up to its source if not entirely the hype.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Courage and sacrifice are the themes of this futuristic thriller, fantasy and video game that are mashed up into one hell of a tasty package. .. exciting, edgy and unpredictable and leaves its audience well satisfied as it waits for the next instalment
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Solid sci-fi drama filled with a mature resonance about the inhumanity of classism, the corruptive nature of exploitative violence and the audacity of hope in a world which tries to rob the last remnants of spirit from a deprived people
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
While The Hunger Games stops shy of truly transgressive sci-fi, it succeeds as mildly thought-provoking entertainment that presses all the right buttons on its way to box office supremacy.
T'Cha Dunlevy - Montreal Gazette
It is a work of art on multiple levels with fantastic technical elements and some of the best performances in a work of science fiction in years.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
The Hunger Games paints a vivid picture of stark contrast -- poverty and wealth, oppression and freedom, fear and hope. It's these opposing forces that make Collins's world such a tantalising one.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
THE HUNGER GAMES is an exciting and sometimes intuitive take on class wars and the struggle for survival.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Both fans of the books and those brand new to the story of Katniss Everdeen will find The Hunger Games compelling. With the first film proving the series is in good hands, I'm excited to see the next chapters play out onscreen.
Eric Goldman - IGN Movies
Ross and crew succeed in converting Collins' best-selling text to the screen, and fans should reward their efforts. When it comes to The Hunger Games, the odds are ever in this film's favor.
Sean O'Connell - CinemaBlend.com
Great idea to cast Jennifer Lawrence in the lead and involve Collins as co-scribe: Ross has made a timely, thematically provocative, emotionally engaging tale--as of today, 2012's most intriguing American film.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
A thrilling, intelligent, deeply-felt movie that does not play by the typical rules of franchise building in modern Hollywood.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all.
Olly Richards - Empire Magazine
Rarely does a blockbuster live up to its overheated hype, but The Hunger Games proved to be an exception. Lawrence and this franchise will go far.
Kate Muir - Times [UK]
As action, as allegory, as cinema, The Hunger Games is the best American science-fiction film since The Matrix.
James Rocchi - Boxoffice Magazine
the first film in a long time that deserves Hollywood's instant-franchise ambitions because it appeals to genre fans regardless of gender by crafting a story that's both epic and intimate, spectacular and subtle.
Todd Gilchrist - The Playlist
The Hunger Games is that rarest of beasts: a Hollywood action blockbuster that is smart, taut and knotty.
Overall, this is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
The Hunger Games certainly doesn't lack for ambition, and although it's mostly successful, one can't help wishing the film could have better integrated its different tones and agendas.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
Like its source, this is both credible science fiction and a teen tale that doesn't patronise or pander to its audience.
Matthew Leyland - Total Film
Despite its well-worn ideas and themes, Gary Ross's provocative, pulse-surgingly tense adaptation couldn't feel fresher, or timelier.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph