The Hunger Games: Katniss Deserves Better

by Ethan Alter March 22, 2012 11:30 am
<i>The Hunger Games</i>: Katniss Deserves Better

If there's a single takeaway from The Hunger Games, the first of four planned movies based on the omnipresent YA book franchise by Suzanne Collins, it's that Jennifer Lawrence is a genuine, true blue, big time movie star. Coming off a deservedly acclaimed breakout performance in the indie drama Winter's Bone and a strong supporting turn in last summer's comic book blockbuster X-Men: First Class, the actress picks up the archer's bow wielded by Katniss Everdeen, the girl revolutionary at the center of the novels. On the page, Katniss functions as a kind of wish-fulfillment character for every teen reader -- girls and boys alike -- that has ever felt alienated and aggrieved by an unjust society. (And that's pretty much every teenager from the dawn of time.) The great accomplishment of Lawrence's performance is that she takes a person that every fan of the book has imagined themselves being and makes her completely her own. From the opening scenes, she's completely locked in to Katniss's headspace and vividly portrays her transformation from amateur hunter to battle-tested fighter. So yes, Lawrence is terrific. The movie itself, unfortunately, is a disappointment.

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