Hunger Games Review: The Future is Blurry

Pretty Girl Makes Graves

“In a world… where TRIPODS have become obsolete… and SHAKY CLOSEUPS ruled the land… TWO ATTRACTIVE ACTORS did stuff and blah blah blah TWILIGHT.”

Okay, so that’s not exactly the plot, but close enough. 70-some years ago, in some vaguely-defined dystopian future, the “districts” rebelled against the “Capitol,” and every year since, one boy and one girl from each district are chosen to FIGHT TO THE DEATH in the Capitol because Running Man. But first, they must undergo a vaguely-sexual, co-ed boot camp because Starship Troopers, where they learn that winning the audience is just as important as fighting, because Gladiator. This is known as “The Hunger Games.”

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in District 12, where she divides her time between daydreaming about escaping a vaguely defined “they” with her boyfriend, and hunting in the forbidden forest with her bow. She seems to be the head of the household, as her dad’s dead, her mom’s catatonic, and her useless crybaby sister does nothing but cry. Primrose has just turned 12, the first year she’ll be eligible for The Hunger Games lottery, and she’s convinced that she’ll be picked. Katniss gives her a charm, a “mocking J pin,” whose importance seems to have gotten lost somewhere between the book and movie, telling her that as long as she holds onto it, “nothing bad can happen.”

The next day, District 12’s teenagers assemble in the town square for “the reaping,” where emcee Elizabeth Banks shows up looking like a fop from revolutionary France.

She draws the first name, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s Prim. DAMN YOU, COSMICALLY SADISTIC PRE-ORDAINED RANDOM LOTTERY! Katniss volunteers to go in her place, knowing her useless crybaby of a sister would probably just cry some more until she died. As Katniss is being led away, Prim gives her the pin back, even though any rational person would’ve conclude that that thing was f*cking cursed by now. Fop lady chooses District 12’s boy — Peeta Mellark (no, not “Peter,” all the boys have girl names in the future), a human Spielberg face whose only skill seems to be luring flies with his constantly-open mouth.