Film Clip: The Hunger Games

Rated 3.0

Adolescents from a dozen districts of some future former America annually are chosen by lottery for a woodsy death match on live TV. Two of them, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, hold our interest. This comes from the first book of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling sci-fi trilogy, and the script, by Collins, Billy Ray, and director Gary Ross, has its own battles to fight against pseudo-suspense and other bloating filler. Reportedly inspired by Collins’ experience of flipping channels between war coverage and reality TV, it seems appropriately more mind-numbing than groundbreaking or actively satirical. Peripheral not-quite-characters are played with brightly costumed monotony by Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Sutherland. But Hutcherson commits to his sudsy subplot, and Lawrence anchors it all with enough presence and genuine vulnerability to reward the patient attention of those many people who’ve been waiting in line to watch since before you began reading this.