The first adaptation of Suzanne Collins's best-selling trilogy of books premiered in Los Angeles on Monday. Jennifer Lawrence leads the cast alongside rising stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth and established actors Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland. This sci-fi action-drama is set in a dystopian future where children must compete in televised battles to the death.
The critics have so far been positive, predicting it could become the next Twilight or Harry Potter while describing it as "pulse-surgingly tense", even though some controversy has arisen over the faithfulness to the book.
The Telegraph(Robbie Collin) "Despite its well-worn ideas and themes, Gary Ross's provocative, pulse-surgingly tense adaptation couldn't feel fresher, or timelier... The screenplay, co-written by Ross, Collins and Billy Ray, deftly pulls together all of the novel's itchiest themes: the Faustian pact of instant celebrity; the ever-broadening gap between the have-nots and the haves; the basic human urge to confer narrative, and so meaning, on human life in all its nasty, brutish brevity."
Total Film(Matthew Leyland) "The camera does mostly cling to Katniss, requiring a Herculean amount of heavy lifting from Lawrence. She bears the load. Stoical or heart-on-sleeve, afraid or defiant, the starlet hits the mark. Factor in archery skills to make Robin Hood soil his Lincoln greens and you have Katniss as Collins intended... What falters most in the journey from page to screen is Collins's blistering pace. It's a long movie, and Ross is in no rush."
The Hollywood Reporter(Todd McCarthy) "The arrow hits an outer circle of the target in The Hunger Games, an amply faithful adaptation of Suzanne Collins's monster young-adult best-seller that could have used a higher blood count in more ways than one... The novel conveyed a heady sense of blood-scent... While present, this critical element is skimmed over on screen, reducing a sense of the heroine's mental calculations as well as the intensity of her physical challenges and confrontations."
Empire(Olly Richards) "Probably the greatest achievement of The Hunger Games, and there are many, is that in adapting a phenomenally successful teen novel its creative team have produced something that works as a film, not just as an adaptation of a book... There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all."
The Mirror(Mark Adams) "Fans of the books - and they are legion - are going to love the big-screen version... In truth the story is familiar fodder - from Japanese film Battle Royale through to the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film The Running Man - but there is a rousing epic quality to The Hunger Games and it really delivers in terms of action and entertainment."
The Hunger Games will be launched in cinemas on March 23.