Both Mrs. Salad and Pun Daughter have read the Hunger Games trilogy by Stephanie Collins, and I haven't. Pun Daughter even bought the DVD and (thanks, kid) lent it to us for an evening home viewing. A good time was had by all, with Mrs. Salad keeping up a running commentary:
"That's different from the book."
"They left a lot of stuff out that was in the book."
"I didn't see Haymitch like that when I read the book."
"Does this make you want to read the book?"
"Who's Lenny Kravitz?"
(That last one was in response to me saying: "Hey, Lenny Kravitz was in this?!" during the credits.)
Things are set in the dystopian country of "Panem", where a decadent upper class lives off the sweaty labor of twelve exploited "districts" in the hinterland. The districts are kept in line by the "Hunger Games": two youths from each are conscripted into a battle to the death. The competition is broadcast for the entertainment of the upper classes and the subjugation of the lower.
(I don't really get how that's supposed to work, by the way. Exactly how do you keep rebellion from breaking out by grabbing a bunch of kids and sending them off to their near-certain demise? That would not make me docile, it would royally piss me off. But maybe it's explained better in the books.)
Our heroine is from District 12, the plucky Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She's good with bow and arrow, but the odds are not in her favor.
The movie does a fantastic job of painting the ugly dystopian society, and making us root for Katniss. It's longish, at 142 minutes, and spends quite a bit of time setting up for the big competition. But once that kicks off, it's edge-of-your-seat for the remainder.
My favorite bit of trivia from IMDB:
Beware typecasting, Ms. Lawrence! Before long, casting directors will be saying things like: "Yeah, this might be a good role for Jennifer Lawrence, except there's no squirrel-eating."