The Hunger Games previewed at Worksop cinema

THE Hunger Games had the honour of being the first movie to grace the screens at Worksop’s new Savoy cinema on Thursday night.

The freshly-built and newly-painted six screen complex threw open its doors to a lucky few, and this was one film I couldn’t wait to see.

Having been invited to the launch night I downloaded the first of three Suzanne Collins books, and devoured it in just a few days.

The story is set in the futuristic world of Panem a country divided into 12 Districts that are oppressed to varying degrees.

As punishment for a past uprising every year each district has to offer up one girl and one boy who are taken to the Capitol and made to compete in a televised fight to the death.

Only one ‘tribute’ can survive the games to become the eventual winner.

Star of the film Jennifer Lawrence plays 14 year old Katniss, a girl from the poorest district who offers herself as a volunteer in the games in a bid to save the life of her little sister Prim.

Lawrence, who is relatively new to Hollywood blockbusters, is a convincing sullen and terrified teenager.

Across from Lawrence is Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta, the son of a baker from District 12.

The film’s satirical look at reality television cannot fail to be lost on the viewers once Katniss and Peeta arrive at the Capitol for the ‘show’.

The couple, who we have already seen live in poverty, arrive in the rich district in-style on a 200mph train. They are met by hundreds of gaudy, ghastly dressed gormless crowds who whoop and holler at their arrival.

Looking like something from a particularly tacky episode of Big Brother I’m surprised the makers didn’t rope Davina McCall in for a bit part.

But the film is littered with familiar faces who make up Katniss’ media team.

Among them Woody Harrelson who plays a rather convincing alcoholic Haymitch, a previous winner of the Hunger Games and mentor to the District 12 tributes.

Lenny Kravitz stars as Cinna, Katniss’ stylist and only real friend in the Capitol.

But as far as supporting actors go Stanley Tucci stole the show as Caesar the blue-haired cheesy game show host who narrates the games.

Screen-writers used his character as a clever narrative devise to condense the book down and squeeze it onto screen. This was fairly successful considering the original text is all from Katniss’ point of view, and during large parts of the Hunger Games she is completely alone.

Although at over two hours and twenty minutes the movie still could have been tightened a touch more. It felt just that bit too long for the audience, who were shifting in their seats by the big finale.

The foundations were firmly put in place for the next film which I wouldn’t hesitate to go along and see.

CGI also played a successful part in bringing the horrendous futuristic world to life, this helped with the tension and drama in the action sequences when the children were battling it out for survival.

When I first read about the film I was surprised by its 12A certificate. The book is written for young adults but the content (children fighting to the death) is hardly tame.

I was intrigued as to how movie makers would bring the tale to life without upping it to a 15 rating, but the film worked. The audience were moved, and on edge, in all the right places without having to be shown much gore or violence.

I shall definitely be getting a ticket for the sequel and how nice that I’ll be able to do so in Worksop without trekking out to Sheffield.

by Debbie Sansom

Star rating ****