The Hunger Games movie will punch you in the gut. The saga of Katniss, teenage dystopian gladiator, turns out to be just as addictive in movie form as it was in the books. The combination of insane spectacle and surprisingly brutal violence makes this movie exhilarating, and a little exhausting, to watch. You can't help being drawn into the messed up, heart-breaking land of Panem.
The Hunger Games was a tough book to adapt into a movie — not least because it's such a powerful emotional storyline, and a lot of stuff goes on in Katniss' head that isn't really reflected in her outward behavior. This movie needs to sell us on a whole dystopian world, and it needs to make us care about Katniss and her attempts to survive both death-matches and media stardom.