The Hunger Games 2012

Critics score:
84 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Can The Hunger Games, in the movie version directed by Gary Ross, successfully navigate the crossing from page to screen? Our answer: Eh. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It carefully walks a difficult line: How do you tell an essentially violent story without glorifying that violence? Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: What viewers are left with is a watchable enough picture that feels content to realize someone else's vision rather than claim it as its own. Read more

Kathleen Murphy, MSN Movies: ADD auds won't mind that there's no time to get to know anybody, or watch a relationship unfold, or ride the dramatic rise and swell of a compelling narrative. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross's soft touch and Ms. Lawrence's bland performance. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Even if you know nothing of Panem, mockingjays and Katniss Everdeen (silly names, ahoy), skip this darkly suggestive first chapter of a soon-to-be-major sci-fi franchise at your own risk. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The first book of Suzanne Collins's prodigiously popular trilogy has been brought to the screen with a Jumbotron sensibility, a shaky camera to emphasize the action and a shakier grip on the subject's emotional core. Read more

Scott Bowles, USA Today: Like the select participants of its savage sport, The Hunger Games stands triumphant, if scarred and a bit wobbly from the contest. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Displaying a sturdy professionalism throughout that stops just short of artistry, director Gary Ross, who co-scripted with Collins and Billy Ray, does his strongest work in the early scenes, which set up the stakes with chilling efficiency. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Lawrence is a tremendous talent, and she is what makes "The Hunger Games" ultimately worth spending time with. She doesn't elevate the film to the heights to which one might have wanted, but she takes it a lot higher than it would have otherwise risen. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Like the book, "The Hunger Games'' doesn't end so much as open the door to the next installment; it's frustrating, but you'll probably feel you've gotten your money's worth. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: Director Gary Ross generally avoids the elaborate exterior shots and special effects that dominate high-concept blockbusters. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The games have begun, and so far they're pretty gripping. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Ross manages to keep the pacing remarkably swift, given that the games themselves don't start until halfway through the 144-minute running time. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Ross moves between action and human drama with nimble awareness of the weight of the issues coursing through the story of fascism, propaganda, and, yes, adolescence under the weight of the world. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Efficient if not electric, "The Hunger Games" is still epic in intent. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: This Hunger Games is a muscular, honorable, unflinching translation of Collins' vision. It's brutal where it needs to be, particularly when children fight and bleed. Read more

Laremy Legel, Measured against its downright subversive subtext, you have to come away impressed by the level of achievement. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Hunger Games has such a strong narrative structure, built-in forward movement and compelling central character that it can't go far wrong. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: If, as the ads suggest, the whole world will be watching this, viewers will likely be satisfied with what they see. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Was it wrong to expect something more from "The Hunger Games" other than pajama-party fodder? Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: The film shows precious little hunger and no sense of game. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: It's a promising pilot for a franchise with potential to be something more than mere entertainment. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Even when two people are just talking calmly, Ross jerks the camera around. Why? As the sense of danger increases, he has nothing to build toward. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Forced to finally show us what Collins mostly left to our imaginations, it often falters. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: The Hunger Games' pacing is brisk, its stakes as high as stakes get, and its leading lady engaging enough that the odds - at the box office at least - will be ever in its favor. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: As tough-spirited as fans would hope for - and exciting and thought-provoking in a way few adventure dramas ever are. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: "The Hunger Games" may be derivative, but it is engrossing and at times exciting. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: This futuristic tale of teenage violence is so not my kind of movie that I approached it grudgingly, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being totally exhilarated and enjoying it immensely. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: [It] smells very much like a movie with money on its mind - not altogether successfully balancing its loftier ideas with a sense of superficial whimsy and Vegas-meets-Wizard of Oz production design. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Fans will be delighted. Non-fans should give this movie a chance. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Well-paced, well-directed and extremely well acted entertainment. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Hunger Games is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The Hunger Games has epic spectacle, yearning romance, suspense that won't quit and a shining star in Jennifer Lawrence. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "The Hunger Games" never really holds together or makes any sense, except as an elementary fairy tale about a young girl's coming of age and an incipient romantic triangle (which is the focus of the film, far more than the book). Read more

Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle: It features a functioning creative imagination and lots of honest-to-goodness acting by its star, Jennifer Lawrence, who brings her usual toughness and emotional transparency to the archer-heroine Katniss. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Director Gary Ross' adaptation, co-scripted by Collins herself, isn't quite as crackingly paced as the novel, but it will more than satisfy existing fans of the trilogy and likely create many new ones. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: "The Hunger Games" runs nearly two and a half hours in length but is the rare film that never drags and doesn't overstay its welcome. It could keep running as long as Katniss does, and we'd want to be right there every heart-pounding step of the way. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Viewers who like a side order of political allegory with their science fiction will find much to savor here. So will romantics, fans of feminist heroines and action enthusiasts. "The Hunger Games" is that rare creation, an event movie of real significance Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: It's a streamlined fable with enough zing to keep the franchise flying until the next round. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: A film that transforms a popular work of teen fiction not just by faithfully exploring its themes but, more important, by proving those themes have a very grown-up resonance. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: Whatever The Hunger Games lacks in originality, it makes up for with verve and relentless forward motion. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: Overall, this is a solid take on the material, but it could have done with a little less narrative incident and a little more cinematic sparkle. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: [It] arrives in theatres ... not only intact, but in command of the essentials of storytelling and characterization. The film deserves the massive success it will surely enjoy. Read more

Jim Slotek, Toronto Sun: The movie is undeniably a rich fantasy adventure, with plenty of narrative wiggle-room for the two books/movies to follow. Read more

Melissa Anderson, Village Voice: Like the pacing of the novel, the film, even at almost two and a half hours, moves briskly, continuously drawing us in. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Watching The Hunger Games, I was struck both by how slickly Ross hit his marks and how many opportunities he was missing to take the film to the next level -- to make it more shocking, lyrical, crazy, daring. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: If the series's legions of fans miss a detail here or a sub-plot there, they'll still recognize its bones and sinew, especially in Jennifer Lawrence's eagle-eyed heroine Katniss Everdeen. Read more