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Hunger Games review, updated

My 14-year-old daughter and I went to see The Hunger Games at midnight Thursday night/early Friday morning. In full disclosure, I had to stop reading the book (even though my daughter loved it and begged me to read it). I just couldn’t handle the violence. In that sense, I am not the most objective movie reviewer.
The basic plot of the story is that a nation comprised of 12 districts hosts its two-week Hunger Games each year. In the televised games, a male and female teen, drawn from a lottery held in each district, fight to the death in a park-like setting as the nation watches.
Gruesome, right?
Well, there’s also some romance thrown in, combined with a host of incredibly likable characters. The books have been hot sellers since the first one came out back in 2008, but in the months leading to the first movie, the storyline has been immensely popular making children who haven’t read the books (and probably won’t be able to see the movie either) feel left out.
With that said, I admit that I did enjoy the movie, even though there was a part of me that dreaded seeing it. It did a good job in making viewers care. I was as into the story as I have been in a movie in a long, long time.
The moviemakers were very clear on their target audience. Even the cinematography was aimed at teens. I suspect many adults, even with the slightest equilibrium issues, will not find watching a lot of the movie easily. In fact, I had to shut my eyes sometimes and stop watching for a few seconds just because of the “running” action or additional, unnecessary movement of the cameras (think Blair Witch Project).
As much as I cared about what happened and was rooting for the dynamic duo from District 12, I had to shut my eyes in other parts of the film as well. It was just too bloody and violent. Kids killing kids is hard to take — and this was up close and personal.
Even as someone who didn’t finish reading the book, I could tell that many of the relationships in the movie had been barely developed, as compared to their literary counterpoint, but still, you got the message.
That said, I loved the Lenny Kravitz/Cinna character, even though his character was not developed at all.
Woody Harrelson’s character, Hamish, on the other hand, was richer and built-up more — and very likeable.
Katniss Everdeen, the story’s protagonist (played by Jennifer Lawrence), is a hero — and I applaud such a strong female character who lives by a moral code that earns respect. She is a beautiful blend of strength and warmth.
All in all, the movie kept my attention and made me care, but its subject matter was so graphic that I am still troubled that this is the current craze among teens, my daughter being one of them. My 10-year-old has begged to see it. That won’t be happening for a long, long time — and I hope by the time I believe she’s old enough to watch it that she won’t want to see it.