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As the press embargo is lifted, film critics are sharing full-length reviews of The Hunger Games. Last week, we shared a few tweets from journalists who seemed very positive about the movie. But, are the full reviews just as positive?

Well, the short answer is yes. Naturally, responses vary a little between each publication – but the film has yet to receive a review giving it any less than four stars. Below are a few extracts from the various articles.

Empire – Four stars

Probably the greatest achievement of The Hunger Games, and there are many, is that in adapting a phenomenally successful teen novel its creative team have produced something that works as a film, not just as an adaptation of a book. There’s no required reading before entering the cinema in order to ‘get it’, and it’s well above the ‘all your favourite bits but with pictures’ business that has become the accepted standard. When a series has sold millions of copies, as Suzanne Collins’ trilogy has, the default position is to produce something that will look just as readers imagined, to show what we were all thinking, rather than offer something nobody had considered. The Hunger Games as a novel has been dissected, expanded and retooled into something intelligent, immersive and powerfully current.

Total Film – Four stars

Lawrence’s shining star is orbited by other casting successes. Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci amuse as media grotesques Effie Trinket and Caesar Flickerman, also tying for Best Worst Wig/Make-Up.

Wes Bentley is smoothly ruthless as gamemaker Seneca Crane, quietly conspiring with Donald Sutherland’s slyly sadistic President Snow. The glory-hungry Career Tributes – ie the cool kids – are a suitably hateful mob, headed by Alexander Ludwig’s sneering Cato.

Lenny Kravitz (Katniss’ sympathetic stylist) probably shouldn’t start clearing space on his awards shelf, but you can’t have everything.

The Telegraph – Five stars

Ross and his cinematographer Tom Stern, capture the action up close with twitchy, often hand-held camerawork: not only is it a perfect match for the punchy, urgent prose of Collins’s novel, it lends the film a teenager’s heart-in-mouth hyper-awareness. The screenplay, co-written by Ross, Collins and Billy Ray, deftly pulls together all of the novel’s itchiest themes: the Faustian pact of instant celebrity; the ever-broadening gap between the have-nots and the haves; the basic human urge to confer narrative, and so meaning, on human life in all its nasty, brutish brevity.
The Hunger Games is an essential science fiction film for our times; perhaps the essential science fiction film of our times. Whatever your age, it demands to be devoured.

The Hollywood Reporter

As for visual spectacle, there’s enough but, along with it, a feeling of being slightly shortchanged; the long shots of gigantic cityscapes, of a fast train gliding silkily through the country, of massive crowds gathered to see this year’s gladiators before they set off to kill one another, of the decorative flames emanating from the leads’ costumes as the pair is presented to the public for the first time — all are cut a bit short, as if further exposure would reveal them as one notch below first-rate. On the other hand, the costumes and makeup are a riot of imagination designed to evoke a level of topped-out decadence comparable to that of Nero’s Rome or Louis XVI’s Paris.

Den Of Geek – Four stars

Gary Ross is a brave man. He’d need to be, of course, to take on a project like The Hunger Games: the books have sold millions of copies, and have attracted both intense adulation and fierce criticism. The movie is a big deal, and the weight of its success or failure sits on his shoulders, so just making it requires courage.

But Ross has done more than churn out a faithful adaptation of the book. His vision of the world of The Hunger Games is bigger, scarier, darker, and more political than the books ever dared to be.

Impressive reviews indeed! The film already seems to have fared better with critics than the Twilight series, and quite a few of the Harry Potter films as well. Reviews also stress that the film has little in common with its fellow book-to-film adaptations – although fans of the books already knew that. Something else we can glean from the reviews is the confirmation that the film will run at 2 hours and 22 minutes (UK fans will presumably get 2 hours, 21 minutes and 53 seconds).

You can keep track of reviews as more come in over on the films Rotten Tomatoes page, and keep checking back here as we will be updating this post with more reviews from top critics as we find them.

Are you glad that the film has received so many positive reviews? Do you think the great response will move some of the cynics to give the film a chance?


  • http://twitter.com/SlySound Brett H

    Can’t wait until good critics actually write some reviews. 

    • Gary65

      Like who and when do they come out?

    • TheOneAndOnlyCliche

      Empire reviews are pretty great, acutally. There review is a good read.

    • Kate

      It is interesting that no ‘Top Critic’ reviews are in yet.

    • Eoin

      Well it is at 100% at RT. That’s almost unachievable. 

      • moonshoespotter1712

        it’s achievable this early.

  • Mrs_Badcrumble

    That is indeed a good sign! Usually critics turn their nose at teen/fantasy/sci-fi movies, but the depth of the Hunger Games seems to have been well adapted to film. More than that, it seems to do what most Twilight and Harry Potter movies didn’t: work as an independent object; a work of art in it’s own right that is more than a visual representation of its paper counterpart.
    Can’t wait!

  • http://twitter.com/TokoMasho Matthew Potter

     This makes me so excited! Can’t wait for next weekend!

  • writeworld

    “Something else we can gleam” should be “something else we can glean”.
    Otherwise, awesome article, Hypable! Thank you!

    • https://twitter.com/#!/HarriFSargeant Harri Sargeant

      Ahh, typing fail!  Thank you, error has now been corrected!

      • writeworld

         Sweet! No problem! Glad to be of service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joey-Mangum/1820064015 Joey Mangum

    Awesome! Everything seems pretty solid about this film… The run time is nice too! I’m really sick of movies that run 90 minutes long… I feel like the story doesn’t flesh out as well…

  • Gary65

    “Lenny Kravitz (Katniss’ sympathetic stylist) probably shouldn’t start clearing space on his awards shelf, but you can’t have everything.”

    Uh oh.

    • Trumpeter_72395

      This was what I was worried about the most. Idk, I just don’t feel that Lenny Kravitz fits as Cinna when I see him in the trailers and scenes

    • luigi_barraza

      “The camera remains so glued to her every expression and gesture that no one else, save perhaps Lenny Kravitz as Katniss’ suave professional stylist, is given the opportunity to hold the screen against her” —— from Variety’s review, don´t worry, people have different opinions, let’s see how it turns out.

    • luigi_barraza

      another one from Screen Daily – “Interestingly, one of the highlights is musician Lenny Kravitz, who plays Katniss’ sweet and supportive stylist with an understated ease………”

  • http://twitter.com/HungerGames4all Rae

    Check out rotten tomatoes!! The Hunger Games is sitting at 100% fresh on RT as of now :
    The odds are definitely in our favor!! :) SO EXCITING!!

  • Alonninos

    Thanks for the post! It should be “glean,” not “gleam,” though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.redwine Joshua Redwine

    I’m really impressed by the length of the film. Unlike the HP films, here we have one that seems to be the length necessary to tell the story. Props to Gary Ross and Lionsgate for doing what many studios are too cowardly to do. 

    • LilyLuna

      Which isn’t exactly a fair comparison considering the vast difference in length between the Potter books and The Hunger Games ones. Generally movies do not surpass two and a half hours, with a shorter book like THG that’s rather easy to do, but you have got to give Potter credit for managing to successfully condense *much* larger books into films.

  • http://twitter.com/Andrew_ww Andrew W

    Waiting for the negative Hyable review…

    • Gary65

      Does someone from Hypable get to see it before March 23rd?

      • 7Starrchasers

        Not sure but I see it on the 22nd at midnight =)

        • Stagegirl12

          Actually, you see the movie on the same day as everybody else.  A day starts at midnight, so you will be seeing it on the 23rd at midnight.

          • Julia

            Well it’s being released on the 22nd is some places like New Zealand and Australia.

          • 7Starrchasers

            Actually no….cause im from Melbourne Australia….and they are showing at midnight on the 22nd. Which means I’ll be at the cinema, Wednesday night….and by the time I finish watching it, everything in AMERICA will still be stuck on the “21st”….I know my time zones thank you very much, I don’t really need a lesson =).

          • Courtney

             Australia and New Zealand get the movie released on our 22nd which is everyone elses 21st.

          • Al

            LOL not ‘everyone elses’

          • Celithrile

             It’s released on the 22nd in the UK as well, and unlike Australia we’re only a handful of hours ahead of the States. So it IS the 22nd for us. Just sayin’ ;) No matter what day you see it on, everybody enjoy themselves! So excited! Woo! :D

      • Tony_Ortiz

        Im gonna see it at 2pm on March 22nd, because here in Puerto Rico comes out March 22nd not 23rd

        • Gary65

          May the curses of the seven snotty orphans be upon you.

          • Tony_Ortiz

            LOL :P

        • Azeem

          same, in my local theatre there is one showing on 22/3/12

          • Tony_Ortiz

            awesome! good 4 u!

      • http://about.me/dshana Shana Debusschere

        I get to see it the 21st, ’cause that’s the Belgian release date! :-)

    • Guest

       I fully expect a butthurt Twilight fan to post something negative, mostly along the lines of “Why didn’t the guys take their shirts off every ten seconds?”

      • http://twitter.com/Andrew_ww Andrew W

        I mean negative reviews from those people in the Cinema Hype podcast

        • https://twitter.com/#!/HarriFSargeant Harri Sargeant

          You have to understand that the hosts of Cinema Hype are creating a podcast for passionate and knowledgeable fans of film. When they review films, they do it from a critical viewpoint and tend to look more closely at the tiny details – in a very similar fashion to many of the critics quoted in this post. If you want a less critical review, you would be better off listening to any films respective podcast. We try our best to cater for everyone’s tastes. For fans who want to know how entertaining and faithful an adaptation the film is, listen to the Hunger Games Chat. If you want to hear a more critical review from a film craft standpoint, then listen to Cinema Hype (and who knows the guys may find it to be just as excellent as the above reviews have).

        • Eoin

          They don’t find all movies terrible. There job is to critique  the film. They gave incredibly positive reviews for Shame, Hugo, The Muppets, etc. They have not been posting many positive reviews lately because there just haven’t been many good movies.

  • luigi_barraza

    WHAT? no praise on Jenn so far????

    • Guest

      If you read the full reviews you’d how much they praise Jennifer lawrence. This is just snippet of the reviews.

  • EmHof

    Looks like some of these reviewers don’t like the stuff with Katniss and Peeta, which is kinda a bummer, since lots of people are looking forward to it. But, maybe, like most critics, they’re a little too cynical. :)

    • TheOneAndOnlyCliche

      I’ve read a lot about how it’s well developed, it’s just that Jen and Josh don’t have a whole lotta chemistry. Personally, it’s not why I’m gong to be watching.

      • Marissa

         Their chemistry has to be a little ‘off.’ Peeta is obviously in love with Katniss, but some say that Katniss is just doing it all for the Games. In the books, she talks about how it’s hard for her to act in love because she never had been before.

        • EmHof

          That’s a good point. I guess I just have high expectations since they have good chemistry in their interviews, and I worry about the consistency of them being together on screen throughout the trilogy. Also, my inner perfectionist just wants everyone to like everything. Haha, in a perfect world, right?

      • EmHof

        It’s not so much the romance that I care about, but just the simple fact that they are going to be together a lot through the next two (three?) movies so I don’t want it to be hard to watch them together. 

  • Gary65

    I have to say, while everyone agrees the film is great, no one can decide on what makes a bad point. Some people think the Games themselves should have been action packed and some think the way they did in the movie is better. Some think the Capitol people are ridiculous and some think they’re amazing. No one can seem to decide whether Lenny Kravitz was awesome or disastrous.

    The only thing anyone seems to be agreeing on is that the movie, on the whole, is really good and that Jennifer is sensational :D

    • BrendaG

       Well as for the games, I would say everyone is allowed their opinion, so i am not in the least bothered by that. As for the capitol people, they should be ridiculous to be amazing, so that to me means both points are the same. Lenny Kravits I reserve the right to watch the film before answering that, I’m a bit weary but he must be given a chance to amaze us. As for Jennifer Lawrence, I’m glad she fits the part like a glove because as far as I’ve heard she is signed on for all three parts of the franchise.

  • Jen

    Wow, I was really looking forward to the Empire magazine review as I’m a subscriber and often agree with their verdicts. This is brilliant news!

  • Tomas

    Mmm. About ZERO stars, than I’d agree

    • stargazer

      Really?  And why is that?  A well-made movie is a well-made movie, and any well-made movie doesn’t deserve zero stars.  And judging from the reviews thus far, The Hunger Games isn’t just well-made, it’s incredibly well-made.  Fresh all the way around.

      • WillowBlood

        I think Tomas may be indirectly saying he didn’t enjoy the book, which is crazy. But everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

  • Kavitha

    Yay! I can’t wait to watch it!

  • GoodGollyMissMolly

    What difference from the HP and Twilight book to film adaptations are they referring to? Is this one close to the book or not?

  • Hehedied

    Wow I’m shocked :) I’m so happy! Thanks to the director! Thanks for actually staying true to the source. I won’t lie David Yates pissed me off with the last four potter movies, can’t believe they let him direct the last four.

  • Dreamer

    I’m not surprized at the ratings. The Hunger Games was always just better suited to be adapted into a film than other books

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCJSDSEDKYOBEKWGIXCDB2QPYA Henry

    thats what happens when you cast an Academy Award nominee, as the lead of a franchise. But i wouldn’t campare this to Twilight or potter. They’re books are more fantasy and harder to portray on film. Hunger games was made for Film.

  • Hehedied

    Well only 14 reviews are in. Hell 21 jump street was 100% till 31 reviews and deathly hallows was 100% till 78 reviews. So know telling just yet.

    • http://twitter.com/Factuality Factuality

      I agree with your post, but did you really just misspell “no”?

  • Kate

    Not surprised. The strength of the books is in its story, themes, and characters, not Collins’s sometimes cringe-inducing prose. I always expected them to be transformed into excellent movies…I think film is a better medium for THG.

  • WillowBlood

    “Lenny Kravitz (Katniss’ sympathetic stylist) probably shouldn’t start clearing space on his awards shelf, but you can’t have everything.” Oh, well. Still super excited! Great it debuted at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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