"Embargo, Schmembargo" seems to be the rallying cry as reviews of "The Hunger Games" hit the Internet today, out ahead of the movie's Friday release.
And who can blame the ravenous herd? After all Fandango, the movie and ticketing website, announced today that the film — based on Suzanne Collins' hugely popular novel — "is already the top-selling franchise opener and non-sequel in Fandango's nearly 12-year history." With 2,000 shows sold out as of Tuesday, "The Hunger Games" is on track to become one of the site's top five sellers in advance tickets.
So instead of being bitter or mistrustful of distributor Lionsgate's marketing intentions, the snafu affords a fine opportunity to praise this impressively serious work of popular moviemaking wrought from the compelling (although not entirely literary) novel about teenagers Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. The two are sent from the nation of Panem's hardscrabble, coal-mining District 12 to compete to the death against young combatants from 11 other districts in the ritual of governmental retribution known as the Hunger Games.
Peeta is chosen by a lottery system called the Reaping. Katniss takes the nearly unheard of step of volunteering when her beloved little sister, Prim, is selected.
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson make it easy to care about the coal miner's daughter and the baker's son who become so-called "Tributes" as they arrive in the Capitol and then fight to survive the bloody rite that unfolds in a vast, forested "arena" of hazards manipulated by the Gamemakers and their tech-savvy designers.
From the time the rights to Collins' trilogy were sold, much has been made about the violent saga becoming a blockbuster franchise in the register of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" books.
How big this franchise will grow remains to be seen. Early indications promise dividends. How good it is, however, became apparent at the film's start ... Read the entire 3.5-star review in Friday's Denver Post and at denverpost.com/movies.
Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567 or firstname.lastname@example.org