“And may the odds ever be in your favor…”

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Twenty-four tributes go in to a structured competition, only one comes out. This is the decree officials of the Capitol made 74 years ago to prevent any sort of additional rebellion from the 13 districts of Panem, a futuristic United States.

The Hunger Games,” penned by Suzanne Collins in 2008 and the first of a trilogy, made its trek to the big screen this weekend and is expected to make some waves.

The main protagonist of the film, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), volunteers for this competition after her sister is chosen at random from a pile of names. This is a first for the district, which is mainly supported by coal miners and often sees their “tributes” die during the games.

The 142-minute story follows Katniss’ evolution from a secondary mom to her sister and hunter into “the girl on fire” and a warrior in the games, and with the clever and dominating camerawork by director Gary Ross, the audience is able to feel as though they are in the games following her around.

Ross, who co-wrote the screenplay with Collins, does the book justice. It received a seal of approval from Collins earlier this month, even with several changes from text-to-movie – a riot spawning after one tribute’s death (which builds to the next movie, “Catching Fire,” expected in 2013), a greater role for head gamemaker Seneca Crane and less of what Katniss is thinking or feeling (since the book is told from a first person standpoint while the movie is in the third).

Any fan of the book will feel satisfied with this movie. The anticipation enough should make it worthwhile. The scenery is gorgeous. The imagery even more so. Readers had an idea as to what citizens of the Capitol looked or acted like, or how the games unfolded, but Ross was able to perfectly capture that imagery into the two-hour film.

And yes, though predictable to those who have not read the book, it is not about the movie as a standalone feature. It is about the journey. It’s easy to make conclusions throughout the flick, but the majority of the audience (including the writer) are looking forward to this story develop over the coming years.

For months, “The Hunger Games” has been scribed as “the most anticipated movie of 2012.” In this writer’s opinion, it was. I know I will most likely be returning to the theater in the course of this film to see it again.

Grade: A+

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