What's the story?
In a distant, far-off future, the world as we know it has changed for the worse and mankind's thirst for superiority, blood and violence is as unquenchable as it ever was.
America, or what's left of it, has been ravaged by war and the country has been split up into 12 impoverished districts that are ruled by a powerful central government in what's known as the Capitol.
Every year, an event named The Hunger Games takes place and it's a bloody, violent showcase that's designed to entertain the elitist masses while keeping the second-class citizens of the 12 districts in their place.
You see, The Hunger Games is actually a brutal reality TV show and the unfortunate contestants, a boy and a girl, are chosen at random from each of the twelve districts and, in the name of mindless entertainment, they must fight to the death until there is only one left standing.
When Katniss Everdeen's (Jennifer Lawrence) younger sister Prim (Willow Shields) is chosen to take part in the games, she immediately volunteers to take her place and, along with local boy Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the two are taken off to be trained to fight and ultimately, face a horribly violent and bloody death...
Much hyped by teenage fans of Suzanne Collins' unbelievably successful and popular novels, The Hunger Games hits the big screen on a wave of anticipation that has only been matched by the fever caused by the release of the Twilight saga. But don't let any reference to Twilight put you off (sorry Twilight fans).
Although The Hunger Games does have a teenage romance at its core, this film is a lot grittier and entertaining than the Twilight saga and, with a boundless energy, director Gary Ross tackles hard-nosed dystopian themes and mashes Collins' bleak, uncompromising vision with enough action and pathos to keep more than just an audience of teenagers entertained.
This is a broad-sweeping movie that should entertain fans of action, fantasy and sci-fi combined.
Ross keeps the momentum ticking along nicely and, once the action really heats up and the bloody, terrifying games begin, your heart will be in your throat and you'll be gripped as the finale leaves you begging for the second instalment.
The cast is also on top form – Jennifer Lawrence is cool, focused and everything fans will have imagined in their hero Katniss: she's tough, resilient and you can't help but cheer her on through the gruesome ordeal that is the Hunger Games. She's supported superbly by Josh Hutcherson, who you'll probably remember from Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, as well as the always excellent Stanley Tucci.
Think of a mash-up between The Running Man and Battle Royale and you're more or less there. The Hunger Games is highly recommended if you've after a pulsating, high-octane thrill this weekend.