The Hunger Games enjoyed it's Sydney, Australia premiere tonight, and let me tell you...this film rocks.
Don't confuse it with 'Twilight' - it's tons better, or about 2 stars better if you follow.
Movie and entertainment critics around the global have been all very positive - most unusual.
The movie is based upon Suzanne Collins' trilogy of books.
Led by rising movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Australia's Liam Hemsworth, the flick is about a broadcast for TV fight to the death in a post-apocalyptic America.
"What's remarkable is the lack of cheese," said UK magazine Total Film, rating The Hunger Games four stars. "Tacky effects, corny dialogue and creaky performances are all shown the door. We repeat: not the new Twilight."
Hollywood bible Variety writes "nearly 2 1/2 hour event picture should satiate fans, entertain the uninitiated and take an early lead among the year's top-grossing films".
Total Film criticised the loss of the novel's "blistering pace" regarding the film's long running time.
In another four-star review, British paper The Guardian wrote: "The Hunger Games is that rarest of beasts: a Hollywood action blockbuster that is smart, taut and knotty."
The Hollywood Reporter notifies the film had been watered down to ensure a PG-13 rating in the US (rated M in Australia): "Most noticeable ... is the film's lack of hunting instinct. The novel conveyed a heady sense of blood-scent ... One senses that the filmmakers wanted to avoid showing much hunting onscreen, for fear of offending certain sensibilities."
But it also stated that the central character, Lawrence's cool-headed hunter Katniss, is so "compelling" that the film "can't go wrong".
21-year-old Oscar nominee Lawrence has been getting rave reviews and should be up for some awards. She embodies Katniss "just as one might imagine her from the novel," said The Hollywood Reporter.
"Lawrence is perfect as Katniss," writes film magazine Empire. "There's very little softness about her, more a melancholy determination that good must be done even if that requires bad things."
The only other star to really be singled out for his performance is rocker Lenny Kravitz, whose one previous movie role was in Precious.
"The young men on hand can't measure up to (Lawrence's) standards," said The Hollywood Reporter. "Making a decided impression here is Lenny Kravitz, who will probably field more acting offers after his turn as Katniss' charismatic stylist Cinna."
Total Film said while not "wholly true to Collins words", The Hunger Games "gets the spirit bang on".
"As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying," concluded Empire. "There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all."
The movie opens to the Australian public with midnight screenings this Wednesday night.
Entertainment industry commentators in the US are predicting a $75 million to $100 million opening for the film. At the Australian box office that translates into a $10 million-plus opening weekend down under.
The Hunger Games
Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr
Eva Rinaldi Photography
Music News Australia