By Beatrice Vantapool

Up against books-turned-movies like Harry Potter and the Twilight series, The Hunger Games had its work cut out, especially with the added skepticism that the movie wouldn’t live up to the book. If Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) were around, he’d have two words of advice: Stay alive.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), are two out of the 23 tributes thrown into a brutal arena to battle to the death for the entertainment of the wealthier Capitol citizens. After volunteering in place of her 12-year-old sister Prim, Katniss’ future is one she can no longer see clearly, if she even has a future at all. Leaving her family and best friend behind, she and Peeta travel to the Capitol where they are stuffed with foods they had never imagined and pampered by the best stylists the country of Panem has to offer, including Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.

The two made quite an entrance in the parade of tributes and were literally ablaze representing their coal district and branding Katniss as the “girl on fire.” She later makes herself the one to beat, and at the same time puts a target on her head, when she receives an unbelievable combat score from the game-makers. After their two-week period at the Capitol is up, Katniss and Peeta are thrown into the arena amidst fellow tributes, ranging in age from 12 to 18. Immediately bodies scatter and weapons fly, and the two teens run their separate ways hoping they won’t have to kill one another.

The Hunger Games arena was much like it was described in the novel: woodsy, gory and filled with teenagers tearing each other apart. Many of the tributes were played by relatively unknown actors, who were surprisingly refreshing, unlike the horror that was the acting in the Twilight saga. The Capitol, in comparison, was rather star-studded, featuring acting veterans such as Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Banks.

The film makes the dystopian future it portrays look like something anyone would want to be present for. Its mixture of violence, desperation and the little sprinkle of romance keeps the action fast paced right until the very end, leaving you begging for the sequel. Everything from the script to the characters gets you hooked and feeling for these people you’ve never met. Even the score will give you chills; it seemed like every moment had the perfect musical accompaniment. The Hunger Games even made one of the most ridiculous aspects of the book seem normal: the Capitol citizens with their multi-colored skin, hair and men’s eyeliner.

The sci-fi action drama was filled with somber moments, violence and gore, and a touch of Katniss-Peeta action that kept everyone of the edge of their seats.

It’s just the beginning of a film trilogy that will define a generation. It’s safe to say that the odds are in its favor.