Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth star as Katniss and Gale in The Hunger Games. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Who's in it? Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland

The plot Based on the first book of the Suzanne Collins' trilogy, which has now sold more than 26 million copies worldwide, this cinematic adaptation is one that won't disappoint loyal fans of the books (in fact, Collins was both co-screenwriter and executive producer, so her Midas, and inventive, touch is evident).

Telling the story of a post-apocalyptic world in the near future where the powers in the evil capital of the nation - called, in fact, the Capitol - force two children from each of the 12 poor, industrial and heavily controlled districts to fight to the death every year in a blood-hungry Big Brother-style reality TV show called The Hunger Games. When Katniss Everdeen's (Lawrence) 12-year-old sister is named to fight to the death, she steps in and volunteers in her place - meaning she has to leave her mother, sister and her gorgeous friend, companion and love interest Gale (Hemsworth) behind and go into the arena with the honourable Peeta (Hutcherson), who once helped her out in her time of need.

The film moves along at the same unstoppable pace as the book, and the costumes and sets are so inventive you won't feel your reader's imagination has been let down. The central character of Katniss is played with panache by Oscar-nominated Lawrence, and the tale succeeds both at being a large-scale, rousing epic, and a tale with quiet, gentle moments. Some may feel the action is less intense than in the book - but the filmmakers had no choice but to tone it down to keep the rating below 18+.

Rating 5 out of 5