DVD •There's more setup than payoff in "The Hunger Games," as director Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") concentrates more on establishing a moneymaking franchise out of Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel than finding the compelling story in it. Jennifer Lawerence stars as Katniss Everdeen, the teen warrior in a post-America dictatorship where the masses are subjugated through televised gladiatorial battles. Katniss and runty Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) represent poverty-stricken District 12 and must fight their way through rivals, killer wasps and the manipulation of a TV producer (Wes Bentley) doing the bidding of the president (Donald Sutherland). The action is intense (and rather violent for a PG-13 rating), and Lawrence's fierce performance will keep viewers eager to see the series' next installment. Extras include an interview with Ross and a mini-documentary on Collins and the Hunger Games phenomenon.
Sean P. Means