Jennifer Lawrence (who better?) as Katniss Everdeen
Jennifer Lawrence (who better?) as Katniss Everdeen


“She’s been a joy the entire journey.”
–Scott Glenn, Sucker Punch

How many generations of little girls, tired of playing with dollhouses, have let their imaginations run wild with Robin Hood, Arthur, Huckleberry Finn and all the other adventurous boys in the pantheon of heroic questers? Go ask Alice, the rare bird who, passing through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole, embarked on a full-fledged heroine’s journey. She’d likely tell you that Luke Skywalker, Frodo and Harry Potter may have benefited from distaff sidekicks and allies, but in the end the big myth, the sweet dream, had their names on it.
      But now comes Katniss Everdeen, a homegirl ready and able to claim a world-changing hero’s journey of her very own. The much-anticipated movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling The Hunger Games, due in March, stars Jennifer Lawrence as brave Katniss. Only right, since she’s close kin to Lawrence’s Ree, the Appalachian heroine whose quest to save home and family took her into the jaws of death in Winter’s Bone.
      Every year, the dystopian society in The Hunger Gameschooses, by lottery, 24 teens and preteens to hunt one another to death in an arena until only one remains. This blood sport is nationally televised entertainment for a decadent and tyrannical Capitol—as well as a warning to their enslaved Districts. Katniss volunteers for the Games in place of her defenseless kid sister. (Games recalls Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, in which adult citizens of a collapsing society ship whole classes of rebellious schoolkids off to an island for mutual slaughter.)

Seekers and Slayers
So in Games and the two books that follow, our girl is up against The Big Bad her blighted world’s equivalent of Darth Vader, Sauron and Voldemort. She’s following the path of forever iconic Buffy Summers (Sara Michelle Gellar), tapped as a Slayer and cast as unwilling lead in a drama far larger than any teenage girl should have to deal with. These unlikely heroines become Joan of Arcs in a battle against death and despair, whether socioeconomic or demonic. Backed by vulnerable friends and unexpected mentors, they pass through successive trials by fire; and each is enchanted by boys both dark and light. Katniss may at first look like a country mouse alongside Sunnydale’s popcult queen, but the two share bone-deep courage—to make ultimate sacrifices, to die and rise again, for the good of their people—and to stay true to a hard-won sense of self.

Quest on at http://movies.msn.com/movie-guide-spring/feature/article/girls-gone-wild/?icid=MOVIES4>1=MOVIES4