Let’s get one thing straight – The Hunger Games has only one thing in common with Twilight – and that is 2 guys and a girl. No pizza place.

Katniss could wop Bella’s lazy ass in a heartbeat. Katniss is a do-er. Bella is a brooder. Katniss has purpose outside of romance. Bella is more self-absorbed than a tampon.

The Hunger Games is rated M, it’s the film version of the bestselling first book by Suzanne Collins and has had the biggest opening day in Australia for 2012 taking AUD$1.75m on 471 screens. This is one film that’s not starving for bums on seats.

If you haven’t seen many movies in your lifetime, The Hunger Games will be a revelation. If you’ve seen a lot of cinema, you might think it’s a mash-up of The Truman Show meets American Idol meets Turkey Shoot. It could also be described as Ben Hur meets Soylent Green.

Borrowing from ancient cults of sacrificing youth and virginity to appease some infantile tantrumic gods, The Hunger Games is a movie about social and political control through the media. The era is roughly Stepford and the production design gives more than a passing nod to The Fifth Element with a touch of Zoolander.

In a nutshell, a dystopia of cheery tyranny exists in a place where world order is kept in check by each of the 12 districts offering up a local [more than likely] virgin along with a strapping teenage lad to go and fight to the death in The Hunger Games. It’s controlled fighting that provides an outlet for the primal urge to dominate and those who are exempt are the dominators themselves – the dudes who run the Games.

There can only be one winner and no prize for guessing who comes out on top.

A word of advice – do not sit in the front rows as the camera-off-sticks for the action sequences is better viewed when your eyes can take in the whole screen without having to move back and forth across it.

The direction is a little melodramatic which seems to be symptomatic of stories starring teens aimed at teens. But hey – the really obvious strength of this film is the heroic female lead Katniss – the girl with the Robin Hood skills very ably played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Lenny Kravitz has another crack at acting after surprising us – in a good way – in Precious a couple of years back and Wes Bentley (American Beauty) is as he always is – mesmerizing on screen. He commands attention in the most quiet, intense way. The brilliant Stanley Tucci also stars doing a terrific impersonation of Ryan Seacrest along with Donald Pleasance at his best playing a bit of a prick.

Pre-teen girls in the cinema went Beatlemania-nutzoid at the first close-up of Liam Hemsworth. Boy, is that family taking over or what! After The Avengers comes out and Chris starts pounding things with that chunky hammer of his, they could change the Hollywood sign to Hemsworth because by then, their rule will be total and absolute.

One thing I know for sure – I love Woody Harrelson more and more even in a bad wig. Woody is a god.

The Hunger Games is in cinemas now. Here’s the trailer followed by the world premiere on Movie Juice channel 415 STARPICS mnc.tv