The Hunger Games “is precisely the thing it pretends to disapprove of: a pulse-elevating spectacle meant to distract us from the unsatisfying situation of the real world, and to offer a simulated outlet for youthful disaffection and anxiety (in this case, the anxieties of girls and young women in particular). Bread and circuses, only without the bread, and pretending to be anti-circus.

“I’m not claiming that’s anything new in pop culture, and it certainly isn’t a crime. Furthermore, the shapeless politics of The Hunger Games have very little to do with the question of whether it’s any good, although they do illustrate how calculated the whole project is.” — from Andrew O’Hehir‘s 3.20 review on Salon.

Also: “[It] offers intriguing moments of social satire and delightful supporting performances, but subsumes much of the book’s page-turning drama to sub-Twilight teen romance. Of course it will make a zillion dollars opening weekend, but I’m not convinced this franchise will be as ginormous, in the long run, as Hollywood hopes.”