Though wildly imaginative, “The Hunger Games” covers some pretty well-traveled storytelling territory. • A sassy heroine caught between two handsome men? Katharine Hepburn did that in 1940 in “The Philadelphia Story.” • A dystopian future controlled by omnipotent government? More than 70 movies — from the 1927 Fritz Lang classic “Metropolis” to Japan’s version of “The Hunger Games,” the critically acclaimed “Battle Royale” — portray the future as a scary place devoid of freedom, food and (have you noticed?) fashion. • But don’t call “The Hunger Games” derivative. Director Gary Ross employs the archetypes, tropes and themes to create a new world that’s more than the sum of its parts. Here, we find the connections between “The Hunger Games” and its cinematic predecessors.
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The film is dressed as a dark satire of soulless entertainment, lacking a distinctive identity.