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August 11, 2017
The Hunger Games (2012) --- "One Girl Fights To Be The Sole Survivor In A Starving Game."
In a dystopian future, the United States is now called Panem with a defined Capitol for the rich and privileged, and the rest of the states have been split into 12 Districts – each one serving a specific purpose to Panem. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, ritual retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives.
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I am a huge fan of the book series ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins, it is one of the few book series that I cherish because out of all the books I have read this series was one I shared with my mother; we both read them. Before receiving the book series I had no idea what the Hunger Games was about or that they were even planning to make a book to movie adaption. After reading the books I was both excited and a little worried.
The Hunger Games is not a very easy source of material to be adapted into a movie. This is largely due to the books being written in a first person narrative with very detailed descriptions, from the characters appearances – both in the Districts and in the Capitol – to the strange futuristic devices used. Now I understood that it would not be easy to convey every detail exactly as I had imagined it and still make the story believable without an R-rating or having access to a huge budget. In the end, all of my concerns were wiped away when I saw the first installment. I've never before seen a more faithful adaption from book to movie in my life, not even with the Twilight series. The costumes, the sets, the locations, the cast and the pacing is as if they were exactly replicated from the book, while still maintaining a PG-13 rating for younger viewers. The small things that are added, such as a more insight to the Gamemakers' control room, I believe only add to the amazing world Suzanne Collins created and improve the narrative movie-wise. In addition, the movie is great for viewers who have not read the books, for instance, my father who did not read the books enjoyed the movie.
The cast is amazing. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen carries the movie and viewers can feel the graveness of the situation she is in just by looking at one of her expressions. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark is also a true breakout performance, at first, I was skeptical of him playing Peeta but the way he looks at Katniss can make almost any girl envy her. Other standouts in the cast include Stanley Tucci as the flamboyant talk-show host Cesar Flickerman, Elizabeth Banks as the fashionable and unexpected Capitol ally-escort Effie Trinket, Lenny Kravitz as swag-infused mysterious Cinna, and Woody Harrelson as the drunkard, sarcastic, and yet caring mentor Haymitch Abernathy. The child actors Willow Shields, as Primrose Everdeen, and Amandla Stendberg, as Rue, are believable, heartbreaking, and true to the characters.
Despite the PG-13 rating the movie doesn't gloss over or sugarcoat anything for their audience. The violence may not be as gloriously graphic as it is in the book but it's still there. Viewers will feel the tributes' pain and despair, not even realize that the violence isn't gory until the movie ends. The movie/book deals with important themes of survival, governmental control, grief, and oppression. The subplot star-crossed love story acts as a light in the dark place, and improves the story as a whole rather than being a distraction.
Now I would like to address a few areas of concern that fans of the book mentioned, quite extensively, when The Hunger Games came out. First was that there were some things involving what went on in Katniss’ head in the book that was omitted from the movie, and there is a perfectly good explanation for this. Since the book was written in a first person narrative, as readers we see inside Katniss Everdeen’s head – we see her feelings and her thoughts on people, the circumstances around her, and life in general. However when you transcribe how Katniss views the world from a book to a movie, you are having to take a medium like written words and bring them to a medium of visual adaptation, it can be difficult to convey everything especially when all the actor can do is give you facial expression to express what the character is thinking. Of course, they could have had Katniss narrate the whole movie but I believe that it would have been overkill and we would not have been given the privilege to seeing inside the Gamemakers workstation or a view into what President Snow is like in the Capitol – in the books he is more of a background villain that we don’t actually see much in the first book. Another aspect fans have pointed out is the fact that there was not much violence or gory in the Games. When you think about it, as a fan of the book, the scenes during the Games is very violent and intense. Children between the ages of 11 -18 are being forced to fight to the death in order to survive, it’s like a futuristic version of the Gladiator fights during the Roman Empire; slaves would fight to the death in the Coliseum with a promise of freedom if they were to win a certain number of fights. If the production team, director, writers had made the film as violent as the books then it would have most likely been given an R-Rating, and this would not have appealed much to younger fans.Overall, The Hunger Games is a very well written book that I believe was satisfactorily adapted to a film. Although a few things from the book were not put into the film, material that was left out could not have been easily portrayed or easily understood through the film. Material that was added, such as an insight into President Snow and the inner workings of the Gamemakers, offer a pleasant change to the somewhat depressing aura of the districts and the flamboyant and almost “innocent" appearance of the Capitol.
“I don't know how else to put this: Make sure they remember you.”
- Haymitch Abernathy
Worth Seeing: 4 of 5 stars
Worth Buying: 4 of 5 stars
I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch The Hunger Games (2012).
Divergent: Insurgent (2015)
Divergent: Allegiant (2016)
The Giver (2014)
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)
The Maze Runner (2014)
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015)
Cast & Crew
Diana Alvarez --- co-producer
Robin Bissell --- executive producer
Martin Cohen --- co-producer
Suzanne Collins --- executive producer
Chantal Feghali --- co-executive producer
Nina Jacobson --- producer
Jon Kilik --- producer
Michael Paseornek --- production executive
Louis Phillips --- co-producer
Aldric La'auli Porter --- co-producer
Louise Rosner --- executive producer (as Louise Rosner-Meyer)
Bryan Unkeless --- co-producer
Stanley Tucci --- Caesar Flickerman
Wes Bentley --- Seneca Crane
Jennifer Lawrence --- Katniss Everdeen
Willow Shields --- Primrose Everdeen
Liam Hemsworth --- Gale Hawthorne
Elizabeth Banks --- Effie Trinket
Sandra Ellis Lafferty --- Hob Vendor
Paula Malcomson --- Katniss' Mother
Josh Hutcherson --- Peeta Mellark
Woody Harrelson --- Haymitch Abernathy
Toby Jones --- Claudius Templesmith
Kimiko Gelman --- Venia
Nelson Ascencio --- Flavius
Bruce Bundy --- Octavia
Lenny Kravitz --- Cinna
Amandla Stenberg --- Rue
Dayo Okeniyi --- Thresh
Leven Rambin --- Glimmer
Jack Quaid --- Marvel
Latarsha Rose --- Portia
Donald Sutherland --- President Snow
Alexander Ludwig --- Cato
Isabelle Fuhrman --- Clove
Jacqueline Emerson --- Fox Face
Karan Kendrick --- Atala
Phillip Troy Linger --- Katniss' Father
at 6:00 AM