Last Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, a flashy new trailer for a film called “The Hunger Games” debuted and caught the eye of many viewers. Though if you haven’t already heard of “The Hunger Games,” which is based on a series by author Suzanne Collins, perhaps it’s time you take a look at this series that is garnering quite a following.
The first book was released in 2008 and received many positive from news outlets like USA Today and eventually reached number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Acclaimed horror author Stephen King is even a fan, saying, “I couldn’t stop reading.” Once you start, you probably won’t be able to put “The Hunger Games” down until you’re finished.
“The Hunger Games” offers a fresh new plot that hasn’t really been seen before. But is it just another teen romance about undying love? No, it’s definitely not. “The Hunger Games” is about a survival of the worst kind: children picked from twelve districts and having to kill off each other in order to live. While the series shares similarities to classic literature like “The Lord of the Flies,” it’s gained popularity for its gripping and suspenseful twists that makes it almost impossible for readers to put the book down.
Though with the movie set to be released March 28, 2012, “The Hunger Games” hype is only just beginning. No, “The Hunger Games” is not another craze similar to the rampant obsession over teen literature like “Twilight,” instead it’s a whole different story. While the craze for the series may grow to be as large as “Harry Potter” and “Twilight,” there’s little to fear because it’s not the type of story that’ll have tweens screaming “Team Edward,” and”Team Jacob!”
“The Hunger Games“ is the title of the first book, taking place in a futuristic America called Panem. Originally thirteen districts with a Capitol in charge, District 13 had been destroyed due to a rebellion. To remind the other districts the consequences of planning a rebellion, the Capitol holds “The Hunger Games” every year. Two children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are picked to be sent to an arena, with one being male, and the other female. The arena is re-designed each year to challenge the contenders and make their situation harder for them. Once there, the contenders must fight and kill each other for survival, and only one can win.
Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old from District 12, volunteers to go in her younger sister’s place. Specialized in archery from hunting illegally for food, Katniss’ skill will have to save her if she does not want to be killed.
The best part about Katniss is that her character is pretty humanistic compared to some other female leads in these type of young adult novels. She is independent, skillful, and has the appropriate responses to scenarios rather than sounding like a damsel in distress.
Jennifer Lawrence, who is perhaps best known for playing Mystique in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” has been cast as Katniss Everdeen. At first reactions from fans were the expected: she’s blonde and not in the lean, fit, physical state that Katniss is in. However, fans should be pleased to know that after weeks of training and working on the film (and becoming a brunette), early publicity images have proven Jennifer Lawrence could make for a decent-looking Katniss.
Two other vital roles have alson been cast with Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta Mellark, another contestant) and Liam Hemsworth (as Gale Hawthorne, Katniss’ best friend). At first fans were disappointed in these choices over physical features. Josh Hutcherson is not blonde like Peeta, but physical appearances can be altered and once again early stills have show that the end result turned out for the best.
Some elements from the novel may be potentially difficult to translate on screen. The arena, for one, is something that will take a good imagination. Collins described the arena well in the book so that you could imagine being inside it. The arena is like a huge dome but the limits are unseen to the eye. When the contestants first reach the arena, a huge golden cornucopia stands in the middle with weapons, food, and other helpful items. The second the contestants can commence the fight occurs in a matter of seconds. Already a few people die.
Another element that needs to be done properly is the contestant’s death recognition. At the end of each day in the arena, an image of each contestant that died that day ais shown bright in the moonlit sky. This can’t be cheap quality shown in the film and hopefully this will be included.
The film’s director, Gary Ross, has proven he has a knack for visuals in films like like “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit,” so perhaps that flair will rub off on some of “The Hunger Games” more memorable locations.
“The Hunger Games” is a challenge that hopefully it’s studio Lionsgate can fulfill in a satisfying way. These movies cannot be handled without proper thought. Reading the books already gives the reader a perfect movie in their head, so the movie has a lot to live up to. However, as “The Hunger Games” gains popularity, it will ultimatley be up to the fans to decide whether the movie did justice to the book or not.