I am thrilled that Patrick Whitehurst, has written this lovely review of this year's teen movie, "The Hunger Games!" Suzanne Collins' book is incredible. I couldn't put it down. The joy of a wonderful story, making sure I remembered why I love to read! Director, Gary Ross co-wrote the screenplay with Suzanne Collins. The result, is a film that is a credit to them both.
Making a hit film from a popular book is usually a good thing. It means more people will pick up said book and fresh, life-long readers will be born as a result.
This happens more and more often, so often in fact, one might believe the idea that literature is truly in a renaissance period of sorts. Mostly, that renaissance can be attributed to books written for teens – about the only demographic with disposable incomes these days. With Harry Potter, Twilight and now The Hunger Games, the teen book market has never been more powerful.
Author Suzanne Collins' contribution is of course, the latest literary juggernaut to rock the bookshelves and the first in a best-selling trilogy. The first movie, also in a planned trilogy of films, was released to explosive U.S. box-office acclaim March 23 and virtually assured fans will see adaptions of Catching Fire and Mockingjay in the coming years..
The Hunger Games, while perfectly short, paints a grim picture of North America's not-too-distant future. The inhabitants of the nation of Panem, ruled from the flashy capital by the sneaky President Snow, celebrate a grisly sport that pits teen against teen in a fight where only one out of twenty-four contestants survive.
“Tributes” are culled from outlying districts each year to compete in these Hunger Games as penance for an uprising against the capital that took place long before the current contestants were even born. Among these Tributes is the novel's feisty lead, a young girl named Katniss Everdeen from remote District 12. Katniss, faced with a likely death at the hands of bigger, fiercer teens, is soon to become a reality television icon, whether or not she want the adulation.
The book is a combination of dark social commentary, centered on the nation's fixation with reality television pseudo-celebrities, and a celebration of individuality in a world full of McDs and Apples. While not an original idea by a long shot, the book marries a number of social concepts in a way guaranteed to appeal to readers of all ages.
Fans of the trilogy hungered for the film of course, as do fans of any popular novel.
Some may argue the pop film left out a few key points, but it managed to remain faithful to the source material overall, something not many book-to-film adaptions can pull off. The Da Vinci Code, for instance, still brings sighs of woe to those who recall sitting through the whole thing.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence portrayed a strong-willed, but still human, Everdeen in the 2012 movie. Particularly memorable in her performance is the scene just prior to entering the arena where the bloody games are to be played. Without uttering a single word, she conveyed the sense of doom and dread any of us would feel if faced with the same fate – the knowledge of one's imminent demise.
Later in the film, as Katniss seeks out fellow District 12 competitor Peeta Mellark in the arena, played admirably by Josh Hutcherson, one wonders how she knew where to find him so quickly. This is one of only a few moments where the movie faltered. Those who read the book knew the answer to that question. Those who haven't, however, may have been scratching their heads.
Another complaint is the sense of time. Those familiar only with the movie failed to appreciate exactly how long the Hunger Games lasted and just how important finding water and other means of sustenance were to those in the arena lucky to live long enough.
One is also left to wonder how Lawrence's Katniss could look so rosy-cheeked and well fed throughout the games and even before, for that matter, as she comes from a coal-mining district addled by starvation.
Minor questions aside, however, the film and book serve to bring a social conscience into the lives of teens and that alone is worth the applause Collins deserves. Where last year's teen parade consisted of glittery love-lorn vampires, while entertaining and romantic, this year's teen parade is made of darker, sterner stuff. And for many, especially adults, that makes it all the better.