Title: The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Production Co: Lionsgate
Release Date: 3/23/2012
Length: 142 minutes
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Thriller
In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal 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’s 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 who have trained for this their whole lives.
Warning: There are spoilers. If you have not read the books or seen the movie, proceed at your own risk.
I was convinced before heading to the theater that this would be a really great movie. And with the following the books have, the production company would be crazy to stray far. Upon leaving the theater, I was 100% satisfied. I think this movie adaptation was perfect and I can’t wait to see the next two on screen.
I was amazed by how much of the book was right there on the screen. Sure, it didn’t play out exactly the way the book does, but it can’t. Page-to-screen is hard to pull off and there are key decisions that have to be made. For instance, in the book, Katniss can be thinking about the people back in her district or what the people in the capital are seeing, but there’s no way to transfer that on screen. You have to just show it as its happening, and I was happy that I saw that. I thought it was all handled well. There may have been some tiny details that could have been included to help people who haven’t read the book understand a little more what’s going on. My boyfriend was asking me questions about it after we left because some of it didn’t make sense to him. Aside from that, the plot was handled well and there was little left out.
Jennifer did a fantastic job as Katniss. She was perfect. Whether she really looks like Katniss was described is irrelevant. She was the right person for the part. I loved her. I thought Josh Hutcherson did a good job as well. He didn’t get quite as much time to shine as she did, but that’s understandable since she’s the main character. And Rue? Oh, my heart. I shed tears when she died. It was so, so sad.
I think what struck me the most was how powerful it all was. I can pretty much read about anything because if I don’t want to get emotional about it, I can just disconnect myself from it a little. It’s that simple. If I don’t want to envision, I don’t. I read it and understand it, but I leave it at that. I think that’s how I processed The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s impossible to do that when it’s displayed on a giant screen in front of you. The poverty of District 11, the riot, and the heartlessness in the arena is all there. There was no way to disconnect myself from that and it honestly made the message come across stronger than it did when I first read the book. I’m not saying the movie is better, because I don’t think it is. I’m just saying it really carries the message that Suzanne Collins intended and it’s a hard one to ignore.
They did a pretty good job keeping the violence on a PG-13 level, so it’s safe for teens, maybe even a little younger than thirteen. If you read the book, I really urge you to watch the movie. If you didn’t, I really urge you to do both.