I was able to attend the midnight premiere of “The Hunger Games” on Thursday night, but I guess it was really Friday morning. The series was unknown to me until a few months ago when the AP English class at my school had to read the Hunger Games, the first of three in Suzanne Collin’s masterpiece. Aside from J.R.R. Tolkien’s, and C.S. Lewis’, I haven’t read very much fiction, but I have to say, these books were phenomenal. Not very lengthy, the Hunger Games is just under 400 pages. I finished it, and sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay in a grand total of six days. Collin’s is a master designer of characters. Caesar Flickerman, and the sinister President Snow, the story’s main antagonist, are among the forefront of the brilliant roles created and detailed by Collin’s in the trilogy. I quickly became a huge fan of the series, and naturally was anxiously awaiting the first installment on the big screen.
Director Gary Ross wasted no time in jumping right into the heart of the conflict in Panem. We see main character Katniss Everdeen, comforting her younger sister Primrose, usually just “Prim” for the majority of her appearances in the books and movie. It is time for the yearly reaping, where one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12-18 will be selected as tribute from each of the 12 districts of Panem. They will be trained in the art of survival, and expected to fight to the death in a maniacal arena designed by the ruthless “gamemakers”. The tournament is hosted in the Capitol, and broadcast over all of Panem to serve as a reminder of the former rebellion of the districts which became a full blown war. The Capitol was victorious, and now rules with an iron fist over the districts.
As a modern commentary on the American perception of entertainment, Collin’s hope was to show in the book that our view of life and the importance of morality is deteriorating. As a pacifist, Collins also hoped it would arouse thoughts on the current efforts in the Middle East, and whether or not the reward is worth the sacrifice. Characters like Caesar Flickerman, and the other Capitol residents are representative of the “masses of people infatuated with reality TV and also those who are ignorant of the devastation in the rest of the world.” Collins said. President Snow’s character is very intriguing and Ross’s spin gives him an interesting element. He seems somewhat confined, and at times seems like he may be just another pawn in his own game.
Overall the movie was fantastic, and the crew did very well transitioning from a book to screenplay. I would highly recommend the movie, but I also encourage reading of the books! Even with the film running 2 hrs and 22 mins, there was plenty more from the first book that was left out of the movie. The second installment Catching Fire is in production and is set to release November 22, 2013. The escalating crisis in Panem, and the girl on fire will return to the big screen, and with a rumored budget double the size of the first. Stay tuned for a more in depth analysis of the movie and books, later in the week.
May the odds be ever in your favor…