The first of a trilogy, The Hunger Games (based on the series by Suzanne Collins) is set during an undisclosed time in the future. The United States is now divided into 12 Districts after a catastrophic event. Now known as Panem ,and ruled by The Capitol, every year two representatives (male and female) are pulled from a lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. 24 enter, 1 leaves and it's all televised. Katniss Everdeen (16 years old) volunteers to participate in order to save her younger sister Primrose (12 years of age) from having to risk her own life. If it helps, think Running Man meets 1984/Fahrenheit 451.
I was a huge fan of the books and, honestly, I could not be more excited for the film. However, there are some that don't share my enthusiasm. Over at Hobotrashcan, blogger Aaron Davis (playing the role of the cynic) wrote about his apprehension in regards to the movies upcoming release. He's just not 'feeling it'. I (playing the role of the Optimist) am going to take the 'Pro'/'Yey' to Aaron's 'Con'/'Ney' and explain why I am
1. Gary Ross isn't the sexy pick, but he's more than capable of delivering.
While Big and Pleasentville may be overwhelmingly 'white' (whatever that means) by some standards, Ross seems to demonstrate he's capable of creatively tackling very human issues while crafting stories/films with heart. The Hunger Games, at it's core, it is about Katniss. It's about her actions, her journey, and her relationships. Ross' ability to stay true to that and not allow the epic occurrences to overwhelm it will be key to his success.There's not doubt this is the heaviest, and darkest, material Ross has handled yet. The producers, including Collins (the author), have invested their trust in him, and he won't disappoint.
2. Age and the Actors
Casting actors older than their characters isn't a new thing in Hollywood. One of my favorite movies of last year, Super 8, was the first film in a long time that I had seen actors playing close top/spot on their age. The casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katiniss Everdeen, initially, caused a backlash. Lawrence has shown some chops at the fresh age of 21. She was nominated for the Best Actress award for her role in Winter's Bone. She was the second youngest nominee in the Academy's history.
I agree with the point that the scale of The Hunger Games as a blockbuster project for a studio ruled out the casting of age-appropriate actors. If we're looking at the books for a reference, I never pictured the main characters as the typical teenager in terms of appearance. We've seen in our time that teens seem to be maturing more so now than I can ever remember. The setting takes place in the future, I would think the trend may have continued. Gale works in a coal mine and does a great deal of heavy labor. Peeta is described as being very muscular and strong. Casting 16 year old actors for those roles, doesn't seem likely. Also, I do not know what book some were reading, but Katniss isn't bi-racial. Maybe I missed something, somewhere. Who knows. It's going to take seeing the actors on screen, in the thick of it, to make a judgement (obviously).
2a. The Love Triangle
There's no escaping the Love Triangle, especially these days. It creates tension, doubt, and (most importantly) drama. Twilight has left us all a bit dizzy in the head
How will the movie portray the three? We shall find out on March 23rd. Also, let us not forget this is just the first film. There's time to see it all mature and flesh out on the screen.
3. Let the Nerd/Geek Movie Stampede Begin!
The amount of book adaptions (comic, graphic, and written) being cranked out onto the Big Screen is amazing. Who would have thought that we, the Sci-Fi/superhero/fantasy-loving crowd, would have so many choices?!? It's a great predicament to be in and The Hunger Games kicks it all off. Unless you count John Carter of Mars (which was great), the Games will be your first 'big' flick of the season. You'll have to wait a few months until The Avengers hits theaters , followed by Prometheus (my most anticipated movie of the Summer) and a whole year (pretty much) to see The Hobbit. Get your fix early, Nerds! You won't regret it and you'll be eagerly awaiting Catching Fire before the credits roll.
Keep an eye out. This isn't the last you'll hear from the NSD on The Hunger Games. We're big fans.