Following a path all too familiar in the entertainment world these days, we will see another young adult novel adapted for the screen. Rather than wizards, vampires, and werewolves, you have teenagers fighting for their lives in a battle royale (wink) televised for the nation to see.The Hunger Games is about how the actions of one can change the lives of many.
So what's it all about?
The United States has been laid to waste due to an apocalyptic event. Now divided into 12 Districts, and known as Panem, two representatives (one male, one female ages 12-18) are selected every year from each individual District. These Tributes are forced to compete against one another. 24 enter, only one leaves. The entire nation of Panem is forced to watch. It is an exercise in control. The Hunger Games are a means for the Capitol, led by the sinister President Snow (Donald Sutherland), to crack the whip.
Who are the characters?
The heroine, 16 year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), volunteers to represent District 12. She does so to protect her younger sister, Primrose (12) from having to participate after she was selected via the lottery pick known as The Reaping. She has to leave Prim (Willow Shields), her mother (Paula Malcomson), and hunky best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) behind. Her and baker's son Peeta Mellark ( Josh Hutcherson), the second District 12 contestant, are sent off to the Captiol to participate in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
*sigh* I know. Those of who haven't read the books are looking at that last bit of paragraph and you smell love triangle. Before you are blinded by shades of Twilight, allow me to clear the skies: this ain't Edward Vs. Jacob. Whereas Bella's world revolved around her sparkling, brooding vamp and hot-blooded wereboy, Katniss has got A LOT more on her plate. To try and relate it to another young adult book-to-screen phenomenon, think The Tri-Wizard Tournament. Except SPOILER no one would've have been shocked that Cedric Diggory died, they'd have expected Fluer to bite it too.
The Hunger Games also stars Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Wes Bentley.
Why would I go see it?
Potter comparisons aside, The Hunger Games has a wider draw than young adult adaptions past. This story is brutal and full of raw emotion. With the state of the economy and the ever changing socio-political landscape, it's not hard to look at Panem and the Districts and get a lump in your gut. The Capitol runs the Districts efficiently. Each has their job and failure to get it done can be fatal. Getting the axe won't be just an expression. The people of the Districts bust and break backs to ensure the occupants of the Capitol maintain their extravagant lifestyles. Doesn't sound too much like fiction in this civil/social/political climate, does it?
Also, Katniss is bad ass with a bow and arrow. Take your daughters and show them a positive female role-model in fiction. It doesn't happen often enough.
There's action, a love triangle, socio-political undertones, a story of rebellion and courage. All of that makes for a great film. Go and wet your appetite for what's to come in the Summer movie months. As for beating the crowds flocking to theatres this weekend to catch The Hunger Games? To pull from the book,
"May the odds be ever in your favor!"
Stay tuned for more coverage of The Hunger Games here at the NSD.