I know what you’re thinking. Yet even more hype about The Hunger Games. If you’re a human and pay attention to any kind of news source or social media, you know this post apocalyptic-novel has been garnering all kinds of attention, ranging from news articles to Someecards to screaming fans anxiously awaiting the premiere of the movie.
But let me explain.
I was fully immersed in the Harry Potter series, going to midnight book releases, waiting in line to see the new movie, crying a little inside when the series ended with the last movie installment of the seventh book. That was my Twilight, or Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars.
I caught on to The Hunger Games late. To be fair, my friend Kyle bugged me to read them well over a year ago but, since I don’t take lightly to people telling me to do stuff, I didn’t read it until I noticed it was being made into a movie.
Almost the same thing happened with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I refused to read both series, then I saw both previews, was like “HOLY CRAP THAT LOOKS AWESOME,” then read them back to back. The Hunger Games was a way better read, extremely well-written, and played at some very current issues that are frighteningly true to our own society.
So yes, you may say it makes no sense that it took society and a movie preview to get me to read a book. But I am a huge advocate of reading the book before seeing the movie. So just go with it.
Having been disappointed by the first Harry Potter movies and the Twilight movies (yes, I’ve read them, and the Eclipse movie??? What the f happened there), I was a little nervous to see what would come of The Hunger Games movie, especially when many previews are way better than their movie equivalants. Nevertheless, I was anxious for March 23 to arrive, secured a viewing group in a few of my MFA friends, and arrived at the theater and hour and a half early to get seats.
And the rest is history.
15 Reasons Why You Should See The Hunger Games:
1. The opportunity to include “May the odds be forever in your favor” in everyday conversation for the next few months.
2. The $78 million dollar budget. Take that, John Carter (made for a staggering $250 million).
3. The hype that is not obnoxious and overwhelming. I worked at a bookstore when the fourth Twilight book came out. Girls were literally stroking the boxes that contained the books at the midnight release and fought over them later to take home. A blood bath nearly happened over who got to take home the bookstore’s release poster. So far, I haven’t heard of any near-deaths in relation to Suzanne Collin’s series.
4. Speaking of which, Suzanne Collins, the seemingly anti-hype author who uses more than just a love story to sell her books (cough Stephanie Meyers cough). In fact, I would dare say people pick up the books not for the love story, but for the other themes, such as war’s perils, a cultural obsession with reality TV, and the humanizing elements found in a society where people are essentially ritually killed every year for the entertainment of others. All of these themes are portrayed well in the movie, and the romance (thankfully enough) is not too cold or too hot—it’s just right.
5. The post-apocalyptic society. Holy shit, I love me some post-apocalyptic literature/film. It fascinates me. That was another major reason I decided to finally give into the series. The movie does not directly speak of how this is a society built after the fall of America, but just by watching it, you can tell it’s set in a different society than our own.
6. The depiction of life in the district is absolutely excellent. Compared to life in the Capitol, which is a little overdone (probably the point), you feel the despair, lack of hope, and struggle to survive that the people of District 12 feel, especially in the scenes leading up to the preparation for the Reaping. The color is lacking, the faces are sad and drawn, and no one cheers when the Tributes are announced.
7. The book portrays some very real emotions and struggles, and the movie picks up on these as well. If you don’t cry in the scene where Katniss volunteers for Primrose, then you are not human. Even the struggle between Katniss and her mother is given some screen time. Furthermore, Most of these kids are not killers, but forced to be to avoid their own death. As Jennifer Lawrence says here, it’s not fair, but it’s what the Man orders. The emotions are true in the book—the struggle to survive instead of the affirmation of being a badass—and even those characters who are so menacingly laughing in the beginning of the Games in the movie show their true colors (fear) when their own time comes.
8. The not overly violent scenes in the arena. While reading, it’s easy to imagine the deaths as gruesome as you would like. The movie does a good job of portraying the brutality of the Games, while also angling the camera in such a way that blood is not splattered all over the screen.
9. Cato’s humanizing moment toward the end of the movie. If you read the book, than you know what I’m talking about. You almost start to feel bad for this little murderer.
10. Loyalty, hope, and romance (yep, I said it) trumping cruelty, wealth, and depair. Not only the trumping factor, but these themes carrying over from the book to the movie.
11. The “behind the scenes” moments in the movie. The book is written in first person but, unlike the Twilight series, the movie moves outside of Katniss’s head and gives a fuller picture of Panem. We get to see those who control the games (instead of Katniss wondering where the burning, catapulting fire came from, we actually get to see where it came from), conversations between President Snow and Seneca about controlling the games, and even the reaction of District 11 after a certain moment in the book/movie that I can’t give away because it will be a MAJOR spoiler. But, the last moment plays nicely on the unfairness of the games and the perils of being controlled by a wealthy conglomerate.
12. The camera work. At times, you actually feel like you are watching a reality TV show, in a sickening, true-to-the-book way.
13. Getting to see Gale’s reactions to Katniss and Peeta’s romance, however true or fake it is. I literally said out loud, “I always wondered how he was reacting” when they showed his face after their first kiss.
14. The cast. Who knew Josh Hutcherson was so good? Jennifer Lawrence is, of course, amazing, and Stanley Tucci—two thumbs up. You have to see it to believe it. Even Lenny Kravitz impressed me.
15. It stays mostly true to book. What more can be said. Oh, except:
Suck it, Twilight. You have new competition.