By Michaela Papa, Photography Coordinater
Everybody was clamoring for tickets to The Hunger Games. I thought a more apt way to assign entrance was through putting everybody’s names in a goblet and pulling them out. This would satisfy both Hunger Games lovers as well as the tried and true Harry Potter fans dealing with the rise of another fan club. In any event, every person with a thirst for the blood of children and lust for an appropriate occasion to wear a braid sought tickets to a screening of The Hunger Games.
The movie is based off Suzanne Collins’s book of the same title. With numerous awards recieved, it is safe to say that the story was well-received. Set in the dystopian society of Panem, the twelve districts are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The Reaping decides which boy and which girl will represent his/her district. There is only one victor. The film opens with a few brief title cards to explain the nation of Panem and the establishment of the annual Hunger Games. This was a nice touch which saved time in exposition. The capital instated The Hunger Games in order to maintain “order” in the districts and have them remember who is in charge, and furthermore who protects them. After a tension filled build-up to the reaping full of many hand-held shots and rack-focuses, the first name is called-Primrose Everdeen. She is the sister to the established to-be heroine protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. Yelling out through the blueish, dismal town center of District 12, Katniss volunteers as tribute. She will go to the games in place of her younger sister, Prim.
Katniss, played by the endearing Jennifer Lawrence, is an independent provider for her family through illegal hunting. Her hunting partner is Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth. Other than the simple desire to just see more of Hemsworth, the character of Gale was underdeveloped in comparison to the book. While it’s to be assumed that the book always will delve into details that a movie does not, Gale’s character and his relationship with Katniss was slightly underplayed. It is garnered through held glances and a mutual reliance on each other that Gale and Katniss have a strong bond. Their underlying, hypothetical romantic interest in each other is underscored in the film.
Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, was chosen as the male representative of District 12 in the 74th annual Hunger Games. Upon arriving at the capital the two poverty-stricken representatives from 12, the coal mining district, are in awe of the lavishness of the capital of Panem. They find it hard to bask in the extravagance without being weighed down with the fact that they’re about to go into an arena with 24 other children to compete to the death. The set design and overall production value of the capital was fantastic. It was profligate and excessive in the most fascinating and wonderful way.
Katniss and Peeta received pointers from District 12’s only living tribute, Haymitch Abernathy, played by Woody Harrelson. Despite his incessant state of inebriation and overall coarse demeanor, the viewer can’t help but have a soft spot for Haymitch, smiling each time he calls Katniss “sweet heart.” What story isn’t enhanced with an egregious, love-able drunkard? While Katniss’s odd bond an inherent understanding of Haymitch’s wisdom is more hidden in the portrayal of the games in the film, there is still an apparent connection between the two. They’re both fighters and this will be further explored in upcoming films.
Once in the arena, Peeta and Katniss face their opponents. After seeing many of the Careers, those who train solely for participation in the Hunger Games, training before the games both Katniss and Peeta are concerned with the likelihood that they will ever return home. Peeta’s confession of his love for Katniss during an interview with the overwhelmingly pleasant Ceasar Flickerman is forgotten once in the arena and we see he has joined forces with some of the Careers in a hunt to find Katniss. After scoring an 11 on the skill evaluation, Katniss is deemed a threat. Full of shrewd maneuvers and a plethora of dangers, the Hunger Games rage on.
Criticisms about the movie range. While some argue that the movie leaves out things the book discussed, this is to be expected. The necessary information from the novel was excerpted and interpreted and put into the film. Is it of vital importance that Katniss wore her hair straight down her back in the book and wore it to the side in the film? Not really. Is it necessary to know that District 11 sent Katniss a loaf of bread? Not really. Was the i
ntegrity of the adaptation ruined because of these eliminations? I didn’t think so. As a large fan of the books, I thought the film adaptation of the first Hunger Games book was respectfully and well done. The most abundant criticism seems to be that Rue and Thrash are black. The senseless and vicious murdering of children for sport wasn’t an issue-the real issue lay in the fact that they had dark skin. Hey, America. That’s disturbing. Furthermore, Collins wrote Rue and Thrash as having dark skin, with the ethnicity of Cinna (albeit an overall superfluous detail) ambiguous.
Overall, the 2012 release of The Hunger Games film was exceptionally good. It was an intriguing plot with all the key elements of a solid, compelling story. With the adaptation of a first-person narrative, there were necessary changes in turning a book into a film. Like in, for instance, every case ever, most people will like the book better than they liked the movie. That being said, I think the film can stand alone well. It has characters who are underdeveloped, though that is only relative to their novel selves. While reading about kids being blown up and slashed and gutted is easier to read than watch, I think the film did a good job. Though a kid being murdered for sport is a kid being murdered for sport, it was about as well done as it could be. Those who were connected to the characters through a reading of the book saw the movie for that, while those who hadn’t read the books saw an overall enjoyable, good movie. People need to take it for what it was: A good movie.