Thursday, 15 March 2012

Why I Love The Hunger Games

I know it's a bore when someone goes on and on about how the book is better than the film.  Well I'm not going to do that... yet.  But don't be surprised if there are millions of people moaning about the Hunger Games adaptation soon after it comes out. 

I was late onto the bandwagon (as usual) but as soon as I heard the synopsis of the film, I thought it sounded like a great story and a book worth reading before the release of the film.  So I got the trilogy for Christmas and read the first part in February.  I expected I would be finishing it just in time for the release of the movie on 23rd March but actaually got through it in less than a week.  It's nail-biting, excrutiatingly exciting stuff.

I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read it but I do want to share with you my excitement over one of my new favourite books.  Here's a brief synopsis:

'The Hunger Games details a world where the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem, which was once North America, forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which Tributes must fight with one another until one survivor remains.'


In case you don't know, the protagonist is a young woman called Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence).  She is from District 12 and offers herself as 'tribute' to save her youngest sister from being forced into the brutal annual Hunger Games.  Katniss is skilled with the bow and arrow due to her years spent illegally hunting in the woods around her district.  She is feisty, independent, brave, clever and caring.

There have been lots of comparisons with Twilight.  Both The Hunger Games and Twilight are based on hugely successful books for young adults.  Both have a female protagonist with possibilities of romance with a pair of young studs.  But hopefully that's where the comparisons end.  The Hunger Games is far from soppy.  Yes there is the possibility of a love triangle but at least in the first book, this is the last thing on the heroine's mind and love is a luxury that she cannot afford.


In fact one of the most interesting things about the book is it's heavily feminist slant.  Ok so Katniss is tarted up for the Hunger Games opening ceremony but so are the male tributes.  Jennifer Lawrence may be stunningly gorgeous but she can also have a face like thunder with determined eyes and a frequent scowl that show her character's brave and thoughtful nature.  Just watch Lawrence's captivating and fierce performance in Winter's Bone to eliminate any doubts about whether she can handle the role of Katniss.

Katniss lost her father in a mine accident and has since been providing food for her starving family.  She hunts animals in the woods, barters with traders in the market and takes care of her little sister.  She is excellent with a bow and arrow and has had no time for love in her short life so far, despite spending a lot of time roaming the woods with her male best friend.

When she volunteers to enter the Hunger Games, she is taken away from her family and her hunting buddy Gale and thrown together with the district 12 male tribute Peeta.  He might be falling in love with her but Katniss has no illusions about the way the Hunger Games work.  It's kill or be killed and there is no chance for alliances and partnerships to survive in a battle to the death.

To say anymore would be to ruin it.  All I will say is that Katniss is no damsel in distress.  She is a born survivor and will do what it takes to get back to her family.  Let the Games begin...


The Hunger Games may have been compared to Twilight but it is so much more.  And judging by what they are saying over at Anomalous Material, The Hunger Games is going to open a can of whoop-ass all over the latest installment of that franchise.  I for one hope they are right.

If you're still thinking that it sounds crap, soppy, for kids, for girls or whatever, here's my top 5 list of reasons why you should jump aboard the Hunger Games bandwagon RIGHT NOW!

1.  Awesome female hero.  Could be as cool as Ripley and Sarah Connor.

2. It may not be the most orginal story in the world but it's been influenced by some great films and books: 1984, Battle Royale, The Running Man, Series 7: The Contenders to name a few.  Dystopian futures don't come much better realised or much more dystopian than this!

3. The casting is brilliant.  Lawrence is perfect; tough and beautiful for the boys while the two guys (Hutcherson and Hemsworth) add sex appeal for the ladies.  Donald Sutherland is in there as the President, Woody Harrelson as a former Hunger Games winner, Stanley Tucci as a TV host and Lenny Kravitz appears as Katniss' stylist.

4. The violence.  Yes they've just cut it to get a 12A rating but at least it's not a PG and you never know, perhaps one day they will relase a 15 rated version.  Anyway when the story is about kids as young as 12 fighting to the death in a specially designed arena filled with mutated creatures and brutal weaponry, I can understand the need to go easy on the gore.  When some of these kids get nailed, it's going to have an impact on the audience, whether you see the gore or not!  Trust me.

5. The contemporary relevance.  Reality TV, exploitation, the rising up of the masses.  Whilst reading the book, you are constantly reminded of the parallels with today's reality TV and society.  It really does not seem so far-fetched as the story takes in the savagery of audiences and producers alike.







So there you have it.  I've unleashed my inner teenager and screamed and fainted over the latest franchise.  I'm saving the remaining two books in the trilogy for after I see the first film and I'm hoping like hell that they are as good as the first book.  The UK premiere was last night so the reviews will be coming in shortly.  If you fancy a pretty quick and easy read, you've got a week to get through the book before the release of the film.  It will be worth it.


Who else will be seeing this as soon as possible and why do you love The Hunger Games?

MORE ON THE HUNGER GAMES:

What is The Hunger Games trilogy really all about?

Katniss consoles sister in new Hunger Games Catching Fire image

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Why Jennifer Lawrence deserves Hunger Games best actress award

Other Dystopian visions of the future 

 

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22 comments:

  1. Nice Post. You summed up quite neatly.

    I am not too keen on Young Adult novels. This probably was my first one but I have read all 3 now and I can say with absolute certainty that this is nothing like that Twilight Shit. The book was quite a page-turner and from the looks of cast, movie will be equally good.

    I am definitely watching it some time next weekend.

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  2. Yeah Young Adult novels can be dreadful. I never bothered with Harry Potter and Twilight. I've heard a lot of negativity about the writing, the stories and I'm not keen on the films but The Hunger Games just sounded too awesome not to give a try. I can't believe it's aimed at 'young adults'. I really think anyone could read it and love it. I feel the same about the 'Tomorrow When the War Began' series of books. Though the film was squarely aimed at teens unfortunately!

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  3. Can't wait to read the book and see the movie! All this hype, it better be good ahah ;) I'm afraid it resembles Battle Royale too much.

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    1. It does a lot! But it's still bloody brilliant... honest!

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  4. Great post and I agree with everything you said!

    I read the books last summer and fell in love with them. The second one is just as better (especially the second part), but the third is a little dissapointing! You should definitely read the other ones, as well!

    Can't wait to see the movie!

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    1. Thanks Diana, great to hear you enjoyed the second and third parts so much. Must keep my expectations sensible for the last one then! I will start on 'Catching Fire' as soon as I've seen the film!

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  5. Awesome post! I'm with you that I was late onto the bandwagon, but I've only read the first book so far. Good thing I haven't seen Battle Royale so it feels 'original' to me. Heck when you think about it, ANYTHING one makes these days is bound to have similarities to something done in the past, but it doesn't mean it can't still be good! I'm excited for this, just a week away, yay!

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    1. Exactly right! I don't care how unoriginal it is when it's got a character like Katniss and when the world of the book is as well thought through as it is here!

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  6. HAHA Brilliant article matey.

    I haven't read a single book.... mainly because i believe I am like 20 years to old, and therefore would look pretty stupid with copy of this in my hands on the train (if I ever caught a train)

    I am seeing the film on Monday, so I will report back with a score!

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    1. No Scott DO IT I'm sure you will enjoy them! Look forward to seeing your review, really hope they don't mess this up!

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    2. @ Scott, hey matey you're only as old as you feel! I'm about your age and I loved the book!

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  7. I'm so happy you're aboard this bandwagon, Pete!

    As for being "late," I would almost call you early since the film hasn't been released yet. I read all three books last summer, and even then, they hadn't reached the popularity that they are now (which can get annoying when the marketing gets stupid).

    I was reading how Suzanne Collins was flipping the TV channels and went from a channel regarding the war in Iraq to a channel with a reality show on it. And that's where the idea for her started for The Hunger Games.

    I'm totally with you that it's been largely compared to Twilight, but that it goes far beyond a love triangle. I haven't read the Twilight books (and don't really intend to), because the content doesn't appeal to me. The Hunger Games goes a lot more in depth and the characters are just better written.

    I enjoyed this, Pete! Are you on Facebook? I'll be posting the link for this post on mine.

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    1. Hey Kristin, yeah me too! Great books, hopefully a great film! Yeah I read that stuff about Collins channel flipping too! She'a great writer. I love the characters, I love how the romance is actually not what it might first seem and how the first book ends and I love the world she's created. I am on facebook, not as I Love That Film but as Peter Turner. Thanks for posting the link, I appreciate it!

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  8. I just know that I'm going to be sucked into this franchise and end up loving it, but I'm almost certain to wait a week before I see it, just so I don't have to deal with the crowds. I do have to admit that the older casting choices are what intrigue me the most, even if they aren't the main focus of the film.

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    1. Fair enough, it is some good casting. But I reckon you will be sucked in by the story. Well I hope so anyway! It's a great world and a great set of characters Collins has created!

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  9. Really looking forward to checking this out. Loved Lawrence in Winters Bone. At this point I am not even going to bother to attempt to read the books. Nice Post

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    1. It's worth it I promise. You could still sneak one in before the film is released! They're a pretty quick read!

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  10. Not knowing anything about the source novel, the Twilight comparisons fill me with fear. I hope they are entirely different types of films - from the trailer, I thought The Hunger Games looked far more adult than young adult. And I'm really looking forward to it. Jennifer Lawrence is a top actress and I love the premise of the story.

    Thank you for shedding a little more light on the story. Not long until release now.

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    1. Yeah it's basically a very adult story but with teens as the central characters and the only similarity with Twilight (as far as I know) is the love triangle thing. But it's a very interesting dynamic in The Hunger Games. It's not all about love... much more about loyalty, survival and even a bit of manipulation. It's awesome!

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  11. Nice post, althugh the trailers are so off putting I think I'm going to catch this one on DVD.

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    1. I can actually understand that. I think I'd be a hell of a lot less excited if I haven't read the books. There's a couple of cheesy lines in the trailers but I reckon you might change your mind once you read the reviews maybe.

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