Seeing the Story – The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ross, G., Collins, S., Ray, B., Jacobson, N., Kilik, J., Lawrence, J., Hutcherson, J., … Lions Gate Home Entertainment. (2012). The hunger games. Santa Monica, Calif: Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Reasons for Watching: I read The Hunger Games Trilogy a couple of years ago. Of course, I had to see the first movie!

Summary : Set in a bleak future, the nation of Panem consists of twelve poor districts controlled by the very powerful Capitol. The nefarious President Snow (Donald Sutherland) rules Panem with absolute control. Due to a long ago rebellion, the Capitol forces the districts to take part in the Hunger Games – a televised fight to the death. Annually, each district must send a teenage boy and girl, selected by lottery, to participate.  When sixteen-year old Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) twelve-year old sister Prim (Willow Shields) is selected in District 12, Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the boy from District Twelve are sent to compete against other tributes. With the help of past winner Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), and Capitol escort Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), Katniss aims to survive.

Book to Movie Adaptation : As author Suzanne Collins worked on the screenplay, the spirit of the film remained true to the book. Of course, there were some key differences.

The largest one is the point of view. All the books are narrated by Katniss. While Katniss tells readers what she thinks is happening, the movie lacks Katniss’ narration/voice-over. So, in the movie, characters such as President Snow have larger roles. Also, viewers can see the people in the districts watching and reacting to The Hunger Games as well as the Game Center Techs at work.

Other characters, such as Madge Undersee, aren’t in the movie In the book, it’s Madge who gives Katniss the emblematic pin of the mockingjay. The dynamic between the Everdeen and Mellark families and their places in the social strata of District 12 didn’t make the film.  

For more spoiler-esque differences, check out The Hunger Games Wiki’s listing at this link.

Review : My imagination ran wild while I read the books. I was quite pleased, though. It definitely is violent but done tastefully and I marveled at the casting. Some of my favorites were Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman, and Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss). I was only disappointed by the filmmakers leaving out Madge.

Four Out of Five Pearls 

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Trilogy

Collins, S. (2008). The hunger games. New York: Scholastic Press. 0439023483

Collins, S. (2009). Catching fire. New York: Scholastic Press. 0439023491

Collins, S. (2010). Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic Press. 0439023511

Numerous colleagues of mine recommended The Hunger Games trilogy. It wasn’t until there was the possibility of seeing Suzanne Collins at the Texas Library Association Conference that I picked up the first book, also called The Hunger Games. While I didn’t see or meet Ms. Collins, I did read all three books. I was able to check out and read all three of these books through HCPL.

In the bleak, and hopefully, preventable future, there is Panem. Panem is where the U.S. used to be. This country consists of a rich, powerful capital (set in the Rockies) and thirteen poorer districts. Each district provides some resource for the Capital. Long before the beginning of the first book,  there was a rebellion against the Capitol.  The Capitol regained control. So,  annually, one teenage boy and one teenage girl from each district are randomly and sacrificed to the Hunger Games. This is a televised event where the participants, or “tributes”, must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. This is sort of reality TV meets the nightmare of the gladiators. In District 12, the coal mining district (formerly Appalachia) lives our narrator, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is sixteen years old girl who has been providing for her family since the death of her father. Katniss volunteers  to take the place of her younger sister, Primrose. Her fellow tribute is Peeta Mellark, a boy whom Katniss knows from school and feels she owes.

Without giving too much away, I found the first two novels – The Hunger Games and Catching Fire to be on par. These were addictive page turners and had me reading into the wee hours of the morning. The third one, Mockingjay, didn’t live up to the standards of the other two. While Collins didn’t leave too much in the air with her ultimate book of the trilogy, the action and style of Mockingjay was nearly like watching the grass grow comparatively. Still and all, I’m still thinking about the trilogy.

Four Out of Five Pearls for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

Three Out of Five Pearls for Mockingjay.

Places – Panem (North American dystopia)

Literary Ties – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1984 by George Orwell, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

For more on The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, please check out the following: