Recently, “The Hunger Games” broke box office records when it raked in $155 million and earned its place as the third best opening weekend in history. Many fans were especially excited with the superb acting, closeness to the book, and fantastic action sequences.
When I first read “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins a couple of years ago, I was instantly impressed with not only the plot, but also the great writing which a person from any age group can enjoy. The next two books, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” were also great, and if you liked the first book, I would definitely recommend reading them. The books became instant classics which were perfect to turn into movies because of their fast-paced action, dramatic twists, and intriguing plot. Mockingjay left fans hoping that their favorite book would also become their new favorite movie, and that Hollywood wouldn’t ruin one of their most beloved books when it did.
“The Hunger Games” takes place in a dystopian future in a nation known as Panem, where a single, wealthy Capitol rules over 12 other Districts that each specialize in a certain industry. For example, District One specializes in luxury items, District Seven in lumber, and District Twelve in mining coal. 75 years before the events of The Hunger Games, the (then) thirteen Districts rebelled against the Capitol, but lost, and District Thirteen was destroyed. As punishment, the Capitol takes one girl and one boy (known as tributes) from each District and makes them fight to the death, leaving only one winner. Protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a girl from District 12, volunteers to take her sister’s place as tribute and must survive a bloody battle while trying to save her friend, the other tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) in "The Hunger Games"
I saw The Hunger Games movie last Friday, and I thought it was one of the best movies I have seen so far this year. What makes a good movie for me is an interesting plot and fast paced action sequences. This movie had both: The plot was fresh and new, (some would claim The Hunger Games is a rip-off of the 1990 Japanese novel Battle Royale, but I disagree), and the action scenes were well done and not overly violent. The movie also has other great elements such as romance, special effects, and costumes which others can find enjoyable as well. However, just because there is romance and a female protagonist does not mean that this movie is like Twilight in any way. Many people has compared The Hunger Games to Twilight, however, and I cannot stress this enough, the two movies could not be more different. The Hunger Games has a more interesting plot, more developed characters, and is just generally better than Twilight. Do not let their few similarities get in the way of you seeing this awesome movie.
One of the things I liked best about the movie is that it barely deviated from the book at all. Only a couple of key differences such as (Spoiler Alert!) Katniss buying the mockingjay pin in a District marketplace instead of getting it as a gift from the Mayor’s daughter, the omitting of the avoxes (tongueless Capitol slaves), and the hybrid wolf-dogs not having the genetically engineered eyes of the failed tributes. The movie follows the book very closely, but it practically impossible to get all of the details the same.
Overall, I thought the movie was a big success and followed the book very closely. The acting choices were spot on, even the minor roles. From Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, to Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, to Elizabeth banks as Effie Trinket, all of the roles were cast very well. I also thought the cinematography was great, however some people complain about the “shaky” camera work. However, I did not find this a problem at all, and during the action sequences I felt it added to the level of intensity and panic in the film. The Hunger Games definitely lives up to the hype and I would definitely recommend this movie.