Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Hunger Games - Minimal Spoilers
First of all, yes, the concept behind the Hunger Games Trilogy is disturbing. For those of you who still know nothing beyond the title, the Hunger Games takes place in an undefined future in which the land has been divided up into districts after a great war. Each district is responsible for one aspect of industry, and they are all ruled from the Capitol. Seventy-four years ago District 13 revolted and was destroyed, and now in order to keep the rest of the districts cowed the Capitol hosts an annual Hunger Games. Each district is required to provide one boy and one girl, ages 12-18, to participate in a contest to the death, with the winner being rewarded with unbelievable riches, and their district receiving many important benefits as well. The books follow one girl, Katniss Everdeen, who competes in the Hunger Games after volunteering to take her little sister's place.
These Hunger Games are incredibly barbaric, and made even more so by the fact that the citizens of the capital see them as the highlight of the year, placing bets and throwing parties and generally having a great time while children die. Honestly? When I first heard about the books and saw them showing up all over the internet I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like them, but I picked the first book up because I was seeing them all over the place and I didn't want to join the internet discussion without having an informed opinion.
I was blown away by the books. They are very well written and not at all what I was picturing. Yes, there is violence and parts that are horrible, but the focus of the books isn't on the violence, it is on the girl, Katniss Everdeen, and actually? Considering the topic, they are no where near as violent as they could be.
I loved the books because they are about people. People that you get to know and love. The author uses the Hunger Games, which are horrific, to highlight how valuable human life really is, which is something missing from a lot of the media today's teens are exposed to. That's not the only good message in these books either. They highlight how ridiculous the obsession with fashion can become, talk about staying true to who you are when others try to change you, and the importance of friendships and family.
Still, I think they could have done a better job with it, the most important thing being that it was a better movie for the fans than it was for people who've never read the books. There were things that I understood, knowing from the books what was going on, that left my husband completely confused.
I also really didn't like the camera work. They used a shaky "realistic" style of camera work in many places that was designed to make you feel like you were looking at the scene in first person. I haven't seen Saving Private Ryan, but my husband tells me it was a lot like that style. I would have been fine with it if they only used that technique a little bit, but I think they over did it. It also left me with a horrible migraine, which is just no fun.
Bottom line? It's was better done than Twilight but not as good as the later Harry Potter movies. If you love the books (and don't get migraines easily) by all means, go see it! You will probably really enjoy it. If you haven't read the books, well you might not like it as much, but it's still not a bad movie.