MOVIE & BOOK REVIEWS: Hunger Games.
Violence, starvation and an unusual love triangle make up the first volume of The Hunger Games trilogy, a book that will leave you craving the next in the series.
The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, follows Katniss Everdeen who lives in a post-apocalyptic civilization in a fictional country named Panem. The country is divided into 13 “districts” that at one time rose up against the oppressive Capitol, but the rebellion was snuffed out. Now, the leaders of the Capitol force the people of Panem to participate in the Hunger Games. Each district is required to give two “tributes,” one male and one female, to compete in a battle where only one person can survive. Katniss must compete in the games against bloodthirsty teenagers and weak children.
The story is complex, with many different side stories woven in and out of the main plot. Though Collins’ writing style is sometimes awkward, she develops the characters well and ties the elements of the story together in a creative way. She is extremely detailed and projects a vivid image for the reader.
Because this is the first book of a trilogy, the ending is left open with many things unresolved. Still, Collins manages to conclude the main story in a way that satisfies the reader, though she leaves them wondering what is to come in the next installment.
With a story that has so many elements it’s not surprising that the movie left much to be desired. As much detail as possible was crammed into almost two and a half hours, but several key moments and dialogues had to be cut out.
It felt like every moment was being rushed through to get to the next scene. People who have read the book will expect much more depth from the film and for those who haven’t read, it will seem fast-paced and confusing.
Although the movie was unsuccessful at relaying the story, the costumes and makeup make it visually appealing. They don’t hold back in dressing frivolous Capitol citizens in colorful clothes and hysterical hairstyles. In contrast, the tributes wear no makeup in the arena, which makes them look natural and young.
Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, already has an Oscar nomination under her belt for Best Actress in the 2010 film, Winters Bone. Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) plays the sweet, lovelorn Peeta Mellark. Well-known actors such as Woody Harrelson (Indecent Proposal), Donald Sutherland (Six Degrees of Separation) and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) fill out the remaining characters.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed a record $155 million, falling just behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight.
The Hunger Games book will leave readers with a voracious appetite for the rest of the story, but the movie will leave viewers with a taste of dissatisfaction.