All over social networking sites, the phrase, “And may the odds be ever in your favor” could be seen,as fans anticipated the midnight showing of “The Hunger Games” at the Cinema Center on Route 11. The theatre was full of fans waiting to see the film, the line even stretching outside of the theatre doors. Many girls had their hair in Katniss’ signature braid, some dawned her famous Mockingjay pin, and some even dressed as characters.
“The Hunger Games” was highly anticipated by fans of the book, and made over $155 million its opening weekend, making it the third-biggest opening weekend of all time.
For those unfamiliar with the series, “The Hunger Games” takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America. The Capitol oppresses the people of Panem, split into 12 districts, and each year forces two tributes from each district, one boy and one girl, to fight in an arena to the death in a yearly event televised throughout all of Panem.
The film begins with a brief description of the history of the Games, and then proceeds to bring us to the Capitol. The audience is then witness to life in District 12, the home of the main character, Katniss Everdeen.
At this point, the story becomes emotional. The audience gets a look into the lives of the people of the districts, and we become attached to Katniss. After seeing a glimpse of her relationship with her sister, Prim, it’s obvious why she volunteers herself in Prim’s place during the annual reaping, the ceremony where the tributes are chosen.
As the audience is taken on a journey through the process of preparing a tribute, and then watching them enter the arena, we are given insight into the production of the Games. This is something entirely new for everyone, not just those unfamiliar with the books.
The books are written from the first person point of view, so readers never experienced how heavily the Capitol influenced everything that happens in the arena. The way the movie showed the Capitol sitting around in a circle, deciding the fate of the tributes, further drove home the point that, for the Capitol, this event was not only for making sure the citizens know they are at the mercy of the government, but also that they are nothing more than pawns in a game for the Capitol’s entertainment.
One thing that was particularly well done in the film was the revealing of information. Readers of the books are given all information from Katniss, but we don’t have that insight in the film. When certain things are introduced, such as the “tracker jacker,” a very poisonous wasp mutation, the film goers are given the information from the game commentators, as if we are watching a broadcast of the Games, rather than a film about one character.
A few notable things about the film are the lack of gore and the costumes. When the games begin, there are 24 tributes. Through the course of the film 22 are killed. The film doesn’t go into detail showing the deaths, but just allows the audience to know that a child was killed. A nice touch with the costume was the constant presence of a braid in Katniss’ hair. Her signature style is one braid over her right shoulder, but as she is styled for the games, her hair is changed. In nearly every style, there is always a braid present, even if it is just a very small braid in her long, curly brown hair.
The movie runs for nearly 2 ½ hours, but there is so much action throughout the film, it flies by. The film captures the essence of the books well. It is about survival. It’s not about a love triangle between Katniss, her best friend Gale, and fellow tribute Peeta. We are shown the lengths that any person would do to save their own life.
“The Hunger Games” is the first in a trilogy. The second installment of the series, “Catching Fire,” is due to be released on November 22, 2013.