Film adaptations of books usually do not perform well. With the amount of information that is supplied to the reader it is very difficult to not only create the visual world being described (as every readers’ perception of the story will be different in their mind), but in most occurrences, there is far too much to fit into 130 minutes of screen time. The Harry Potter series was a wonderful example of this where those that hadn’t read the books enjoyed the wizarding fun, while the fanatical book lovers were upset when a character developing scene at dinner wasn’t included.
Luckily for everyone in The Hunger Games camp this is not the case.
…its transformation from page to screen has done what very few adaptations have…
For those of you not in the know, The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins. Unlike Twilight that caught the imagination of millions of pining vampire/bestiality lovers, The Hunger Games is a gripping story that attracts readers from every age group. Hailed as the new Harry Potter, its transformation from page to screen has done what very few adaptations have; namely stuck to the source material.
Based on the premise that in the future what is left of North America is now called Panem. The region is split up into 13 poverty-stricken districts that are all ruled by the rich and powerful Capitol. In the past the districts started a rebellion against Capitol and unfortunately lost, meaning that every year two children are picked from each district through a raffle wherein they will be sent to compete in The Hunger Games, a battle royale where only one can survive. It’s all done as a degree of control and in the film the heroin, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), sees her younger sister picked and so volunteers to take her place. Along with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) they enter the game and fight for their lives.
…The source material is rich and this has been produced in startling accuracy to the cinema screen…
Now to say anything else would just plainly ruin the movie. If you haven’t read the book then either read it and watch or watch it then read it. The source material is rich and this has been produced in startling accuracy to the cinema screen. The casting was perfect with other great actors like Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and even Lenny Kravitz as the captivating Cinna thrown in the film works marvellously.
As a whole experience I was blown away by the scale and feeling that the film conveyed, and the only downside I can see to the film was that at 2 and a half hours I was bursting for the loo. Other small critiques are the pacing, as tension is built up incredibly well for the first two hours and then in the last half we are rushed through a vicious battle. Of course the director would have to establish the background and world of Panem, but for a film that centres on fighting the experience could have been drawn out.
…A small problem, but one perhaps they will remedy in future instalments of the franchise…
Lastly (and this is a small nitpick) in the book you almost can feel Katniss’s hunger and dehydration over and over again. But in the film this wasn’t brought up at all and I think this was a key point in the novel that showed the dire situation and desperation that Katniss, and the other tributes faced. A small problem, but one perhaps they will remedy in future instalments of the franchise.
If you are going to see a film then see The Hunger Games. If you liked the book then go and be amazed. If you didn’t read the book, go and be amazed. The only downside that I found to the whole experience is that we will have to wait another year and a bit for the sequel.
Images courtesy of ThinkJam