4 April 2012

The Hunger Games (film)

Dystopian novels for teens are definitely trending at the moment, and it's all to do with this gem of a trilogy. Being a huge fan of the genre already (both Adult and YA), I practically swallowed the novels whole. I can safely say that they are fantastic for a person of any age and, somewhat controversially, any gender too.

So, when I heard that the film was coming out, I was worried. Very worried. Hollywood had already crashed and burned all over my beloved 'Northern Lights' - they had created a monster of a film called 'The Golden Compass' in it's place. But, surprisingly, 'The Hunger Games' actually left me with an even clearer message than the books had about reality TV, politics and privacy.

The book follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen as she bravely volunteers, in the place of her 12-year-old sister, in the 74th Annual Hunger Games. The film is NOT to be confused with the events of the film Battle Royale, which, although it has a very similar basic idea (ie: children killing each-other), is lacking in any meaning.

What is truly remarkable about this film is that the politics and the main concepts are cleverly depicted in a way that anyone can understand. Even people who have not read the books have come away knowing exactly what was going on. No confusion, just a burning desire to go read the books to find out what happens next. I personally love the way that the 'tracker jackers' have been explained - but you'll have to watch it to know more!

The world itsself has been perfectly realised. It's almost exactly how I imagined it. Readers of the books will be happy to know that the plot is never strayed from, and i believe that some minor discrepancies actually enhance the viewing experience. Plus, it gives those who haven't read it yet a couple of nice surprises. Things I may have wanted to see aren't hugely missed, and things that will turn out to be of importance are put in.

I believe that all the fundamentals of the story are there, as well as parts that I thought were extremely important to put in. There are poignant moments and particular phrases that will really help when making the second, third and fourth films. This may have something to do with the fact that the writer -Suzanne Collins, helped out with writing the film's script, and must have had a very good hold on the production.

I have only one problem. Because the concept is a difficult one, the beginning is somewhat slow. The action doesn't start for a little while, and there is a fair amount of talk. At the very beginning there is a little bit of writing. I advise everyone to read it. If you don't, I guarantee you won't really get the beginning at all. However, don't let that stop you from going. As soon as you get past the blurb, your inquisitiveness gets the better of you and you are catapulted into Panem, the Capitol and The Hunger Games itsself.

The casting was excellent, too. Some fairly well known names like Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Jones and Donald Sutherland played fairly integral characters, which was good as support. But virtual unknowns Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) and Josh Hutcherson (The Vampires Assistant, Journey to the Centre of the Earth) took the lead roles. And may I say that I think these two are destined for good things. Their acting was extremely good, but I think that Hutcherson just gets my top spot for his perfect portrayal of Peeta Mellark. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz is in it, too, for all you music lovers.

Many have dubbed it 'the next big thing', and while I usually don't like that label, I think that they're right. With a film as consistent as this one I think that 'The Hunger Games' franchise could be as successful as Harry Potter, and, if there is any justice in the world, ten times more successful than Twilight.
It's a 9.5 out of 10.

For an excellent list on Young Adult dystopian fiction, please go to THIS blog post. And there are tonnes more, you just have to search them online.