“The Hunger Games” doesn’t live up to the book

Theatrical release poster for The Hunger Games

By Alyssa Rychener – Horizon News and Features Editor

The movie opens with scenes filled with people donning multicolored hair piled atop their head, extravagant dresses and suits in vibrant pinks and blues, and grotesque white faces with lips and eyes painted garishly. These are the privileged people of the Capital.

Contrast that with the dirt roads, dilapidated wood cabins, electric fences, and haggard looking residents of District 12 and you begin to understand the injustice that guides the story, and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the movie’s heroine.  From the beginning, director Gary Ross brings Suzanne Collin’s book “The Hunger Games” to life.

The nation of Panem is located in what used to be the United States. The Capitol is a city of prosperity while the other 12 districts, under the Capitol’s rule, are working hard for basic necessities. Every year the nation participates in the Hunger Games, a tournament used by the capitol to maintain their power and instill a dose of fear throughout the districts. In these games, one girl and one boy is picked from each district to fight to the death on live TV.

This year, Katniss steps in for her little sister Prim to play in the games. While she’s sure there is little to no chance of her survival in the games, she knows she must try. By the time the games begin, Katniss has been rated as a top contender, and she must consider what it means to be a source of entertainment for the Capitol while fighting for humanity at the same time.

The high popularity of “The Hunger Games” trilogy gave the movie the hype that it needed.  Opening weekend it topped box office charts, bringing in $152.5 million. It is now ranked number three (behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” and “The Dark Knight”) in all-time biggest film debuts.

Although it received high ratings, viewers that had read the book came out a little disappointed. Readers could not complain that the movie changed too much of the book, but there was a lack of depth that the book had offered. While the book allows the reader to see into Katniss’ thoughts and debates, the movie shows little of the internal struggles she has. Much of the background was left to be inferred, making some parts, especially the beginning, confusing for those that had not read the book beforehand.

What was done right in this movie was the attention to detail in all parts of the set. The book came alive on screen, especially through setting design and costumes, as it should have considering the $80 million Lionsgate spent on the movie.

“The Hunger Games” is a well made and entertaining movie, but it can be added to the list of movies not to compare to the book.

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