Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Taste of THE HUNGER GAMES: A Look at the Trailer & The Phenomenon

A young adult series suddenly reaching a massive audience and then getting turned into a blockbuster movie: sound familiar?

Meet: The Hunger Games.  In this series of three novels, Katniss Everdeen, a particularly unlikable protagonist, sets off to participate in an annual event called the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games are a gruesome spectacle in which two children from each “district,” like a state, are forced to fight to the death until only one reminds.  In the end, Katniss finds that her opponents are not only the other 23 competitors, but the Empire itself.  The books themselves received widespread popularity, if not memorable critical acclaim.  And soon, these books will become movies – all starting with The Hunger Games, set to debut in theaters March, 2012.  The following is a trailer for the movie.

I’m beyond trying to compare a set of books to its Hollywood interpretation.  Although the desire to compare is tempting, the reality is this: the books and the movies have two overlapping but different audiences.  Die-hard fans will only read the books.  Casual fans and non-readers will only watch the movies. But young adult literature enthusiasts, dystopian fiction fans, and those like me – with a tendency to obsess over fictional worlds delivered in series (I have to admit my bias and say I read books sometimes only because they come in series) – will read the books, see the movies, participate in the online buzz surrounding the new release, know all the names of the actors for the characters, complain where the book deviates from the movies, complain that Katniss is portrayed as too pretty, re-read the books again, and then one more time to pass the time, download the soundtrack before it’s even released… what?  Oh, right, anyway.

The internet is a great place to snoop for details about the upcoming movie, and I’ve been doing just that.  I was disappointed in the casting, unsatisfied by the love triangle portrayal, unsure of how the violence would be depicted… in short, I was furious.  I even considered going to see the movie the night of the release instead of the midnight showing, which I consider to be the ultimate insult.  But then… then I saw the trailer.  And I saw Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) talking to Katniss, and Katniss’ smug attitude, and Peeta being all sweet and revolutionary at the same time… and suddenly, it all came together.  The movie will probably be terrible compared to the books.  But, hey.  It might be a good movie after all.

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