Last night I went and saw “The Hunger Games” movie at the local theater. Let me first say that I have not (yet) read the books, but they’re on my shortlist after the Stieg Larsson books. But my understanding of the plot is that at some point greater than 74 years prior to the movie, the “country” was divided into 13 districts, with one district being wealthy and affluent, and the rest being not so much. The 12 other districts revolted against the one, and were eventually beat back down. And as penance, each year the 12 revolting districts are forced for “offer” up 1 male and 1 female for a “last man standing” game for the benefit of the affluent colony. Kinda like “The Running Man” only the participants aren’t criminals. Participants for these games are based on a lottery, that is weighted toward people who have used the most resources (seemingly). So if you need extra food, or I’d imagine medical attention, your name ends up entered again into the lottery. I’d imagine if you’re arrested this also ends up as an increased chance of being selected.
Anyway, my understanding is that the books are quite popular, and that they’re aimed at the young adult market (which makes sense, since the movie seemed aimed that way as well, though it still worked for an adult audience). I’ll say I was a bit skeptical since the last series of movies with this kind of fervor were the Twilight movies, which like the books, are pretty terrible (from my limited knowledge). But from what I know of the books, and the author, they are well written, and fairly consistently end up highly regarded on “Best of” lists.
The movie, therefore, didn’t disappoint, even for the uninitiated. The movie starts with some basic introductions of characters, evolves into showing how the main characters get picked for the games, how they get to experience the opulence of the “capital” district. The callousness of the people with regards to the people that die in the games, etc. I’d guess there is no shortage of references to ancient Rome in this regard (or the US). Filming was largely done in North Carolina, so it’s a lot of east coast style wooded areas. Costumes all seemed very, odd. The poor districts all wore clothing from the 1800’s, and the affluent district wore… something. Was actually kind of hideous, but I’d imagine that was the point. The biggest names in the movie were Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Banks (which aren’t exactly high profile actors, but are enjoyable). Acting was well done, story was well written (again, haven’t read the book, so I’m not sure how much it strayed. But I’d imagine it was adapted as “well” as the Harry Potter’s), and even to an outsider, it was enough to keep me interested the whole movie. I found some parts a bit formulaic, but it was never a problem.
All and all, without having read the books, I’m happy with it, and will probably see the sequels (I will have read the books by then).