While most of the world was eagerly anticipating the release of the first movie of The Hunger Games series, I was bummed out that this was the only English movie which came to the cinema in India this week. Up until Friday, all I knew about the book is that it fell into the ‘science-fiction’ genre…and hence would never make my reading list. Before you roll your eyes that I hadn’t even attempted to try reading it, I should probably add that I’ve never seen Titanic…or Sound of Music…or read any of the Harry Potter books (the first movie killed it for me)- apparently I don’t go for the big-name movies/novels . But back to The Hunger Games: a couple of my friends were going on Friday night and it was either that or sit at home…I chose the former!
With no idea what I was in for, I spent some time on Friday afternoon reading up about The Hunger Games online. For the minority of you who haven’t read the series, here’s a synopsis…promise no spoilers:
The story is based in the future, in a post-apocalyptic version of the US. The country Panem is divided into the Capitol and 13 districts. Seventy-four years ago, the districts staged a rebellion against the Capitol, and resultantly District 13 was wiped out. To punish the remaining districts of Panem, the Capitol nationally televises Hunger Games. The annual Hunger Games are a no-holds barred fight to the finish among 24 adolescents, representing the 12 districts for the amusement of a television audience (the remaining residents of Panem). In other words, Hunger Games takes reality TV to another (albeit morbid) level. Ultimately, 23 of the participants die and only 1 walks away victorious.
At first hearing that the book was being made into a movie, I assumed that the movie would be another over-hyped, over-glorified teen novel adaptation. How wrong was I! As someone who has not read the book, I thought the movie was amazing, captivating, and completely unpredictable. Despite being 142 minutes long, not once did I look at the time- in fact I was shocked when the intermission came on (cinemas in India always pause the movie halfway through for refreshment breaks). If you too haven’t read it, the good news is that the movie does a great job at world building and character development, and the plot is easy to pick up on. I was quite surprised at some of the brutality and blood baths which the movie showed, but they’re what intensified the movie all the more.
I am glad that I did not read the novel right before the movie (or ever for that matter). I went into the cinema with no expectations and unable to nit-pick whether small details were changed/left out. My friends who I watched it with had both read the book and wished some parts of the book were included or covered more in depth. At the same time, they agreed it was a fantastic adaptation, especially given the impossibility to capture so much detail in such a limited amount time. I am itching to read the trilogy now, and am looking forward to the next movie!
Will the movie be as big as the book? The “odds” are definitely in its favor !
Have you read/seen The Hunger Games? Thoughts?