My adventure with The Hunger Games began a few years ago while paying my outstanding fine at the public library. I crossed paths with the book in the ‘featured’ section. Given the previous recommendation from a friend, and since I was already at the library, I thought, “why not?”. So I picked up The Hunger Games, and didn’t put it down until I turned the last page.
The Hunger Games takes place in a post-apocalyptic North American society called Panem, composed of 13 impoverished districts governed by a totalitarian government, The Capital. Due to the uprising and rebellion of District 13, The Capital obliterated District 13, and created the Hunger Games to discourage future uprisings. As a reminder, each year a boy and girl from every district are chosen as a ‘tribute’ to participate in the Hunger Games–a battle to the death. The last tribute alive is declared the winner, and is rewarded with a year’s supply of food for their district. This story focuses on Katniss Everdeen, the female tribute from District 12 and her story of survival.
Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, has created a masterpiece that will probably start circulating through school curriculum in the next few years. Her book touches on issues of poverty, violence, materialism, relationships, power, oppression, politics, love, consumerism, and the effect of media, just to name a few. She creates a reality that parallels that of our own and makes you question whether our society could become like Panem. Due to the increasingly materialistic culture and heavy social media influence in society, this story is very applicable to present-day culture and should be taken seriously. If anything, the themes and ideas resonate as somewhat of a warning of what may become of us.
While watching the movie, I was skeptical, but Gary Ross hit the mark on this one. Aside from a few minor changes that have no effect on the series, it stayed true to the books. Not only did Ross do justice to the book, but he creatively provided enough information throughout the movie for those that have never read the book. What made a huge difference was the casting. Jennifer Lawrence (The Winter Bones, X-Men), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids are Alright), and Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) accurately and creatively portrayed the characters of Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Gale Hawthorne. Despite the minimal dialogue throughout the second half, these actors beautifully displayed the emotions of their characters. Every fan of the book/series will be thoroughly satisfied. The only complaint I had was the shaky camera effect, especially in the first few minutes of the film. It was, perhaps, used to give the audience the effect of confusion and distress, but became quite annoying at times.
There’s a strong element of sacrificial love throughout the series. One of the major theme within the story is that hope is stronger than fear. We can very much relate this to themes in the Bible and the words of Jesus. I remember while reading the books, I thought to myself, “If I had to be in The Hunger Games, which tribute would I want to emulate?” How do I want to be remembered when I have left this earth? How do we represent ourselves in times of distress and unfortunate circumstances. Essentially, this story should cause individuals to reflect on their own lives. It definitely makes you question where you invest your time and efforts. Is your house and closet full, but your heart empty?
Overall, the movie exceeded my expectations, and I can say I was pleasantly surprised. Keep that in mind, there are scenes of violence and killing in this film, so have some discretion when deciding whether to take younger children to watch this movie. Other than that, everyone should watch the movie or read the books because there are some powerful messages in this story. I could probably write an entire thesis about the parallels between The Hunger Games and society today, but don’t worry, I’m not going to. Happy Hunger Games, everyone!
“Where you invest your love, you will invest your life.” –Awake My Soul / Mumford & Sons
Pamela Emmatty graduated from McMaster University in 2010 majoring in Life Sciences and minoring in Linguistics. Currently, she’s taking a couple of years off to explore what’s out there and find her niche.