I went along to see the Hunger Games, without knowing anything about the story line, not having read the book and therefore no expectations.
From the previews and ads I had seen I was quite hesitant about how gruesome it would be.
The movie starts slow, without much explanation in relation to when it is set, what year or why they are lined up to be ‘selected’ for the games. Not having read the book it is relatively hard to follow in the beginning.
In short the government asserts its authority over the small towns by selecting one boy and one girl from each ‘district’ 24 teenagers in all; to compete annually in a reality TV show called 'The Hunger Games'. The teenagers are chosen at random from a bowl containing everyone’s names, not dissimilar to the lottery. The chosen 24 are then abandoned in a futuristic wilderness, only one can win and this is the last one left alive.
The story centres around a tough young lady, Katniss Everdeen who offers herself to the games in the place of her younger sister whom is originally choosen. There are many challenges that they face over the course of the game; what skills each ‘player’ has to survive, who is popular with the spectators/audience (the audience watching can sponsor people involved in the game by sending them tools of survival), who will form alliances, who may be falling in love? The contrast between the dull, plain districts and the bright, fascinating city is incredible. The director has done a great job capturing the differences in class and culture. I was very pleasantly surprised that the violence was minimal and easy to watch (allowing it’s PG-13 rating).
The story is well set up and you can’t help but notice the similarities between the reality TV shows we now see on TV and the reality TV show created in this movie. The way those that are involved and controlling what happens to the contestants in the hunger games manipulating the world around them to generate more interest and viewers is not dissimilar to our current reality shows such as Big Brother and The Biggest Loser, you cant help but wonder if this is where we may be heading in the next 10-20 years.
Although the movie is long (running for approx. 142 minutes) you don’t notice until you leave theatre. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and the ending leaves you feeling that although the games may not be over, it is not the end of the story.
I went and bought the book almost immediately, to compare and indulge in the story again and, as books usually do, enjoyed the detailed original and bits that may have been missed in the movie. Well worth a look.