An American dystopian science fiction film series "The Hunger Games" ("The Hunger Games" (2012), "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" (part 1 and 2)) is a huge financial success and gains millions of fans all over the world. Today Katniss Everdeen,"a girl on fire" is known as well as Harry Potter, "a boy with a scar". But if you haven't watched the movies and even haven`t read the novels, keep reading and you may want to do so!
I didn't read the novels when the first one appeared in 2008, nor in 2012, when the first movie came out. The first time I heard about the movie was in the second half of 2014 when the first part of the Mockingjay was going to be released. My friends were even surprised I didn't watch it! And when they told me about all the districts under the totalitarian regime, the games and the rebellion I was thrilled and soon watched all the three parts of the movie that were available at that moment. Of course, after watching the movies I want to read the novels to see how the book with the same script can engage me...
The Hunger Games film series, which is based on the novels of the same name written by Suzanne Collins, consists of four films entitled The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2 parts). (Do you remember the last book of the Harry Potter series divided into two parts? The same story.)
The actions take place in a dystopian future. The totalitarian nation of Panem (North America in the past) is divided into 12 districts, every of which has its own industry. The Capitol of Panem is cruel to all of them, and while people in the Capitol live a luxury life, people of all the districts are starving to death.
A rebellion that happened 74 years ago initiated by District 13 (which was destroyed after the rebellion), now called the "Dark Days" and in order to make people fear even more, was invented a punishment. On Reaping day, every district has to choose one boy and one girl (ages 12 to 18) by lottery to fight to death in an annual national televised event "The Hunger Games". All the "Tributes" have to fight until the last one remains. The "winner" (survivor) can be only one and the reward is the life "in peace", "without troubles and needs".
While all the citizens of Panem are made to watch how kids kill each other and the parents have to accept the deaths of their sons and daughters, the citizens of the Capitol enjoy watching the live TV show. Moreover, before the games start, all the participants are going through the hands of stylists, cosmetologists in order to get ready to the Opening Ceremonies, where the crowd of the fans of the Hunger Games can see their favorites from different districts. Then all the "tributes" are taken to the Training Center where they will train and show their skills to the potential sponsors who can save their favorites from the death on the arena by sending vital supplies they will need.
"The Hunger Games" isn't just a movie for your "entertainment", and if you are thrilled because you want to see only the Hunger Games, then you hardly understand that this one isn't about the pictures of cruelty, but rather about the harsh true in our life. The control and monitoring by government using technology, the violence in video games, TV programs, the falsity and violence of the TV shows that some people watch with amusement, the rebellion with hope for a better future, the horrible cost of thousands and millions lives in the war... there are the issues we face every day and this is what this movie is about.
May all the odds be ever in your favor
Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old girl from District 12, and her sister Prim, who is only twelve years old, are called to participate in the lottery on the Reaping Day, as anyone else of their ages. Everyone is frightened, pale and numb as goes to the scene where the two cards will define who will be sentenced to death this year. This is the first year Prim takes part in this lottery, and her sister, one of those that have already taken part in the lottery countless amount of times (for food their family desperately needed), tries to calm down her, as she is so small, and this is the first year for her, so everything will be ok – nobody`s going to choose her name. But the card that is pulled out from the hundreds of others is the one on which the name of Prim is written... Katniss volunteers to take place of her sister, she wouldn't be able to get over the loss of her sibling. Peeta Mellark, a baker`s son that once saved Katniss and her family from starving, is chosen to be the second 'Tribute' from District 12. No one of them can think about surviving, as everyone knows there will be lots of stronger representatives, some of whom have prepared for the games for their whole lives and are willing to kill others to become a "winner".
May the odds be NEVER in your favor
Katniss's attitude to the games and to the other tributes, the ending of the 74th Hunger Games (when the rules were broken and survived both – star-crossed lovers from District 12) provoked a chain reaction that has inspired millions of rebels in almost all of the districts. The mockingjay pin the Katniss wears becomes the symbol of the rebels, and Katniss its hero. In Catching Fire, the second film in the series, President Snow announces the Quarter Quell (the 75th Hunger Games) in which one male and one female is required from every district but at this time the winners. The winners of the previous games are forced to survive again. Of course, this is the new idea of the dictator to stop the rebels...Katniss teams up with several other tributes and in such a way forms a great alliance which will help to save each other and escape the death...escape the arena...break the system...
In the last two parts of this series, Katniss is mockingjay, the hero of the revolution, the symbol of the rebellion. After the 75th Hunger Games Katniss is rescued by the rebel forces of District 13. Yes, people of the district that was destroyed for their uprising in the past survived, went underground and lived all these years with no sunshine, but with hope in their hearts, waiting for the 'right moment' and preparing to the new rebellion.
People rising, people dying for hope... In this revolution, lots of children and adults are dying, and the District 12 is destroyed since the last games are finished... No more spoilers. But the scenes that open right before our eyes are really terrifying – burnt homes of millions of citizens...burnt districts...
Interesting to know
- Suzanne Collins, the writer of the three novels, says that she drew inspiration from different sources. One of them was the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Minos forces Athens to sacrifice seven boys and girls to the Minotaur, which kills them in the labyrinth.) Being a child, Collins was stunned by the cruelty in this story. Another source was the Roman gladiator games.
- Collins described the fearful sensations she experienced when her father was fighting in the Vietnam War.
- As we know from the books and movies, Katniss's father died years ago in a coal mine, and as her mother was in shock, and Prim was small, she had to hunt to survive. It seems she knows everything about wildlife, hunting and survival techniques. Collins knew some of this from her father, who grew up in the Great Depression and had to hunt. But a large stack of wilderness survival guidebooks was also a great help.
- Do you remember the gesture? A raised up hand with three middle fingers pressed together was used in trilogy to express unity with people trying to survive, was used by anti-government protesters in Thailand in 2014 (some of them were arrested for it).
I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.
— Suzanne Collins
Visually, 'The Hunger Games' is great too. Though there're cruel scenes, but due to the right focus of the camera, I wasn`t terrified that much to close my eyes and never open them again. I want to repeat one more time: though there IS violence on the arena, the purpose of the movie isn't to show the cruel scenes, but rather to tell the story of the revolution, the hope and to remind us of today's problems in our society. The actors are amazing and the whole work is awesome, in my opinion. The novels show us Katniss's thoughts and guesses. We can only guess, as Katniss does, what is going on behind the arena during the games: what are doing the gamemakers, the President Snow... but the movie makes it possible to see the whole picture.