BratzBasher and I saw The Hunger Games today. I’ve read the books, so I was prepared to be disappointed by the movie adaptation. I was pleasantly surprised. They did a good job of keeping with the spirit of the book. Yeah, they had to edit out a few things, but they managed to cover all the important stuff. I’m especially glad they didn’t focus group it to death — you know, when the movie is just a mishmash of things that will supposedly appeal to various markets?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, the country is divided into thirteen sections: the capital and twelve districts. Ever year, to commemorate the war that resulted in the current government, each of the twelve districts sends two representatives (male and female) between the ages of twelve and eighteen as tributes to the capital. These tributes compete in a battle to the death until just one victor remains. Yeah, gruesome. The victor is promised a life of luxury — plus, in the book, their district receives extra provisions for the year — such as food. When Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen to be the next female tribute for District 12, Katniss volunteers to take her place.
The difference between the capital and the districts is extreme: wealth vs. poverty, excessive indulgence vs. desperate need. The capital is the only region that doesn’t offer a tribute. Instead, the tributes provide entertainment for the citizens of the capital in the form of morbid reality television. People can “sponsor” tributes by providing them with needed supplies such as food and medicine, so there is a need for the kids to play to the audience to gain the sponsors’ favor. As Katniss’ mentor –District 12’s only previous victor — says early on in the movie, you need to make the people like you in order to survive.
I read somewhere about the irony of a book that condemns the mentality behind such “entertainment” being made into a movie that’s intended to entertain. I suppose that’s true to some extent, but I think the message of the book still comes across stronger than the violence. For me, the most memorable scenes are its softest, most human moments.
There’s very little gore, considering how violent the movie had to be. It’s definitely too violent for younger kids. If you ask me, the book is just as scary — if not more so. I knew BratzBasher could handle it. She’s mature enough to see the big picture, and our discussion afterwards proved me right. If you’re worried about it, I’d recommend screening it first.