Movies

‘Hunger Games’ adaptation abounds in storyline despite slow progression

By Jackson Santy ’13
THE ROUNDUP

The Hunger Games—Starring: Jennifer Lawrence & Josh Hutcherson

8.5 out of 10

In 2006, the release of the epic, action-packed novel “The Hunger Games” created a pandemic among teen and adult readers alike.

Upon its release, the book printed 50,000 copies, which eventually jolted up twice to 200,000 copies.

By Feb. 11, 2010, “The Hunger Games” sold 800,000 copies.

Today, the book still remains on The New York Times best seller list and the newly released film adaptation sits atop the box office top five.

Set in Panem, a futuristic dystopian society located in the ruins of what used to be North America, a renowned event known as the Hunger Games are held annually.

The hierarchies in the “Capitol” select a boy and girl from the 12 districts of Panem to fight to the death on live television.

After her younger sister is selected via lottery to represent her district, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her sister’s place.

Leading up to the games, Katniss is introduced to many new faces, some friends, others foes.

When word came out early last year that a movie was being made for “The Hunger Games,” like every other avid fan, I was overwhelmed with ecstasy.

This announcement also spurred many of those who had not read the book to hop on the bandwagon in time for the film’s release.

However, despite my ecstasy, I still held on to some skepticism.

At one point or another, we have all been deflated by on-screen productions of our favorite books, as they’ve left us walking out of the theatre nauseated.

Nevertheless, after seeing “The Hunger Games,” every morsel of skepticism I had once held vanished in an instant.

The film itself was entertaining to both followers of the books and newcomers alike.

Something that deterred many viewers was the fact that the movie’s run time was just less than two and a half hours, most of which was plot and character development.

Despite the slow progression, it was thrilling and the acting was better than expected.

Director Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit” and “Big”) captures the raw yet not too distasteful violence, intense emotion and ambitious viewpoint that the book intended.

The film, to my amazement, skipped no major details from the book and even kept in many minute ones, something that many adaptation directors have failed to do.

It goes without saying that the  lead, newcomer actress Jennifer Lawrence, is on the path to a long and prosperous career in Hollywood.

The beginning of Lawrence’s feature film career has been particularly unique compared to the myriad 20-something’s that share the same field.

Lawrence has portrayed herself as a strong, independent female protagonist not only as “The Hunger Games’” Katniss Everdeen but also in her Oscar nominated role for 2010’s “Winter’s Bone.”

Lawrence has tactfully avoided becoming an ogled sex symbol like Megan Fox or Mila Kunis.

No disrespect to Ms. Fox or Ms. Kunis.

Whether or not you read the books, “The Hunger Games” should not be missed while in theatres.

I look forward to the future release of the on-screen versions of the books sequels, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” which are slated to hit the big screen over the next couple years.