The Hunger Games
It is a long list, the pieces of fiction that Collins culled through, to create The Hunger Games.
Like so many science fiction fans, count me in here, George Orwell's 1984 provided the foundation for the draconian society that Collins portrayed. Donald Sutherland, as President Snow, proved to be every bit as controlling as Big Brother. There was even a food shortage. The only thing missing was the endless wars as it was the 74th Annual Hunger Games that was the foundation of the lasting peace. The government did force their citizens to watch propaganda like the Hunger Games though.
In order to get the tributes for the Hunger Games, Collins added the iconic short story by Shirley Jackson, The Lottery, for inspiration. On the bullet train from District 12 to the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) met the winner of the 50th Hunger Games Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). Might as well have been Haymitch Munson as it was the anti-protagonist from Kingpin drinking way before noon. Harrelson is a great actor and did not take the role to the depths in which Roy Munson sunk.
The Capitol was out of Artificial Intelligence with its amazing color scheme of the spectacular costumes the citizens wore. The hotel room was borrowed from the state room of Princess Amidala in Star Wars II. They nabbed the wall screen with scenery channel from Back to the Future II. The police reminded me of the authority figures in V for Vendetta.
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was even a part of the puzzle when Katniss and Peeta were called star-crossed lovers. That was on the reality TV portion of the movie as host Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) interviewed all 24 tributes and ended in grand fashion with a love story.
Stanley Tucci was amazing yet again in a supporting role. There will not be a better performance by a supporting actor this year and I hope that is recognized by his peers. Flickerman was the MC that pushed the ratings of the 74th Annual Hunger Games. His smile was of a man who knew so much that he loathed his place in the society he and other ignorant adults had fashioned. A society where kids killing kids was deemed entertainment. A society where the child who survives supplies hope for the outlying districts, all of which supply the glamorous lifestyle of the elitists living in the Capitol.
Then the actual games started. It was like Predators meets Survivor meets Matrix Reloaded meets Star Wars II again then meets The Truman Show plus the climax of The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer.
When I googled Suzanne Collins to write this article/review, the first link said "Gladiator" meets "Project Runway" and that makes sense as well.
The weakest part of the movie was the cinematography. The camera moved far too wildly throughout the first two acts. The best shots are when the camera is a voyeur to the action on the screen. When the camera is used for its movement, a voice is given to what should be a neutral conduit. During action sequences, the camera movement becomes distracting when a nice static shot of a kid chopping up another kid can tell just as much chaos as the camera rapidly jiggling back and forth.
The acting was superb and I usually am not a fan of child actors. The costumes and make-up were amazing. The elite society of the Capitol filled every scene with the most vibrant colors that can be imagined.
The Hunger Games the movie also really has me interested in reading The Hunger Games the book.
Although inspired by many great sources, there was a story unto itself in The Hunger Games that is a credit to Suzanne Collins. Everything has been written and made into a movie then a remake by now so the great writing comes in having the sense to know what stuff is worth retreading.
The last scene of the movie mirrored a scene from Star Wars V and The Empire Strikes Back is by far the best of the six Star Wars episodes. Suzanne Collins definately has good taste.
The Hunger Games even reminded my stomach that it was hungry so I had a late lunch after the movie.
- United States