‘Hunger Games’ brings deadly dystopian struggle to big screen

Nathan Fisher

Illustration: Binta Loos-Diallo

I am proud to report that I actually read a non-required book this week––”The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. Okay, okay, it’s an easy fun read, 374 pages with big print, with words of fewer than eight letters. The film version is a surprisingly good adaptation of the book, making me pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed both.

For those who haven’t read the book, “The Hunger Games” is set in the future, with America separated into 12 districts ruthlessly dominated by the Capitol, under the leadership of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Each year, the districts must participate in a raffle to “elect” two 12- to 18-year-old Tributes to participate in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death between the 24 contestants, and the last one alive is showered in riches and glory for life. The Games are broadcasted across all the districts to serve as a reminder of a former squashed rebellion, reasserting the power of the Capitol over all.

“The Hunger Games” follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who volunteers as Tribute to replace her younger sister who was chosen in the raffle. Katniss is stripped from her family and friends, cleaned up, clothed and trained by her drunk and sarcastic mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) before being placed in the arena for the Games. Katniss learns to do whatever it takes to survive.

I loved the book, and I really liked the movie version of “The Hunger Games,” which sticks reasonably close to the text. The casting is spot-on with Sutherland and Lawrence bringing great performances, but the drunk and stumbling Harrelson and the dramatic blue-haired Stanley Tucci stole the show. Both were hilarious in this relatively grim film and gave strong performances.

If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it. It is a quick read that keeps you hooked. Even the movie, clocking in at two and a half hours, barely feels like an hour. Fear not, you don’t have to read the book to love the movie. Teen angst, bloody battles and a fast-moving plot all lead to a great movie for anyone to enjoy! Luckily, we have two more books (and three more movies) in the series to anticipate.