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By Anna Saryusz-Bielski April 30, 2012

The Hungry Gamers

Illustrated by HALEY GIRVAN


The Hunger Games' hype has just begun. (It is taking a momentary rest and arming itself up for the next two movies).

After Harry Potter and Twilight, The Hunger Games is hands down the next big thing. You have no choice but to agree with me whole-heartedly, for I doubt any of you have been spared the massive advertising that ensued on every corner of the web and every inch of available poster paper during the months prior to the release of the greatly awaited picture adaption of the best-selling trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I am certain that by this point, merely a month after the premier, most of the population has seen the movie. (The premiere did after all score 155 million dollars during its opening weekend and rank itself as the third biggest opening of all times in the U.S box office. Jack Sparrow and Bella Swan just got owned, by the way.)

The promise of this movie had such an effect that everyone, just about everyone, including you, had to see it; because it was promised to be big and amazing, the hype was everywhere, and the thought of not going to see what everyone was going to see made you feel like a loser (admit it). And so, I presume we are on common ground as I ready to engage myself into the review of the books, the movie, and their similarities as well as differences.

The Hunger Games by acclaimed author Suzanne Collins, is a Young Adult series that reads well, quickly, and has spurred a cult of fans dedicated to either team Gale or team Peeta (I’m for “Team Seneca Crane’s beard”, because, let’s admit it, that beard is fabulous.) Divided into three books, it tells the story of a girl named Katniss Everdeen who ends up at the center of a revolution against the fascistic capitol of her country, Panem, after taking part in murderous battles in a tricky arena programmed by trolls.

Equipped with a heroine that has been qualified as strong, inspirational and original (compared to some nut heads staring as protagonists in most YA novels these days), The Hunger Games is made of the many ingredients that make novel recipes a success; lots of action, more than cardboard flat characters, drama, moral issues and a message-driven plot that accounts to more than just an entertaining read. It is also set in a futuristic, dystopian era, something publishers and movie directors alike love devouring these days. So there is really no question as to why the trilogy came to be so popular. The novels are good, to a certain extent, and what they lack has been made up for by the movie.

What didn’t do it for me in the novels was the rather not impressive writing style, driven by the sometimes too brooding and vile internal monlogues of Katniss. There was, though, a certain addictive quality to the tale (to which I’ve fallen prey as well) that enchanted 95% of the readers and made the book readable within a day. Despite a terrible third and final instalment, what charmed readers was the originality and freshness of the series that gave everyone a break from vampires and spurred the popularity of a new genre and a new style of heroine. There was also the fact that the story was about kids rebelling against adults, which is usually the magical ingredients in all successful dystopian tales.

Having grossed out a bigger sum at its premier than Twilight, The Hunger Games movie is assured to be continued with its sequels and grow into a fabulous money-making franchise, which is a bit the down side of having something become so popular; people end up just concentrating on making the most money out of it, even at the cost of downgrading the quality of the product. But so far, except for a few elements that prevented the movie adaption of obtaining (in my humble personal opinion) a near-perfect score, the directors and producers did a good job and avoided major disappointment proceeded by an outburst from the fans. Good job, producers. You made it alive so far.

The movie brought the cruel beauty of this Panem country to life very well, I think, with both compelling soundtrack and nice overall designs. What the movie accomplished, too, and thanks to Lawrence’s competent acting skills, was make a better case of Katniss’ persona who in the novels often appears blatantly and unexplainingly rude and sometimes even stupid. Lawrence used the power of her eyes to discreetly communicate many of Katniss’ feelings and acted out the character without making her seem too bristling. Not only that, but the movie doesn’t make that much of a show of the love triangle, turning it into an array of more complex and profound feelings than simple jealousy and possessiveness between the male candidates fighting over the girl’s heart.

What we viewers could have been spared was the extremely jumpy and wobbly filming (headaches, anybody?). There’s no argument that goes against this; it was just bad. Then, many gory details (details that made the story more cruel, frightening and original) from the novel were smoothed out or ignored in order to allow a PG-13 rating and to capacitate a bigger viewing range (remember what I said about downgrading quality for more money? Yeah.)

All I can really conclude is that whatever anyone’s opinion of the books or movie is, the attendance for the next two movies will be just as huge and financially rewarding as the first. Fan girls (and boys) will rush to support their individual love interest team, while the rest of the world will go watch despite any other more important matters to attend. Because how could you do otherwise? It’s all a genius, mad and mind-controlling plan installed by the capitol who wants you to watch every single second of it and bring in lots of cash to finance new sets of colourful wigs for Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj.

To read another article on SPACE about The Hunger Games (and an awesome image of Katniss), check out Sarah Misko's article Dystopian Fiction Heats Up

Interested in what Stephen King thought of The Hunger Games? You can read his review of the novel here.

About the author

Anna Saryusz-Bielski is a first year Pure & Applied Science student although she’s the biggest of science student scams because she dwells more within the multiple universes of artistic endeavours ranging from illustration to photography to music to literature and lattes. She’s a bookworm at heart and a big-mouthed critic, and has been reviewing novels for the past two years at http://www.pepperinkbooks.blogspot.com.

About the illustrator

Haley Girvan is a graduating student in Illustration & Design. Her inspiration mainly comes from what she observes in nature, people, music and the world of the unknown. She loves drawing girls who have a whimsical and surreal look to them. Haley began working in a variety of traditional mediums but has recently discovered that she prefers to work digitally as it gives a smooth finish to her work. Over the years she has always been inspired by Mark Ryden, Ana Bagayan and Rae Ceasar who use a very beautiful but haunting approach to their work.


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