In 1998, the bombing of the World Embassy in West-Northwest Centersville, East Serbia, shook the world to its core. In retaliation, the Serbian government conscripted all males under the age of 64 into their armed forces and established a quarantine around the entire country, with men at arms standing shoulder-to-shoulder along the perimeter. After a fortnight of fortnights had passed and no one really noticed, the people of WNWCEB decided to stage a coup d'état and soon all the beatniks and yuppies were crowding the streets. People complained, loudly, and the world continued to ignore them.
Far away, in the country of Panem, the President decided to start a new kind of Olympics. Every year he would call up two children from each of the Twelve Districts and invite them to the Capitol to represent their communities. If they won, they got prizes, usually in the form of a new Game Boy Advance game and sometimes a batch of homemade cookies, baked by the President himself. If they didn't win, then they died. It was a brutal sort of Olympics the President thought of. You see, these Olympics, which he dubbed the Hunger Games, weren't really anything like the classical Olympics of old, but were instead a twisted game he devised to keep the people of Panem held under his oppressive thumb. He figured correctly that pitting children against other children in a battle to the death would create a country of unrest. Because of the President's totalitarian rule, people's magazines stopped arriving on time (and soon at all), and if they couldn't get their magazines and newspapers then their understanding of the world around them dwindled. (This was pre-y2k, so the Internet hadn't yet came into fruition.) As their freedoms compressed, their fear of the Hunger Games increased, and every year when the President made his phone calls, great tragedy would drop on to each of the Districts.
Or something like that.
I first read The Hunger Games in May 2010 (my review). I enjoyed it quite a bit, actually, as much as one can enjoy this sort of senselessness. Not entirely an original idea, but Suzanne Collins made a book with characters I cared about. Katniss Everdeen was a fascinating heroine, but she was stubborn and a teenager, too. While I can only guess at the thought processes of a teenage girl, I felt that Collins conveyed the mindset very well.
Keisha & I went and watched the movie rendition of The Hunger Games last Friday night. The cinema was packed, of course, but everyone quieted down as the movie started. I had some reservations about the casting of the characters, but shortly after the start I was fine with most. The exceptions were Gale and President Snow, who I felt was too handsomely cast and too slovenly cast, respectively, if that makes sense. (It doesn't, as I tried to explain this to Keisha and wound up making a fool of myself.)
Additionally, I, like many others, had issues with the camera work in the film. I told Keisha during the thing that I felt like I was getting sick. It reminded me of those roller coaster ride things with screens. The kind that the People of Serbia no longer get to enjoy because of the problems going on over there, what with the border being closed and the ruffians crowding up the place.
Keisha's main problem was all the time spent outside of the Arena, focused mostly on Seneca and the Game Room. She thought this pulled away too much, and I agreed. Maybe those scenes were added to break some of the tension up? Maybe the director wanted to show off some special effects? Whatever the case, the wife and I didn't much care for all the Game Room time. (Honestly, pacing leading up to the Games was a bit off, too.)
The film was tough to watch, especially when the Games began. I knew what kind of bloodbath was coming, but still yet, wow. And the tracker jacker scene! Oh my. Let's not forget the muttations, either, and how horrible that had to have been.
As I've already said, I enjoyed the movie. It's been a few years since I read the books, so I had forgotten some of the fine details. From my recollection, the film was a worthy adaptation of the book, though it could have done better at building up the characters. No doubt there will be the sequels made, and no doubt they will rake in the money. I am most interested to see how Mockingjay comes along, considering the way we Americans tend to like our movies.
I am reasonably sure that I've lost my mind somewhere along the way. The truth is out there, and so is the fiction. I'm not sure what just happened...