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Still Hungry for Heroines and Dystopia

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What a weird title, I thought when The Hunger Games started becoming an ‘It’ series. I never paid much attention when it was first released since I was still recovering from reading nonsense and fluff in New Moon.

Eventually the movie trailer released for The Hunger Games and I took a peek for grins. Camera work and pacing seemed pretty good – not that I know a lot about film but it keeps things interesting. Intrigued, I bought book 1 of the trilogy and began reading it in early February 2012. Then the remaining 2 in the trilogy followed.

For those who have never read the series, it is narrated by Katniss Everdeen who lives in a dystopian version of North America now renamed Panem. Long ago Panem had 13 areas called districts which produced goods for the government called the Capitol, some given more preferential treatment than others. Eventually all 13 districts rebelled against the Capitol and were put down, with District 13 being obliterated as an example. As punishment, the Capitol created an event called The Hunger Games where each district would send 1 young man and 1 young woman aged between 12-18 to fight in a controlled arena until 1 emerged victorious. In book 1, Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister Primrose and encounters trustworthy people like fellow tribute Rue and finds enemies who want her dead like President Snow, head of the Capitol, and vicious tributes from privileged districts.

Unlike Twilight, I found myself more interested in Suzanne Collin’s characters which seemed to have a familiar set of emotions, interests, and flaws like any human being. I liked Katniss for being the rare strong heroine who thinks things through, questions things suspiciously, and cared for others like Primrose because I’ve found moments in my life where I’ve been like her. Yet I loved Rue from book 1 the most since she was a surprise in the Games for being small and young, yet very capable of using her small form to hide easily and stay up high in the trees from the other tributes.

Like many other fans, I attended the midnight premiere of the film adaptation with some friends on a whim. The film, like any other, has its cheesy moments but for the most part was true to the book and I did enjoy some of the additions they put into the film. My favorite scene was when all the tributes were training in the Training Center and Cato, the male tribute from District 2, decided to accuse another male tribute of taking his knife. While the pair are pushing and arguing with one another, the camera pans up to the ceiling where Rue is tucked up in the fabric straps on the ceiling with Cato’s knife and an impish smile on her face.

For a film distributor company who was struggling, I’m sure Liongate’s whooping for joy with over $200 million brought in from a non-sequel film.  Can they keep up the act with an adaptation of Catching Fire in 2013? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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