"The Hunger Games" Film Adaptation Looks To Satisfy Book Fans
Although “The Hunger Games,” based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins, must deal with all of these problems, fans of the novel do not seem discouraged. The midnight premiere looks to reach a new box office record.
"The Hunger Games" (the novel) follows protagonist Katniss Everdeen in a post-apocalyptic future, in Panem (formerly North America). Panem is divided into 12 Districts that are under the control of the Capitol. In order to pay tribute to the Capitol, each year every district holds a lottery where they select two teens (one boy, one girl) to compete in a televised death match. When Katniss’ sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers as tribute to take her place, knowing she is more suited for battle.
Like "Harry Potter" and other similar series, "The Hunger Games" has a complex cast of characters, where at times it is confusing who Katniss’ friends and enemies are.
Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, could not have been better cast. Although I have yet to see “The Hunger Games,” Katniss is similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s Academy Award nominated role of Ree in “Winter’s Bone.” Like Katniss, Ree is stubborn (sometimes to a fault), is the main provider for her family and is a survivor. Also, although Lawrence almost lost the role of Ree because she was “too pretty,” her beauty will be perfect for the role of post-makeover Katniss.
Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson from the “The Kids are All Right,” is a wildcard. Fans argued that Hutcherson's too short to play Peeta, as he is the same height as Lawrence (5’ 7’’), but I don’t see that as a problem. The most important thing Hutcherson needs to do to capture Peeta will be to convey the character’s likability and limitless love for Katniss.
As Gale Hawthorne is hardly in the first book, Liam Hemsworth (“The Last Song”) will have his work cut out for him in portraying all the layers of Gale that fans have seen throughout the rest of the series. Hemsworth fits the physical characteristics of Gale, but the mystery of Katniss’ hunting partner will be harder to convey.
Based on previous roles, Elizabeth Banks (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “30 Rock”) seemed an odd choice for the bubbly Effie Trinket. However, the trailer shows Banks perfectly capturing Effie’s essence and as she says: “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
Woody Harrelson should have a blast playing the drunken Games coach Haymitch Abernathy. Since his role as Woody Boyd in “Cheers,” Harrelson has recently taken on quirky roles, playing a “Ghostbusters”-obsessed killer in “Zombieland” and a gay co-worker in “Friends with Benefits.” It will be interesting to see Harrelson show Haymitch’s development throughout the series.
Equally as entertaining will be Wes Bentley’s (“American Beauty”) Seneca Crane, Lenny Kravitz’s (“Precious”) spectacular Cinna and Donald Sutherland’s (“Pride and Prejudice”) President Snow. I am particularly excited about the last one, as Sutherland will play a big part later in the series.
Other than those characters, “The Hunger Games” will have other issues reaching the caliber of the novel. The trailer and IMDB show that Madge, Katniss’ only friend besides her sister and Gale, no longer gives Katniss the mockingjay (her good luck symbol for the Games), as Madge has been cut from the film.
Additionally, it will be difficult for the film to capture Katniss’ internal dialogue. Without knowing Katniss’ perspective of things, she might be a much less likable character. It will be interesting to see how the screenplay shows Katniss’ perspective.
Luckily, author Suzanne Collins helped head screenwriter Gary Ross, so hopefully everything will stay true to the book. Unfortunately, it is unclear as to whether Collins will be helping to write the next film in the series.
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