"Hope is the only thing more powerful than fear. A little fire is effective and a spark is fine....... as long as it is contained."
This is a stellar movie and about as good of an adaptation of a beloved book that I have seen. There were a few minor adjustments to the plot and the elimination of a character or two, but overall I loved everything about the Hunger Games. The visual experience of life in the districts and the depressing nature of dystopian Panem was incredibly well executed. Whoever was in charge of casting also deserves some praise, as I thought all the characters were perfectly cast for the motley crew of characters Suzanne Collins spawned in her books. Donald Sutherland was a wicked President Snow. Arrogant, insidious and calculating. Woody Harleson's character Haymitch could have been a wee more of a drunken train wreck, but I enjoyed him as Katniss and Peeta's mentor. Jennifer Laurence became Katniss Everdeen and I believe she embodied the crux of the character to the fullest. Strong and innocent. Provocative yet deadly. Rebelliously devoted to those that she holds dear. In short, a prodigious female protagonist that kicks ass.
While I did really enjoy this film, there is definitely something very disturbing about the whole idea behind the Hunger Games. Set aside the futuristic predictions of what society could be like and how oppressively controlling the government could end up being. I think what bothers me the most is that this movie was based on books that kids are reading. Is revolution and televised murder appropriate for our youth? I get that there is a lot out there in the world and we as a society have become more and more desensitized to violence with each passing year. Sure, vicious adventure stories depicting sacrifice have been around for thousands of years (Collins has been noted as using the Greek Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur as inspiration), but I can't help but wonder how much is too much? What's to come from these impetuous spores that we are embedding in our kids? Seems like every few months we hear of some youth who picks up violence, stashes it a trench coat or backpack and trots off to school, only to unleash it on his/her innocent peers who just happened to show up that day trying to learn something.
The Hunger Games is a powder keg of controversial topics and I really hope the parents of our kids out there reading and seeing this movie will take some time to diffuse some of the ideas presented. As an educator, I do admire Suzanne Collins for penning such a magnetic narrative that with out a doubt has hooked many young minds into the world of reading. However, what does that say about our society if it takes a series of books about kids hunting and slaying other kids to convince youths that reading is worthwhile? That being said, if the intended audience age range was higher, this would all be a mute point. Hunger Games was a great movie. It has action, drama and a snatch of romance. The cinematography is wonderful. Top rate special effects and clever camera work create an experience well worth the money you will shell out for admission. I highly recommend reading the books and seeing this movie, if nothing else than to keep your finger on the pulse of what is being talked about in school with our youngsters. Chances are you will become a fan. Judge for yourself and may the odds forever be in your favor.