Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | August 30, 2012

Hungry for The Hunger Games by Gerri Brousseau

Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch The Hunger Games, the movie based on thefirst book in the wildly successful young adult book series. I confess, I have not read the books. Kudos to the author, Suzanne Collins, for the success of the novels and the movie. Bravo. Well done, but as I sat watching this film, I couldn’t help but wonder how much was being left out. The premise of the story is that one male and one female are selected from each of 12 Districts. Being chosen to participate in the “Games” is advertised by those in charge as being a privilege, but in actuality, it’s a death sentence for 23 players. These 24 young adults are placed in the wilderness (which is controlled by people sitting in a master control room) for a period of two weeks. They are to survive by outsmarting, stalking and killing each other because only one can be declared the winner. And it is a fight to the death. Kids ranging in age from what appears to be approximately 8-years old to perhaps age 18, are killing each other. Not only that, those putting on the “games” controlled the environment and often times placed the “players” into additional dangers. Now if that isn’t enough, those in control are televising the games to those in the districts. Every move of the players is scrutinized by strangers, friends and families. The sight of children being slain by others is portrayed in the ongoing program. Every evening announcements are made by way of cannon fire announce the numbers of dead per day.

I know the series was fabulously successful and garnered this movie, but as I sat there watching it I was horrified at the entire premise of it. I guess I’m sequestered from the violence of the world, but this movie left me aghast. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies, sort of.

But I find I’m asking myself questions, which perhaps are addressed in the book, such as why are those in charge keeping those in the districts imprisoned in those districts and why are they starving them? I guess I might have to read the book to find out, but honestly, I don’t know if I can bring myself to do that now that I have seen the movie. I’m sure the book would be more graphic in how the heroine sees the senseless deaths of these youngsters. What attracts a reader to the exposure of the violent nature of human kind. Do you think the portrayal of such violence has any influence on young adults?

Have any of you read the book or seen the movie? Was I the only one horrified by the premise? Do you think it would behoove me to read the novel? Please share your thoughts with me on this.

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Responses

  1. Nope! You weren’t the only one who was horrified by the premise. I think that was the point, though. The movie reminded e of “The Lottery”. As much as the premise was disturbing, I liked the movie overall. I’ve got a feeling that in the next few movies, you’re going to see these characters lead a revolt against a brutally controlling and abusive establishment.

    • Thanks for the comment. I think I may have to read the second book now to see where this goes … Although the movie was entertaining, it was difficult to watch the way they portrayed society applauding the slaughter.

  2. I’ve read the books, Gerri, and seen the movie. Reading the books, which are engaging and well written, is like watching a train accident. You’re horrified, but can’t look away. It’s human nature to want to look into the darker side of humanity in a non-threatening way. Books and movies are an adrenaline junkie’s best friend. Why do you think Stephen King is so popular? Teens especially, are trying to figure out their limits and the boundaries of their social world. They are fascinated by the prospect of death because it seems so far out of reach while they are in that “invincible me” stage of life. All the more empowering is to see a girl with nothing more than her wits and survival skills beat out other stronger individuals who have trained for such a battle all their lives. We LOVE rooting for the under dog. Throw in a love triangle, a fight for a noble cause (she sacrifices herself for her sister in chapter one and the winner gets to feed their family and village for a year), and a big bag government to overthrow, (the bigger and badder the enemy, the better), and you’ve got yourself some pretty compelling stuff.

    • PJ, I agree with what you have said but I was still horrified. We have so much violence in the world, gang shootings, kids being gunned down in the streets, etc. do we need to glorify it on the screen? I suppose I will read the books because I felt sorry for the guy she left back in District 12. We know he is the one she really loves … or do we?

  3. The books are crazy!! And I did actually love them, even if the last book did really make me depressed for a week after I finished it. sigh! (I needed to move to Alex Finn\’s A Kiss In Time after those books just for a fun pick me up.)

    But…. the movie, it left a lot out. Like when Katniss makes that hand gesture after covering Rue in flowers: that was a District 12 signal of unity that you see them all make to her when she volunteers for her sister. Each District had their own. In the second book, when Peeta and Katniss go visit District 11, they hold up their own hand gesture to them in unity and respect for them.

    I felt like that was an important little piece in the book because it show that even in the worst conditions, there is a sense of unity. Like ”When you are all in the trenches together is when you are the closest”. The idea of this sets the ball rolling for the rest of the story.
    Not explaining that somehow in the movie really made that confusing for people who hadn\’t read the book.

    And, of course, there was way more kissing between Peeta and Katniss in the book. And I really fell for Peeta because he loved her so much and nothing he did was pretend or an act. He would do things for her just because he loved her and wanted her safe over his own safety.
    Peeta in the movie was no where near as likable as Peeta in the book.

    And the Valley Song.. In the movie, Peeta mentions it in the cave. How he fell for her after that day in school when she sang it. In the book, his father was in love with Katniss’ mom and told Peeta that when her mom sang all the birds would stop singing. And he tells Katniss that she was just like her mom in that way, that when she sang all the birds would stop singing too.
    Katniss’ relationship with her mother is so strained at this point, I thought this was a great connection back to her mom.

    These little underlining things never translate to film very well and it can be so frustrating to views, whether they have read the books or not. It feels like missing pieces. ;-p

    • WOW … I guess the movie really does leave out a lot. I know some people who read the book and said the movie stunk. I may have to read them now … Thanks for the comment. I truly appreciate it.

  4. I’m probably the only one in the world who hasn’t seen them yet. When things slow down, I’m planning on a marathon session to watch them.


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