If you’ve read my “Have We Met?” page you know that I’m a fan of young adult novels, partly because I’m working on my first one. When I first heard about The Hunger Games trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, I decided to pass on it because I didn’t think the story about children killing each other in a violent future was my thing. After a while I gave in to the hype and read the first book, and you know what? I liked it – a lot! Yes, the story has more than its fair share of violence, but at its core it is a love story that caters to both sexes. Now I’m one of the bazillion people in the world waiting to see if the movie, which opens on Friday, March 23, is going to be half as good as the book.
The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as the main character Katniss, and also features Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Amandla Stenberg, and Dayo Okeniyi. According to “Good Morning American’s” Robin Roberts, the first installment of the flick is predicted to bring in $75-100 million in its opening weekend. The question is will you be among the many to go see it?
If you’re not up on The Hunger Games, but are curious to learn more about the story, then here is a quick breakdown of book one to put you in the know.
The Hunger Games
Picture This: North America as we know it has been destroyed by war, drought, famine and fire. In its place is Panem, a flamboyant Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the people of the districts in line by forcing them to surrender a male and female child between 12 and 18 to compete in what is reality TV at its worst – the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death broadcast aired live on television. The last person alive wins.
*Protagonist: Kantiss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), is a 16-year-old girl from District 12 struggling to keep her family (her mom and little sister) alive and fed by hunting game in the forbidden woods. She trades the game she catches with the town’s people for everyday necessities for her and her family.
*The Protagonist’s Want/Need: For a moment Kantiss considers running away into the woods to live a different/better life with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), but would never do so because of her responsibility to her family. Ideally, what she really wants most is for neither her, Gale nor anyone she cares about, to be picked to participate in this year’s Hunger Games.
*Antagonist: Since The Hunger Games are about a battle to the death, it’s fair to say that there are quite a few people (at least 23) who could be listed as the antagonists. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the boy from District 12 who Katniss is partnered with is one, just as Cato (Alexander Ludwig), the brute of all the young competitors in the game, is another. But it is President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the man in charge of The Hunger Games, who could be viewed as the biggest antagonist of all. It’s because of Snow and the Capitol that the children are forced to destroy one another for the amusement of others in the first place.
*The Antagonist’s Want/Need: The Hunger Games serve as a reminder to the people that they are powerless. The citizens must always be aware that the Capitol will always have the upper hand.
*Inciting Incident: It’s the day of the reaping when the names of two young people are selected from a lottery as “tributes” to participate in the games. Katniss is shocked when Prim (Willow Shields), her little sister, is called. To spare her sister Katniss volunteers in her place and begins her journey in The Hunger Games.
*What’s at stake for the protagonist?: If Katniss fails at this competition she will die, but worse than that, because she is the sole provider for her family, her sister and mother are at high risk of not surviving. When Peeta, the male tribute, is selected Katniss faces a moral dilemma, which is to ultimately battle the boy she feels in debt to because he once helped her when she was nearly starving. Will she spare his life out of gratitude or eventually kill him to save her family?
As the story progresses Katniss and Peeta are brought to the Capitol and prepped on a strategy to win the game by former winner and town drunk Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). The two contestants must now prepare to fight against other young people who have trained for this game all their lives. Part of the District 12 team’s plan of action is for the two tributes to appear to be “close” instead of like enemies. However, when they are both prepped separately things change a bit causing Katniss to rethink the trust in Peeta and Haymitch that she had after Peeta announces to the TV viewers how he really feels about Katniss.
While deep in the trenches of battle Katniss learns to play the game to the best of her ability on all fronts. The Hunger Games force her to make decisions about humanity, life and love that will ultimately leave her feeling torn emotionally between Peeta and her friend Gale.
Well, that’s the gist of it. Does the story peek your interest enough to make you want to purchase a movie ticket? Whether it does or doesn’t you can now officially consider yourself in the know of book one in The Hunger Games trilogy.
Before you go tell me if you plan on seeing the movie. Why or why not?
Until next time…