The Hunger Games directed by Gary Ross tells the story of Katniss Everdeen,
a young woman living in the impoverished twelfth district of the Nation of Panem.
She volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in an event called the Hunger
Games, a yearly televised fight to the death participated by two young people from
each of the twelve districts as a punishment for a political uprising 75 years prior.
The twenty four participants are chosen by lottery, every adolescent’s name is
automatically entered when they turn twelve and you can elect to put your name in
the drawing more times in exchange for food and goods.
The Districts of Panem are a peculiar place. Katniss’ district, the twelfth
and furthest from the capitol, resembles America during the Great Depression.
Their main trade is mining and after Katniss’ father died in a mining accident, her
mother fell into a deep depression leaving Katniss to care for her younger sister
Prim. When 12-year-old Prim’s name is chosen at the annual Reaping, her first year
participating in the games, Katniss volunteers as a substitute for her. From there
Katniss is thrown into the fast paced, glamorous lifestyle of the Capitol, which oddly
enough seems to be technologically 200 years ahead of Katniss’ district.
She and her fellow competitors are trained in survival and combat for several
weeks before the tournament. Katniss wows the judges during her training and is
no less impressive during the competition. She and her District Twelve partner defy
the Games’ rules and refuse to kill each other in the end, resulting in the first two
winner Hunger Games. The movie ends with the looming threat of retaliation from
the judges and the leaders in the Capitol.
While The Hunger Games is a very entertaining and well-told story, I couldn’t
help but think, “This is a children’s book?” The whole basis of the plot is kids killing
kids. It has a transparent message about the dangers of Totalitarianism and the
culture of the Districts of Panem was a little too much like North America to be
coincidental. It is a very interesting movie and I’ll definitely be seeing the new
version, set to hit theaters in a few weeks.