The Hunger Games (2012) Director: Gary Ross
The Hunger Games had a similar phenomenal rise as the Harry Potter franchise. The film is based on Suzanne Collin’s 2008 novel of the same name, a remarkable teen/family bestseller. The book was actually inspired by the Greek myth of king Theseus, the mythical king of ancient Athens, and his defeat of the Minotaur, the beast of King Minos of Crete who had previously defeated Athens in a war and in return demanded the sacrifice of seven of the best boys and girls of Athens to the Minotaur each (every seven cycles).
The Hunger Games is a science-fiction film, taking place in an imagined, futuristic, dystopian world in the nation of “Panem” which is Latin for “bread.” One boy and one girl are each selected from the regional districts of the kingdom, and chosen as tribute to participate in the hunger games -a brutal, simulated battle royale and fight to the death. The last child standing wins the Hunger Games. When her young sister is selected, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her sister’s stead and travels to the capitol to train for the games. She is surprisingly skilled with a bow and arrow. The President is Coriolanus (an obvious allusion to ancient Rome, and perhaps even Shakespeare’s play of the same name, as well). Katniss becomes well-liked during her adventures in the games, sparking riots among the common-people, so the rules are changed to allow for two winners. Katniss and her romantic interest and counterpart, Peeta, are favored. The film ends as they return home in a parade, though the leadership is plotting vengeance on them for refusing to abide by the rules.
The film was a smash-hit box office success, further launching the career of Jennifer Lawrence. It was not without its controversies regarding the dark themes of violence and death among children. It spawned several sequels, including a money-chasing division of Part III into two separate films, as was done with The Hobbit series, as well. The Hunger Games is an entertaining movie, though surprisingly gruesome, despite being marketed as a teen-friendly film. It is not a bad movie per se, but rather a unique and entertaining albeit Orwellian adventure.