Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there is a little film called The Hunger Games opening on March 22.
Based on Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novel, it is set in Panem, a country where North America once stood. Each year 24 teenagers from across 12 Districts are selected by lottery to fight to the death in a giant arena. The battle is called the Hunger Games and is televised as sport and entertainment. Katniss and Peeta are the tributes from District 12 who travel from their impoverished home to the decadence of the Capitol where they are prepared to kill every other tribute, including each other.
Grim? Yes. Addictive? Hell yes!
Channel your inner-14 year old girl and give in to the Hunger Games.
With all the hype surrounding the film, you’d be excused for thinking its success is a slam dunk. We thought we’d delve a little deeper, and have a look at just some of the facets that will ensure the success of The Hunger Games on the big screen.
10. It is a film born of ‘crack-lit’.
Crack-lit [krâk-lit] noun 1. a book not necessarily well written but so friggin’ addictive that there is no life outside of the book until you turn the last page.
This is how the conversation goes:
Your friend with the eyes of a zealot: Seriously, you have to get this book.
You: What book?
Your friend with the eyes of a zealot: Hunger Games. It is incredible. You won’t be able to put it down.
Zealot-eyes gets wistful look on face, remembering back to that time, last week, when they hadn’t started reading Hunger Games yet and it all lay stretched out before them.
You read it. It’s OK. Not that great. Only, you can’t put it down. Your alarm will be going off in three hours and yet you still can’t stop reading and go to sleep. Holy hell, you have to go to work now but you can’t because you have to download the next book on your kindle. Immediately. And then you just have to read the first few pages. Just a chapter. Seriously, no more than half a book.
Crack-lit. When you just can’t say no.
9. Hunger Games tattoos: coming to a tumblr near you.
There is nothing quite like a cult series to light up the internet with a dizzying array of fan ink. Already there are galleries and tumblr blogs dedicated to a flesh-load of Panem tatts of varying quality. At least most of these replicate the slick mockingjay design. As opposed to, say, Robert Pattinson’s face.
8. No unpleasant plot surprises for devotees of the book.
In an interview with MTV, Hunger Games’ director, Gary Ross, promises that the film will be a ‘very faithful adaptation’ of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel. They worked on the script together, locked away in a room to write the final draft.
Sometimes an unfaithful adaptation is a wonderful thing; think Blade Runner or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. However, when the adaptation is of young adult fiction with a cult following, any deviation will inevitably lead to rioting and looting. True story.
7. The opportunities to show your devotion through PayPal are endless.
You know a film is going to be big (AKA make a bucketload of cash) when merchandise wish-lists start popping up on your preferred online stores prior to release. It is called showing your devotion through PayPal.
Katniss knee socks. For that Catholic-school-girl-meets-Panem look.
Flip flops. Because even District 12 kids deserve some time at the beach.
The District 12 light bulb. Because you can.
6. You too can step into the Capitol.
The Hunger Games fashion tumblr, Capitol Couture, is the hub for any fashionista looking for the latest trends that glitter beyond the Hunger Games’ arena.
Taking you deep into the world of the citizens of the Capitol, Panem’s wealthiest and most fashion-forward city, this blog will provide you with the latest on trends, beauty and, of course, tribute rumours.
It is decadent, addictive and a master-stroke of social media marketing.
5. It’s written and directed by Gary Ross.
Gary Ross is a four-times Academy Award nominated screenwriter and producer. His first two nominations were for Big (1989) and Dave (1994). His second two were for Seabiscuit, but nobody’s perfect.
In 1998, he directed his first feature, Pleasantville. For the record, this lovely morality tale, with its rich art direction and satirical nostalgia, contains the best euphemistic bathtub orgasm imagery captured on film.
Tub fun aside, any man who writes a screenplay where the plot twist hangs on a Zoltar wishing machine should be considered a fine talent and more than worthy of entering the Hunger Games’ arena.
4. There are no vampires
Enough with the vampires already. Female friendly doesn’t mean bloodsuckers. Thank you.
3. The costumes are brilliant.
Three time Oscar-nominated costume designer, Judianna Makovsky, is working his magic turning Suzanne Collins’ descriptions into wearable art. Only a few tantalising images have been released so far. It is like sitting front row at a really really really drawn-out fashion week.
We have already seen some of the froufrou numbers of the fabulous Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks).
And the gold eyeliner of stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz).
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) – remains ‘hunting-casual’.
You wish your work-out gear looked like this. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in training.
But the one we are all waiting for is Katniss’ Girl on Fire costume. Here we see it, pre-blowtorch.
The hair and make-up are also expected to be extraordinary. Apparently the colourists created over 500 hair colours for the film’s cast.
2. Effie Trinket.
Effie, a vapid, bedazzled powder puff of a woman, is the escort for the tributes from District 12. She has the honour of drawing their names during the reapings (as horrid as it sounds) and accompanying them to the Capitol.
Played by Elizabeth Banks, she is a fabulously shrill character with a penchant for etiquette. Think the June Dally-Watkins of death. Or Martha Stewart.
She has her own etiquette column on Capitol Couture and most definitely grows on you.
1. Jennifer Lawrence.
Jennifer Lawrence has the acting credibility to play the strong and gritty female lead character, Katnis Everdeen. She is best known for her portrayal of Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone. In this Academy Award-nominated indie film, Lawrence plays a teenager toughened by hardship and with a fierce will to fight for the survival of her poverty-stricken family. The film established her as phenomenal talent with maturity far beyond her years. Also, she prepared for the film by learning, amongst other things, how to skin a squirrel – now, that’s method.
Also, there’s the film itself. Which, from these clips, looks okay.
- Joanna Cohen