by Amy Rice

In anticipation for the movie premiere of Suzanne Collins’s best-selling novel, The Hunger Games, many fans were hoping that the movie did not neglect all of the sensational and wonderful creativity that Collins enveloped in her high-intensity, fast-paced emotional, and action thriller novel. After several viewings of this top of the charts film, it is safe to say that the movie was able to victoriously portray the brilliant storyline and characters that Collins illustrated throughout her novel.

The Hunger Games movie was not only a successful interpretation of the novel, but also complementary to the text by bringing to life components of the story that were not directly seen through protagonist Katniss Everdeen’s point of view.  One of the most thrilling additions was Director Gary Ross’s decision to include the “game makers” and the game-making room in the film, giving the audience behind the scenes footage of the 74th annual Hunger Games.

Other additions made that tapped outside of Katniss’s perspective were the uproar that took place in District 11 after the death of young Rue, President Snow’s rose garden, as well as clips of the viewers watching the Games from their homes and communal areas. These additions contributed another unexpected element of excitement for fans that were already familiar with the novel.

Most importantly, Gary Ross almost followed the exact plot line of the novel. Although there were minor details left out, such as Katniss’s night-vision glasses she wears in the arena, the character of Madge, and the Avoxes in the Capitol, there were no major plot changes. Everything that was vital to the understanding and impact of the novel was included in the film.

Also vital to the film’s success was the casting of characters. According to Collin’s Facebook page, they were casted brilliantly. She stated, “The cast, led by the extraordinary Jennifer Lawrence, is absolutely wonderful across the board.” Although we were all hoping that Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) was a little taller, without a doubt all of the actors and actresses did an extraordinary job at bringing the text to life.

Other characters such as Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), also did a great job in executing their characters. Primrose stole the heart of the audience with her piercing cat-like yellow eyes, while Effie Trinket brought to the film the exact amount of comic relief needed, and Gale was the hunky squirrel-hunting best friend that we all hoped for.

Other artistic decisions and executions made by Ross that allowed for this film to entirely capture the essence of the novel were details such as the absence of background music (during her time in the arena, and at the District 12 Reaping). Music in many movies is used to enhance a moment; however, the absence of music brought the story to life much more than triumphant drums and horns blasting in the background, and it portrayed the reality of the situation.

The seriousness of which this novel was written with was clearly demonstrated. There was no sugar coating of bloody battle scenes in the arena, or Katniss’s emotional volunteering in place of her sister at the Reaping.  The screams heard from District 2 tribute Cato (Alexander Ludwig) at the final moments of his life are scarring, as well as the emotional honoring of the youngest contestant in the Games, Rue’s (Amandla Stenberg), dead body.

The depression and poverty of District 12 was shocking when seen on the big screen, and the sadness that the Everdeen family suffers from after the loss of their father bears no coat as Katniss’s mother (Paula Malcomson) portrays a woman who has clearly lost her way and become numb to her surroundings.

However, there was nothing more real than the final moments of the countdown before the Hunger Games began. Even after knowing the end of the novel, it was difficult not to grip the armrests of the seats in anticipation of the massacre that followed. The bludgeoning of heads, stabbing of young children, and throwing of both swords and spears at each tribute in pursuit of survival was not only shocking, but also moving and effective in capturing the novel’s realness.

The movie ended abruptly at the exit of President Snow and left the audience wanting more. However, this is also how the book ends; it provokes the reader, or the audience, to ask for more.  Those who were left wondering will have to wait until the release of the second movie “Mockingjay” in November 2013. May the odds be ever in its favor.

To read the opposing argument by Kristen Palermo, click this link: