Saturday, 17 March 2012

Ramble: My adoration for The Hunger Games novel and why I can't wait to see the girl who was on fire

Something a little different for my blog, I'm going to talk about a pretty important movie event this year, The Hunger Games.

If you know me, you know how long I have been dying to see Gary Ross' take on the world famous novels by Suzanne Collins. The new Twilight? I think not. Though I'll no doubt be proven wrong and the scale of the films and fandom will reach out of control levels with team Gale or Peeta, pillow covers and underwear. However, this to me is nothing like Twilight.
But let's take it back to last March/April. 'A book about teenagers killing each other?' I once asked a friend in complete disgust. Why on earth would I want to read a book about a game that involves murder? Often I find I'm still horrified when Hit Girl stabs a man through his hand in Kick-Ass (though it's completely awesome). How will I be able to handle a book like that?
Fortunately, after hearing so many people rave on about how good The Hunger Games were, I got the first out of my school library. Three days it took me. That's with GCSE revision in the middle. I was completely hooked. Told in first person, Katniss Everdeen was me. I was the one who was hunting with my best friend Gale in the woods. I was the one who volunteered myself for the games after my little sister was chosen. I was the girl who was on fire. No matter how pathetic that may be to some, it's true. I'm not strong like Katniss, but when reading the book I felt it. Katniss Everdeen is the reasoning for my completely adoration of the novels. She's tough, confident and cares about her family deeply. Even with boys as love interests, Katniss Everdeen is an independent young woman who doesn't need a man to support her and help her through the tough, post apocalyptic setting of Panem.
Of course there are more parts that captivated me into The Hunger Games. Thankfully, the romantic relationships aren't emphasised to take away the sheer brutality that occurs throughout the book. Yet, I am somewhat infatuated by the pair of love interests, Gale and Peeta. My views on each change with the three novels, but as I only really care for The Hunger Games; it's Peeta. The blond, blue eyed tribute from District 12 aka, the boy with the bread. Gale has only a few parts in the first book, so I am biased to my choice. However because Peeta doesn't attempt to control Katniss' life and knows how independent, strong and capable she is, I admire him for that. As much as I'm always trying to steer clear of cheesy, cliché book and movie moments, at the end of the day I cherish them. Now Peeta has many moments that might cause people to feel nauseous, but his sweet monologue of declarative love for Katniss had me smitten. One quite comical similarity between the tough leading lady and myself is that I too would probably give Peeta a little shove if he ever admitted he loved me during an interview. I'd feel embarrassed but also betrayed. Even though Peeta and Katniss enter the 74th Hunger Games as the pair from District 12, they are still against each other as only one can be victorious. I can't breathe a word more about the plot, as I have already given too much away, but the way that the games are executed perfectly by Suzanne Collins had me jumping for joy near the end.
Last August I was very, very lucky to have been a part of The Hunger Games testimonials for Lionsgate at their offices, to more or less let them know how fans feel about the movie adaptation. I wasn't alone in participating, but I like to feel my input helped a little. A few weeks prior, the casting for Gale and Peeta was released and I've got to be fully honest in admitting that I hated it. I was more than raging when it was announced that Liam Hemsworth would be Gale and Josh Hutcherson would play my precious Peeta. I liked both actors, very much, but when reading the books I pictured the likes of Alex Pettyfer as the boy with the bread or Hunter Parish. I'm glad I got a little angry because I knew, deep down, that Hemsworth and Hutcherson would nail it, I just didn't want to admit it. My thoughts quickly changed once the first images were released of the trio in their costumes, and their correct hair in tail- I think I may have squealed. When asked at the testimonials what I thought about the casting, my reply was 'the boys I'm a bit unsure about, but I know they'll do great'. However when asked 'and what about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen?' I don't think I could have answered quick enough. 'Oh I love her. Really love her. She's a fantastic actress and she has everything to make Katniss the girl that fans look up to. She's really going to be good' I said, without pausing for breath. Very enthusiastic, but then I am a Jen fan.
Now comes later on in August- the teaser. I kept watching it, concentrating closely to how Lawrence moved as Katniss in the forest, listening to the soft words by Hemsworth as Gale and shaking when Katniss draws her arrow and shoots it right across the screen. Then, a whistle which fans know means a lot. Half of me was telling myself how foolish I had been to come close to doubting Gary Ross to capture the right feel of excitement and sense of alienation Katniss feels. Hemsworth sounded how Gale sounds and everything looked pristine. That was the moment my mindset has been sure the film is going to be much more than completely and utterly fantastic.
Since then, there have been more trailers, TV spots, images and clips and Lionsgate have got the marketing and promotion of this film on key. I don't quite know how they were allowed to, but the trailer doesn't show any part of the games and that's what I and the audience need. The first third of the book is the build up to the games, so when watching the film you want that suspense of not knowing what the chosen arena or the games will be like. 'They can't really be as gory as Katniss is letting on can they?' I kept questioning as I was rushing through the pages. But oh yes they can. Of course, to get the 12A rating which secures the film taking a huge sum at the box office and targeting a pre teen audience, some of these Battle Royale esque moments have had to be modified (15 seconds of goriness was apparently cut), but from hearing a few people's reactions to the film already, fans of the book will be very pleased.
I have the uttermost faith in this adaptation as a fan of film and the book. I can't say I've seen all of Gary Ross' films, but with the cast and team behind him I know it'll be good. Jennifer Lawrence, I've already mentioned, I just know is going to ace Katniss. She has such a fine acting talent that I completely adored her as Mystique in X-Men: First Class last year and Winter's Bone, for which she was Oscar nominated. Then, in more of a role model way, Lawrence is one of the most down to earth actresses for our generation. (At one of the press conferences, miss Lawrence at 3:08 obviously isn't afraid of talking about under arm hair- I love her). Just by watching some of her interviews, you can see she hasn't been phased by Hollywood but still holds a passion in her roles. She too is a devoted fan of the book, which always bodes well when creating an adaptation that so many people across the world care about. Just listen to this from Elizabeth Banks, explaining how she cried when seeing one important scene with Jennifer Lawrence. I'm making sure my tissues are packed now.
Then, like previously mentioned, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are the next two big stars. I like them both as actors tremendously. Seeing Hutchseron grow from young roles such as Little Manhattan and The Bridge To Terabithia to his great achievement in The Kids Are All Right, has me confident that he is going to really give it a lot for Peeta. He's cute too, which is a plus. Liam Hemsworth looks great as Gale, he's tall and has a muscular physique (I think it's a Hemsworth gene) so in the beginning scenes, he'll be fit perfect to Gale. When Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and co were cast, my first reaction was not believing any of it. All these wondrous, acclaimed and famous actors to be part of this film meant that the producers really pushed the boat out making so this film has everything to be great. Woody Harrelson looks ideal for Haymitch, the drunk, once victorious winner of The Hunger Games and Banks as the quirky, annoying but somehow lovable Effie Trinket is sure to be fine too. Lenny Kravitz is a favourite for everyone, Cinna, Katniss's fashion guru for the games. Everyone looks fantastic.
 To put it simply, I can't wait for The Hunger Games. It's receiving very positive UK reviews, supporting my absolute confidence in the film and so my excitement is reaching the top of the scale. The best part of this fan girl excitement is looking forward to every part. Seeing District 12, getting to the games and witnessing the girl who was on fire. Katniss Everdeen is easily one of my favourite fictional, female characters as well as an actual role model globally. Equally I'm looking forward to wearing my own mockingjay pin and putting my hair in a braid to witness one of my most anticipated, special, movie events of 2012.
Thanks if you've read even a word of this, especially if you got this far. May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour and if you're going to see The Hunger Games in the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy it.
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