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The Hunger Games: Why It Will Succeed

by Mia Galuppo | USC

F Posted in: Sports and Culture, Voices P Posted on: February 24, 2012
Mia Galuppo Mia Galuppo

On Christmas morning my brother handed me three books. True-to-form, he gave them to me unwrapped and slightly used. I was hoping for all seven seasons of Boy Meets World on DVD, but instead I got books. Reading? Recreationally? Who does my brother think I am, Topanga?

I asked him what they were about. He told me the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where teenagers are forced to duel to the death as entertainment for an oppressive gentry. Tis the season!

I read all them-all of them-over the course of two days. The only other time I can remember being that excited to finish a book was when I was reading the Miley Cyrus autobiography, Miles To Go. I mean, seriously, that girl just gets it.

After I came out of my two-day fictional whirlwind, I was greeted with two very pressing realities. The first being my desperate need for a shower, and the second that The Hunger Games was being made into a movie that would be out this March.

The Harry Potter films have successfully come to a close after eight glorious installments, and the Twilight series will make its triumphantly moody exit next November. After November, it will be the first time in near to twelve years that there will be a demand in Hollywood for an adapted young-adult movie franchise. Enter The Hunger Games. These books could not have come along at a more opportune time. This series will have the rare opportunity to fill the gap that has been created by endearing wizards and irritable vampires. The first chapter of The Hunger Games is arguably the most anticipated film of 2012. So only one question remains — will the film live up to hype?

I believe that it has the potential to do so for two reasons: 1) stellar casting and 2) an impressive team behind the camera.

The peripheral characters of The Hunger Games are where a lot of the heart of the story is found. Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) is set to play Haymitch, the alcoholic and tortured mentor. Harrelson’s gritty humor, caustic personality and morally sound judgment will allow him to do well as the film’s anti-hero. Stanley Tucci is cast as the eccentrically endearing talk show host, Caesar Flickerman. Flickerman is obsessed with outward appearances and has a personality so large that it can barley be contained under his well-manicured blue wig. Tucci’s character in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, is eerily similar to his role as the charismatic TV personality.

The only casting that made me a little nervous was Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right/ Journey to the Center of the Earth) in the role of Peeta. Hutcherson’s previous characters have all been immature, petulant teenagers who spend the majority of their prospective films incessantly whining to their superiors. Peeta is a guy who would never dream of complaining and whose thoughts are occupied with the well being of others, especially Katniss. Peeta is the type of guy that when you look into his eyes, you can see the gears turning, and you know that he is already one step ahead of the guy who is always one step ahead of everyone else. Hutcherson has never struck me as the leading man type, but I will be happy to be proven wrong.

The Hunger Games is the first person account of Katniss Everdeen, and it is often very difficult to translate first-person biopics into the third person format that is used for screenplays. A vast majority of the book is the internal dialogue of the heroine, and this introspection will be lost in the cinematic adaptation. A brilliant move by writer/director Gary Ross (Pleasantville/Seabiscut) was to bring onboard Suzanne Collins, the author of the trilogy, to help with not just the story but also the screenplay. Collins will hopefully be able to bridge the gap between written word and silver screen. Unfortunately, no matter how amazing the screenplay may be, the original meditative nature of the novel will be mislaid amongst the external action of the actual games.

Before you see the movie, I greatly suggest reading the books, because, in order to be converted into a visual medium, the story will inevitably have to be warped. The world that Suzanne Collins creates is outlandish and intriguing but the story never losses its firm grasp of the humane characteristics that are comparable to modern realities. This book is no The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it is considered young-adult fiction, which is a genre that is often looked down upon as lesser literature. But before we judge too harshly, I think we need to remember the universal truth that has been immortalized by a true literary sage—

“Nobody’s Perfect”

-Miley Cyrus, Miles to Go

Mia Galuppo Mia Galuppo Mia Galuppo is a freshman at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. If you want to tell her anything feel free to email her at galuppomia@gmail.com. Except you Mike! Ya, you!

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