5 Things I Learned From ‘The Hunger Games’

The Hunger Games‘ opens nationally today to much anticipation. The film is a thrilling adaptation of the best-selling novel – the first of a trilogy (of course!) by Suzanne Collins. Here are some things I learnt:

1) Killing your friend is HARD.
This is not a childrens movie. There are gruesome scenes of bloodshed- kid-on-kid strangulation, stabbing, spearing, swollen wasp-biten corpses, you name it. You can’t help but feel empathy for the competitors chosen for ‘The Hunger Games’. The moment when their name is called out and then the moments before the games start are so tensely conveyed, you can feel their anxiety and fear. Everyone in the game is their competitor. “Go for water, it’s your new friend” is one piece of advice given. After watching, I got all philosophical about a scenario where I was chosen to be in the Hunger Games. How would I survive? What would be my “skill”? Does everyone have the potential to kill under the right circumstances? Would I do my district proud or would I be killed instantly y’all?

2) K-A-T-N-I-S-S
If you haven’t read the book, you’ll wonder what the Jennifer Lawrence’s character’s name is the entire movie. It’s Katniss. Katniss Everdeen. Not Cagnes (Agnes with a ‘C’). Jennifer Lawrence is really, really good. In everything I’ve seen her in (Winter’s Bone, Like Crazy, X:Men: First Class and now this) she manages to steal the show with her luminosity and grittiness- not an easy thing to convey simultaneously. Look out for the memorable line: “Thank you for your consideration”.

3) Charlie & The Chocolate Capitol
The world created in The Capitol is something special. Part Tim Burton, part David LaChapelle, part Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, part Mardi Gras. The colours and the fashion alone are something to behold. The scene with all the competitors entering the stadium on chariots is Miss Universe meets the Olympics in 2050. Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks play kooky alarmingly well. And on the topic of supporting cast, there’s also the Lenny factor. Even though I was distracted by the fact that I was watching “Lenny Kravitz”, I enjoyed his performance as the stylist who befriends Katniss. It had an air of nonchalant cool about it- like he just pranced on set and did his thang.

4) Reality TV- how far is too far?
There seemed to be an interesting nod to the modern fascination with reality TV. The idea of watching real life scenarios take place, while producers add obstacles (in this case, deadly) to heighten the drama and entertainment for viewers. How “real” is it and how much of a chance do the kids in ‘The Hunger Games‘ really have with the organisers throwing in wild animals, forest fires and using techniques to ‘speed the game up’ (aka kill off people faster). All in the name of entertainment.

5) Being hungry is the pits.
The stark contrast at the beginning from the poor, starving, concentration camp conditions at District 12 to the excess of the Capitol makes food look really delicious. OK it was dinner time when I saw the film, but some of the cakes and pastries on the high-speed Shinkansen-esque train made me drool. So- take snacks and may the odds be ever in your favour.

The Hunger Games is in cinemas now.