Having read Lord of the Flies as a “young adult” I’ve only recently found out that far away from that isolated island their really in the midst of a nuclear war. Which is a total mindfuck to me now, as not only do I realize that how clueless I was back then but also that the whole concept of the novel now takes on a more apocalyptic urgency and relevance that precedes all the latter successors and imitators such as the recent teen phenom of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. But what sets apart The Hunger Games is that it is not as hokey as Harry Potter, nerdy as Lord of the Rings, or gay as Twilight, and light years better than any Star Wars prequels (but then again what isn’t?).
The only thing keeping this young love story from totally making me want to vom, is that it’s less like a CW soap and more Darwinian in the game of the ultimate reality show on the survival of the fittest. Translating the simplistic writing of the novel to the big screen requires a Director able to handle the balance between the expositionary components of the rules and reality of this dystopian totalitarian society and all the while maintain the heroine of Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) perspective…but unfortunately director Gary Ross strays from her point of view and instead gives us some irritating overused handheld shakes along with cheesy cinematography and uninspired, cheap set design. Luckily Jennifer Lawrence who is coming off a similar role in Winter’s Bone of trying to support a family and survive bum fuck poverty, is such a force of nature, even with the Baker wuss Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) by her side, who’s name is associated with a fucking falafel. The delightfully deranged Elizabeth Banks, and over the top demented performance by Stanley Tucci’s also help provide comic relief, but no way compared to the laughter that was generated from the audience every time the movie cuts to Katniss’ meathead boyfriend back home with his stupid sad puppy dog face.
Of course the adapted movie franchise is always subject to comparisons with it’s source as some key elements and characters are omitted such as the reason behind the whole class structure and districts. I don’t blame them though, these days one can’t survive a theater for more than two and half hours without having an anxiety attack from fear of bed bugs or go without having to take a fucking leak. If it were a four hour HBO miniseries though…Regardless, instead they instilled us that people in Hollywood always look good, even after starving and sleeping in trees for weeks. I mean Peeta’s missing leg is rewritten to nothing more than a scab.
There probably is another franchise somewhere percolating in the near future after this hoopla is over – with grassroots beginning thru Young Adult novels followed by a Hollywood makeover and a whole other generation that will succumb to it’s mythology. The odds are in your favor…