The iconic symbol that will always be remembered. Image courtesy of thereeldealonfilm.com
AN APPRECIATION OF SUZANNE COLLINS’ ACCLAIMED BOOK SERIES AND MOVIES
About three and a half years ago, I was talked into seeing a movie starring an actress I had never heard of, who was playing some teenage girl living in some futuristic dystopian and totalitarian society.
Actually, I was virtually dragged into the theater as my attitude was, “I’ll catch it on Direct TV Cinema when it appears on there in a few months,” being told that I’d love this young actress because she was my type; round features with curves, not skinny like far too many ingenues in Hollywood.
After seeing this movie, well, let’s put it like this:
I’m still thanking the person who insisted that I go see it.
The young actress?
Jennifer Lawrence, who was everything I was told and who I developed a crush on.
The Hunger Games.
Upon leaving the theater that afternoon, I had already determined that movie as having beaten the Harry Potter series in my book, which considering the significant impact that young British wizard and his friends (and enemies) had on pop culture – and culture in general – that certainly was saying something.
That conviction was only reinforced when I subsequently read the books, having bought them a few weeks after seeing the first film, and saw the subsequent Hunger Games sequels over the next three years: Catching Fire – which is my favorite of the three books and four movies – Mockingjay, Part 1 and Mockingjay, Part 2, which I saw on its opening day and in my official review (which I’ll make very short) wrapped up the story of Katniss Everdeen and her fight to help free Panem from the Hitlerian President Snow quite nicely.
It’s not my intention to give a full review of Mockingjay, Part 2 as tons of newspapers and internet sites have already done so.
I’ll just say these two things:
1. If you read the book, you know full well what happens and how things end with Katniss, her partner-in-the-Games Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson), and her District 12 mate Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth). If you hadn’t, I’m not going to be the one to spoil it for you.
2. If you hadn’t seen Catching Fire or especially Mockingjay Part 1, I strongly suggest that you do so before seeing Mockingjay, Part 2. Otherwise you will likely be going “huh?” throughout that film as the opening scene literally picks up right where Mockingjay, Part 1 left off; no opening credits, no prologue, nothing.
All right, now that I’ve gotten that little review out-of-the-way…
I was mentioning how in my opinion – and I’m sure in at least a few others – as much as I liked the Harry Potter books and movies, The Hunger Games outdid it.
While Harry started off as a kiddie thing of sorts, it got better and better as the books and movies progressed and as that bespectacled young man grew older; it was one big rise as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, both the book and its two movie adaptations, was the peak of J.K. Rowling’s series.
The Hunger Games didn’t need to get better and better; it started on top as Collins didn’t start the series as a “kid” thing, but got right to Katniss volunteering for her little sister Prim in that annual Super Bowl-like contest that pitted 24 young folks ages 12 to 18 against each other in a fight which the only way to win is to be the only one still alive.
What particularly appealed to me was the fact that Katniss, and subsequently Jennifer Lawrence in her portrayal of her, provided girls – and women for that matter – with something dearly needed in this day and age:
A true hero.
And not merely a garden-variety Supergirl/Wonder Woman-type hero with no fallacies either, as time and again Katniss showed herself to be human, with faults and insecurities that all teens have.
She had balls (check out her shooting an arrow through the apple of that pig in front of the Gamemakers in the first book/movie sometime).
Like many adolescent girls, she was a bit confused with regards to matters of the heart as she kept going back and forth between Peeta and Gale as far who she should ultimately commit her heart to.
She wasn’t stoic as she experienced the various tragedies that the Hunger Games and the Rebellion brought, crying at times and suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder that’s common in soldiers involved in combat.
And like I said three years earlier when I wrote a review of the first Hunger Games, her archery skills could give Robin Hood a real battle; so much so that I honestly don’t know who would win if Katniss and that Sherwood Forest archer engaged in a contest.
One thing is for certain – it would be the equivalent of those iconic Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier brawls in the 1970s.
Plus, as I must admit and as I had already mentioned in an article I wrote about a year ago, Jennifer Lawrence is very easy on the eyes.
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) aiming her arrow in the last symbolic shot of the rebellion. Still courtesy of redcarpetrefs.com
Plus, as everyone seems to agree with, she is very talented, arguably the most talented actor born in 1990 or later as she already has a Best Actress Oscar, won for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, to her credit.
If she doesn’t win two or three more Oscars – she’s been nominated for three so far – in her career, I’ll be surprised. Jennifer is that good.
And on top of everything else, judging from her interviews in print and on-screen, Jennifer seems to be a very cool, down-to-earth person. Not at all like so many actors and entertainers who not only seem like such divas, they give an aura of such despite their efforts to look down-to-earth in interviews.
Simply put, Jennifer gave those Hunger Games movies the appeal that they gave. I can’t think of anyone else who could have done the same thing.
Much like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games series – both the books and the movies – will appeal to people, both kids and adults, for as long as movies and books exist.
In fact, that’s when you know your movie and book geared toward young people is good – when parents and adults want to read them/see the films as much as the kids.
Which in the case of The Hunger Games definitely fits that bill.
Katniss with her battle squad in Mockingjay, Part 2, including Liam Hemsworth (as Gale Hawthorne), 2nd from left, Josh Hutcherson ( as Peeta Mellark), 4th from left, and Sam Claflin (as Finnick Odair), far right. Still courtesy of wegeekgirls.com