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An introduction and beating the odds with The Hunger Games

14 Nov

Hello world.

I do believe an introduction is in order. My name is Liesel Hindmann (or Ashley, in some dimensions), and I’m an apprentice. I work for the Atlanta-based Steampunk rock band The Extraordinary Contraptions as I continue my studies in public relations, music management, and many other things in between. I’m also a media lover. Half the fun of being a time traveller is the fact that I get to discover music, books, and films from all over the place. Sometimes all at once. Which brings me to the first topic of this diary of dimensional discoveries: the film adaptation of The Hunger Games.

Earlier this year, I began to read Suzanne Collins’ dystopian young adult trilogy after seeing the mockingjay’s presence follow me everywhere I went. I read the first book in April before I went on tour, and the last two in July while recovering from an expedition to Alaska. Despite the time between when I read the open and the close, I was hooked. The series plays out much like a cycle of Greek tragedies. Three books with three acts each telling the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen and her fight against the Capitol as it grows into a full out war. The series is action packed, but shows the very real consequences and outcomes of the situation the characters find themselves in. Despite taking place far into the future, the story is timeless and realistic.

It was sort of inevitable that the books would get a movie series adaptation. The film adaptation of The Hunger Games is coming out March 23rd and its sequel Catching Fire has already been announced for a November 2013 release date. Today, the first full length trailer for The Hunger Games came out on Apple Trailers.

And it is astounding.

On first glance for someone who has read the book, it seems like they have kept a fairly faithful adaptation to the book. Well, I do believe having Suzanne Collins and shooting much of the film around where District 12 is supposed to be in North Carolina does help. It’s not just that, however. From the multiple times I’ve watched this trailer, I’ve gotten emotional each time. Especially in a particular part with a certain gesture. I will not spoil it for those who have not read the series, but fans will know what I mean. If I can gain this emotion from brief clips in the trailer, then it’s highly possible that the movie has already succeeded.

For The Hunger Games to succeed financially though, they still have odds they need to play against. For a cynical and unaware market, the series will seem like a Twilight knockoff. For cynical film snobs, the concept of pitting children against each other for the entertainment of others might be too close to Battle Royale. In its favor though is the astounding cast and Lionsgate throwing everything it has at promoting this film. Jennifer Lawrence is still riding on the high of her Academy Award nomination for Winter’s Bone (which I still haven’t seen, but hope to review for a future blog) as well as her fantastic performance as a young Mystique in X-Men: First Class. She’s already set to knock Katniss out of the park at this point. Alongside her, the cast also has Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz playing several of the film’s adult characters. Personally, I’m looking forward to Kravitz’s performance as Cinna, who’s actions set much of Katniss’ journey in motion throughout the books.

Lionsgate has also been working this film as hard as they can. For fans, they’ve set up registration to be a Panem citizen, have offered free poster promotions at theaters across the country, gave Mockingjay pins at San Diego Comic-Con (which became one of the most sought out pieces of swag this year), and have worked hard to appeal to many of the fanblogs. Before the trailer came out today, I had already heard exited rumblings from Twiffidy over at The Victor’s Village after she had been invited to an advanced screening of said trailer. Not to mention that the trailer will be played before Twilight: Breaking Dawn this weekend. Exposure, exposure, exposure…

Personally, I believe that the film adaptation is going to have a lot of appeal to retro-futurists like myself. Many of the settings in the book are not as far along technologically as the Capitol, so places like District 12 are more rustic and old fashioned in both appearance and tradition. However, even the Capitol’s fashion has a bit of a neo-victorian flair to it. Take a look at Elizabeth Banks as the ever pink and cheerful Effie Trinket.

The hat, the puffy sleeves, the very stylized hair, and the fitted waist… Give her a parasol and she’s ready to go for a Steampunk-themed outing.

As for the men, let’s look at our representative of tyranny played by Donald Sutherland, President Snow.

With the jacket, vest, and cravat combination, he gives the look of the esteemed gentlemen. Of course, esteemed gentlemen are never usually what they seem.

Alongside all of this, I’m also looking forward to the music of the film. With Danny Elfman and T-Bone Burnett in charge of the score and the soundtrack, we are bound to get something appropriately anachronistic and futuristic for the world of Panem. Plus, it helps that Academy Award winning songwriter Glen Hansard wrote a song for the film. Still holding out for Mumford and Sons for a future installment, but ‘Come Away’ is appropriate for Katniss and her District 12 background. Can’t wait to hear how it comes out in recording.

Overall, I feel as if the odds are in The Hunger Games favor, but I guess we will not know until March if those odds will pay out. I’ll be keeping those hopes high and will try to report back on it. Until then, and to quote Effie Trinket, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Books, Film

 

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