The Hunger Games, a book by Suzanne Collins, is something I had no heard about until the movie came out.  Similar to the Percy Jackson series that came out many years back.  I’d read the book before seeing Percy, and found that movie to be an abomination.  It didn’t even make sense to me as how the movie was supposed to tie the book to the movie…most of the movie had parts that were either re-written or just plain cut out.  Others just didn’t make any sense, and a lot of important characters were completely changes, say a certain, NON-black guardian, made to “soft shoe” throughout the whole movie.  Bad call Disney…  I mention this because there are a few complains about race that have been made about certain characters who’s ethnicity has been deemed a valid topic of discussion.

Rue of District 11

In fact, I think I’ll start there… First of all, Rue, the youngest cast member, and youngest “tribute”.  Is a subject of a lot of fan backlash, which it is UNFOUNDED!!  I personally have never read the books, and honestly don’t read my books with race in mind but I can’t image that a white person wouldn’t read a book from their own point of view, just like I, as a black man, would read a book and imagine a world of colored folks, or a mixture there of.  From what I’ve been informed about the book…Rue’s skin tone is left up to the reader and the author describes the features like height and hair, nothing more, but to say killing a little black girl in a movie is racist…Grow up people.  Black children die everyday in Africa, and you don’t lift a finger.  Black American children die in AMERICAN GHETTOS, and you still don’t lift a finger… Get over it.

...but Grover IS white...

Now let take another book where this liberty was taken and completely jacked up.  Percy Jackson, and the Lightening Thief.  Above is Grover, he’s described as having a rasta had and curly hair.  The had covers up his horns, and he’s lazy.  Think about that for a moment.  Rick Riordian describes this character as LAZY, curly haired kid who wears a rasta cap, and he looks like what you see above, but Disney took this as the following.

...Grover is not black...

Now that’s racist…thank you Disney for taking a description of a established vision of a white satry, and making a jiggabo, soft shoeing, Ebonics speaking character for a very trashy movie.  Shame on you, and shame on anyone who claims racism for Rue.  It doesn’t matter, and you all should know better, because it didn’t change the fact that the character dies, and her death is meant to show how messed up the games are, and ultimately how messed of the Capitol is.

On to the movie,  The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem, after the destruction of North America by some unknown apocalyptic event. Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts under the Capitol’s hegemony. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly Appalachia.

As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games. This is an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one individual remains.

I found this particular movie to be very involving.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve been this interested in the entire cast of characters.  The drunken Haymitch and Cinna, portrayed by Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz, respectively.  Katniss was a torn character from the start, but the best part about the movie, clearly came in the from of Haymitch and Cinna.  The small time they spent on the screen was meant to be extremely small, but that time was amazing and made Katniss, and Peeta more human an likable.  After starting to read the books, seriously it was like a few days ago, they nailed their parts.  I kind of like Effie, Elizabeth Banks, but she’s really…odd in an adorable kind of way.  Even though these characters were not really about these characters, they were some of the better parts of the film.

The book and the movie are very close, there are a few portions that were changed for the sake of the film, but over all it caught the basic point of book, which was the amount of power of the few and how it is used to crush and oppress the weak.  It also shows how heavily corrupt the system itself truly is.  Oh did I mention that this happens in American soil… Political commentary anyone??  99% vs. the 1%?

Over all I loved the film.  It was riveting, and jarring.  The moments that were meant to be shocking, where shocking in a classy way, and the ones that were meant to make you hate people for a reason did exactly that.  This film series, yes series, because they’ve already started filming the second movie, will be good if they keep doing things the way they did this one.  I started reading the second book and love it so far.  I recommend you get to your local Barnes and Nobles and buy them all and read them.  Do it NOW…oh, and go see this movie too.

District 12 salute