The Hunger Games and my inner 13 year old fangirl
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
The first Hunger Games film came out in 2012, when I was 10. The books were already out, but I read them after watching the trailer. I instantly fell in love with the series. The last time I watched a film from the trilogy (4 films, because the last book was divided into two) was when Mockingjay Part 2 was released in 2015. I was 13, and completely in love with the series. A few days ago, I found my younger sisters watching The Hunger Games on TV, and after watching bits and pieces with them, I wanted to re-watch the series. Unfortunately, I did not have time to watch all of them, so I watched the 2nd film of the series, Catching Fire, and was reminded of why I had loved it so much years ago.
The Hunger Games explains how these "games" have been created as punishment for a revolt that occurred years earlier. 13 districts of the fictional country of Panem rose up against the Capitol, inhabited by the insanely rich people of the country. The uprisings failed when the 13th District was destroyed. The remaining districts were forced to participate in annual games since then, where two "tributes" from each district would go into an arena, where all 24 participants would fight to death, and one would emerge as a "victor". These were randomly selected, and each district sent one female and one male.
The first film ended with Katniss and Peeta (i love the series but the names are ridiculous) refusing to kill each other, and instead trying to kill themselves so there would be no victor at all. However, as they have pretended to be in love, they are spared and they both win the games. For most, the decision to eat the poison berries was an act of love, but many see it as an act of defiance, which then sets the tone for the next 2 books.
I love Catching Fire because it acts as the transition from the games to the revolution. It begins with Katniss and Peeta touring the country as victors, and Katniss finding out that her poison berry act has led to uprisings, with people viewing her as a symbol of hope. To kill her and the movement she has stirred, those in power in the Capitol send her back to the arena, as those chosen from the existing pool of victors take part in the 75th Hunger Games. It's a great tactic on their part, but it does not work.
What I love about this film is that it shows how the districts are united. The Games were designed in order to keep the districts at war with each other; killing each other to ensure their own survival. We see some of this in the first film, with Katniss pairing up with Rue, a younger girl from District 11. In this film, the unity is hidden from Katniss and the audience for the most part. In the beginning, the tributes hold hands during a TV show (and the broadcast is cut immediately), and when the games begin, some of them team up. But we do not find out the extent of this unity till the end of the film.
The viewers, and Katniss, are kept in the dark about a secret plan which involves blowing up the arena, ending the games, and beginning a revolution. The people who "ally" with Katniss (a term used for those who team up to survive, till they eventually have to kill each other to win), are in on this plan, and they all succeed in executing it. The districts get together to plan and carry out a revolution, which is only successful when people from all the districts unite against their common enemy.
What I love from the film is the line, "Remember who the real enemy is". It is a reminder that Katniss is not meant to kill her allies. Her enemy is not the other districts, nor is it the naïve and brainwashed population of the Capitol, Her real enemy is President Snow, and those in power who will go to any and every length to keep that power. In the very end of the series, Katniss is once again reminded of this when she finds that the new interim President has the same mindset and thirst for power, and (SPOILER) executes her to stop the same cycle from repeating itself.
I could go on and on about the series, because the re-watch has rekindled my love for it, and reawakened my inner 13 year old fangirl. The books are amazing, and the films do a great job with the adaptation. If anyone hasn't watched the series, I think they should: it's fun and it's relevant and it might take you back to when you were 13, and life was better.