So, the Hunger Games...

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So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 08 Aug 2011, 23:55

Okay, guys, girls. I'm sure a lot of you have started hearing about the Hunger Games now, the trilogy of "young adult" SciFi/Adventure Novels screenwriter and author Suzanne Collins, currently being adapted into the next big franchise. Some have called it the next "Harry Potter", others, the next... "Twilight Saga" (ugh, it makes me feel disgusting even to write it).

Let me tell you now, that is some straight A premium bull shit, because the Hunger Games are a fantastic an awesome series of books, full of excellent writing and superb characters and a layered, deep plot. I've shredded through the books as books on tape this summer, having listened to all of them now 3 to 4 times (i've got an audible account, and audio books are great for the gym). I like them enough that I'm considering buying them on tape to do a more thorough dissection (keep in mind, I'm addicted to narrative of all kinds, movies, comics, books and shows I like consume and re-consume the same way).

If I had to compare the books to other existent works, I'd give you this list:

Battle Royale (similar base concept and setting, similar tone and adventure feel)
V for Vendetta, Watchmen (similar worlds, many similar themes)
Avatar TLA (surprisingly similar in many themes, some settings, world, and a tendency towards hybrid animals and depth beyond target audience).
MLP:FIM (colorscheme and hairstyles. no, seriously, stop laughing)
Ender's Game (tone, intensity, style, some societal elements)
Firefly/Serenity (many similar themes, and I imagine many similarities in visual style, though this not a space fairing story. also, similar to all whedon works, the Hunger Games are full of badass lady fighters).
There's numerous other works I enjoy that it reminds me of that I can't think of as clearly right now, but they are rock solid novels. I also appreciate one of the core themes of the books is ripping reality television a giant new asshole where its face used to be. In general, it does share many ideas with other dystopian future pieces, but they do it very well, and add some kicking variety.

Here's the long and short of my point: This is in no way like Twilight. To quote the star of the up coming films:

“it’s a very violent, futuristic [world] where kids are randomly selected from their home districts to fight in an arena to the death. But we don’t drink blood. That’s sick.”

Also, the only time time anyone ever "sparkles in sunlight" in the Hunger Games is when the person looking at them has been bit by poisonous, hallucinogenic, genetically modified monster wasps.

I seriously think this is one of the best young adult series, and even scifi/dystopian series I've read in a long time. Great characters, Awesome world, and deep plot and social commentary.

Any other fans in the house?
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby JustAName » 09 Aug 2011, 00:10

Not as of yet, but after that glowing recommendation I shall be sure to add it to my list!
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 00:27

Do. They're really awesome. And the cast they've got going for the film is pretty damn promising. Woody Harrelson as a surly drunk trainer and mentor for the main characters? Casting perfection.

also movie website: http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com/ it's not much, but it's cool.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Deedles » 09 Aug 2011, 01:06

Oh my god! More books that I have to read!

I already got book 6-13 of the Wheel of Time series, the His Dark Materials trilogy, the Sword of Truth series, the Spook series and the Game of Thrones books that are released, thus far. D:

But I shall definitely add this to my list of things I need to read, because it sounds boss!
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby goat » 09 Aug 2011, 04:11

Deedles wrote:Oh my god! More books that I have to read!

I already got book 6-13 of the Wheel of Time series


3 years later....
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby dackwards d » 09 Aug 2011, 04:11

Sounds interesting. I'll look it up. I must admit to a certain amount of interest being purely due to seeing something simultaneously compared to Battle Royale and MLP, let alone some of the others....
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby korri » 09 Aug 2011, 05:50

These books are freaking amazing!! If you plan on actually reading them, make sure you set aside a full day at least for the first one. I literally COULD NOT put it down. Even when I read it the second time, I still read it in one day.

@epoc, have you seen who they've cast for the movies? Jennifer Lawrence will be Katniss, which I'm OK with, because she's apparently a pretty good actress and got nominated for on Oscar, so she probably won't suck. However she's 20-some years old and the two guys they cast for Gale and Peeta are the same (one of them was in a Miley Cyrus movie.... and I think he's the brother of the guy who played Thor) and I think they are all just too old. A lot of the impact of the movies was that they were 15 year old kids.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 09 Aug 2011, 06:14

I'm very interested in this film. I won't watch it in the cinema as I am very affected by graphical voilence so watching things in the comfort of my own room is preferable, I have control over what I see/hear if I can't cope.

It sounds awfully like Battle Royal I (film) so hopefully it will have the fun of creative/interesting kills. If it has a good plot and character then that's a bonus.

I've always been facinated by 'gameshow' type things.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 06:42

korri wrote:These books are freaking amazing!! If you plan on actually reading them, make sure you set aside a full day at least for the first one. I literally COULD NOT put it down. Even when I read it the second time, I still read it in one day.

@epoc, have you seen who they've cast for the movies? Jennifer Lawrence will be Katniss, which I'm OK with, because she's apparently a pretty good actress and got nominated for on Oscar, so she probably won't suck. However she's 20-some years old and the two guys they cast for Gale and Peeta are the same (one of them was in a Miley Cyrus movie.... and I think he's the brother of the guy who played Thor) and I think they are all just too old. A lot of the impact of the movies was that they were 15 year old kids.


A lot of your intel is right, though I'd point out that the Gale is 18 in the first book, (and played by the oldest main cast actor, currently at 21, and quite accurately the younger brother of Thor). On the other hand, Peeta and Katniss, who are both 16 in canon, are played by an 18 year old and 20 year old respectively, both of whom I've really enjoyed in previous films (the kid's are alright, x-men first class, winter's bone). They are all at the older end of the kid cast, which I think is good, as they are mostly more battle tested than there younger compatriots, and they are going to have to act some crazy shite.

Image Gale and Peeta
Image Katniss.

I'm not to worried. The one thing I am worried about is that I've heard unconfirmed reports that a certain key bread related flashback may have been shot with the main cast, which seems wrong to me, even though I love how the actors look, and am confident in good performances. I don't have in character photos for stuff for others yet, but the (properly 12 year old) girl playing Rue is freaking adorable.

Merrymaker_Mortalis wrote:It sounds awfully like Battle Royal I (film) so hopefully it will have the fun of creative/interesting kills. If it has a good plot and character then that's a bonus.

I've always been facinated by 'gameshow' type things.
Like I mentioned, totally fair to compare, and there are similarities, but they really do stand on their own. That said, HO, boy, are you not going to be disappointed. I'm not going to spoil when, where, or how this plays into the books, but I have 2 words for you: Carnivorous Squirrels
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby madrak_the_red » 09 Aug 2011, 07:41

Huh, I've never heard of these, but they sound rather cool.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Mister Fiend » 09 Aug 2011, 07:53

Katniss is my homeboy.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 11:17

damn straight.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Mister Fiend » 09 Aug 2011, 11:44

Still, I agree that the actors are a little old to be playing teens. least they dyed Jennifer Lawrence's hair, think she's usually blond.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Elomin Sha » 09 Aug 2011, 12:27

The Hunger Games? That's a weird sporting event to hold. I'm sure Sudan wins Gold repeatedly.


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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Tim » 09 Aug 2011, 12:52

I've read the first one, and enjoyed it. Haven't read the second and third yet.

My thoughts on the first book were kind of mixed. I thought there was a lot more potential for thematic exploration, and it just turned into a simple, though well executed, action drama.

So an entertaining read, but nothing to write home about. Maybe the other two books will do more for me.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 15:48

Well, Tim and this might be because I read all the books in quick succession, but I highly recommend that you grab the second two. They are the ones that really get deep into the underlying themes and layers of narrative and cultural critique. The first book really ends up being more of a set up and world building exercise and a character vehicle for Katniss with a relatively simple (though I'd also say well executed) plot. It's very much the "Batman Begins" model. That said, having read all three and then re read them, I now appreciate the first book more because it's heavily and seamlessly laid with set up and foreshadowing for the entire series.

After reading the first book the first time, their were exactly three things that excited me about the series:

1) It's technically well written.

2) Strong and relatable central female protagonist, which we need more of in fiction, especially children and young adult

3) It was so radically different from the other books I'd seen being popular with young kids in both seriousness and theme if not depth. Based on that, and having kids I take care of/cousins/family members in a target demo, I read the other two. Now, the I love the series as a whole, think it's remarkably well written and thematically deep, so here I come, pimping for it.

4)I also see it as the anti-Twilight, and anything that can help mute the terrible lessons being taught to a generation of young people (girls in particular) that those books have rained like a plague upon the land is good news.

Personally, I think my favorite book is book two, but really, it's best to think of the series as having a very much "Lord of the Rings" like construction, they are truly intended to be one epic story divided over three books, and none of them could stand as well apart as they do together.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Ollie, don'tcha know! » 09 Aug 2011, 15:55

I swear to God if one more person recommends I read The Hunger Games...

It seems to be appealing to a similardemographic as the Cherub series, which I really enjoyed when I was a bit younger. Would I be right in suggesting that?
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 16:54

Yeah sure ...what are they about? I don't really know anything about them.

I don't rule out books based on their supposed target demo. I recommend Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Harry Potter to people of any age who I think would enjoy them. Also, I honestly feel it's a significant error to site the Hunger Games based on it's supposed "target audience". The books get pretty intense, honestly. I knew very little about them when I started reading them, a friend of mine who's heavy into scifi and fantasy recommended them, and I looked them up, thought they sounded intriguing. And read them.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Juliamon » 09 Aug 2011, 19:00

I quite enjoyed the books, though less so as they went on. But that's probably because I'm not that big on political drama and just like to read about kids being badass and fighting for their lives.

The three books all feel fairly different (the first one is character establishment followed by extended action sequence, Catching Fire is solid character development with the most frustrating last-page cliffhanger I've ever read, and Mockingjay is action/political/apocalyptic drama) so it's not quite fair to judge the series as a whole by the first book.

And personally, the thing I'm most annoyed about the movie is that they've already set a date for the second one. YA novel series don't exactly have the best movie-franchise reputation, Harry Potter aside, and no matter how good the books may be, this might be jumping the gun about half a year too soon.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 09 Aug 2011, 20:29

that pisses me off too, but the good news there is that it's not the creative team behind the movie, it's the executives being dumbasses. I actually have a lot of faith in the creative team because Suzanne Collins is so closely involved and she spent most of her career as a screenwriter, so that's very encouraging.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby Trymantha » 11 Aug 2011, 02:56

I picked up the first two based on your recomendation.

last time i picked up books aon a whim/single recommendation was twilight(the recommendation was it has vampires and its really cool) i expect these to be better than thoese even though the copies I brought have Myer's name on them

if i dont like them -.-
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby korri » 11 Aug 2011, 04:53

The books are also being split into four movies from what I hear. However, I really don't know how they're going to do it... I don't think its going to be like HP where they just split up the last book either. I think the only real way to split it would be in the second book right after the quarter quell, but other wise I just don't see a good place to split it up.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 11 Aug 2011, 08:15

I know, I am so glad that the audio books I originally got had no quotes on them. I'd have been significantly more likely to ignore books that had any comparison/reference to twilight on them. However, marketing. Not that I can promise you'll like them, Trym, but I consider them significantly better than many YA targeted work I've read. Just in quality of writing, I consider them to not only be superior to Twilight (low bar, I know) but Harry Potter.

Korri, I heard the same thing as well, but only from an executive. I hope they don't, especially since each book seems like it would fit so well into one movie.
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby MatParker116 » 12 Aug 2011, 13:30

In terms of film news Steven Soderbergh just signed on as second unit director
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Re: So, the Hunger Games...

Postby epocalypse » 12 Aug 2011, 19:43

Which is both cool and very very odd. Triple A directors don't normally due second unit.
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