Confession: I've never watched any of movies... until now. The Hunger Games
I honestly don't have a good excuse for why it took me so long to check these movies out (and I know some might consider my actions criminal). But I must say that experiencing this saga for the first time through a 2023 lens was an interesting (...enjoyable, nail-biting, and anxiety-inducing...) experience. Plus, with the release of
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes, now was as good a time as any to check out the original Hunger Games, , Catching Fire Mockingjay: Part 1, and Mockingjay: Part 2. Here are my overall thoughts... 1. Holy cow, it's brutal!
Big-budget book-to-movie adaptations were all the rage when these movies started rolling out. The
Hunger Games movies were inevitably grouped among the final installments of and Harry Potter Twilight. Listen, I can see why, as they all feature a fair share of fantastical elements, were based on bestsellers, and primarily targeted the same crowds — but boy, are they *different.* And what I wasn't expecting from this fan-favorite franchise was a healthy serving of violence. I mean, these movies are brutal, and they pull no punches when it comes to deaths. But also, what else should I have expected from a movie series centered around a game of killing other people? Oh, and for the record, this isn't a negative critique — just an observation. Lionsgate 2. The twists kept comin'...
Where do I begin with all the plot twists? Plutarch Heavensbee? He was more challenging to read than a foreign dictionary! The death of Primrose? GASP! Wait, District 13 still exists?! No way! And can we all agree that the Capitol just made up things as they went?
Oh, it's the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games? Well, now the winners from previous games have to return to the arena and compete against each other. It's the rules! These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg regarding twists in this franchise, and I'm here for all of it. Lionsgate 3. Team Peeta vs. Team Gale.
I didn't go into the franchise expecting to pick a side between the two co-leading men, but a quick Google search will remind you that the Team Peeta vs. Team Gale debate was much talked about back in the day. I think this really only came to be because of
Twilight's Team Jacob vs. Team Edward situation — which, in my opinion, was valid (I'm Team Edward, btw).
But Team Peeta vs. Team Gale? In my eyes, it's not even a competition. Peeta, played wonderfully by
Josh Hutcherson, is much more of a central figure than Liam Hemsworth's Gale. I mean, the franchise ultimately focuses on (a very brainwashed) Peeta's rescue from the Capitol and his eventual happy-ever-after with Katniss. Case closed. Lionsgate 4. This franchise is all about alliances.
From the collective of the rebellion to tactical game-play between Hunger Games competitors, this franchise would be worse off without the complexity of alliances. Not to mention, when you really think about it, the franchise's core came down to that initial alliance formed between Katniss and Peeta at the end of their first game. From there, a plethora of alliances were created and broken during the saga's run. Oh, the drama!
Lionsgate 5. And Katniss really was *that girl* all along.
From volunteering as tribute to compete in the games to serving as a leader of the rebellion, and let's not forget that kick-ass moment when she knocks off President Coin, Katniss always kept her eye on the bigger picture. And Jennifer Lawrence portrayed her inner conflicts throughout the saga's four-picture run with such compelling force. In the words of
Alicia Keys, "This girl is on fire!" It's no wonder this franchise made her a star. Lionsgate