5 Facts About ‘The Hunger Games’ Movie for Those Who Haven’t Read the Books

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 6:18 pm, This is a list post.

The Hunger Games 5 Facts Movie Books The Hunger Games is the hot-ticket item at the movies right now; It's already sold-out record numbers of advanced showings, and earned strong reviews from critics (click here for our official review). The film is looking like a big success for Lionsgate (a sequel, Catching Fire, is already on the way) - but that doesn't mean that everyone is sold on seeing it. In fact, there is a considerable portion of the larger moviegoing public that hasn't read any of Suzanne Collins' novels and is wondering what all the hubbub is about this film and if it's worth a trip to the theater. So, for those who have not yet been bitten by Hunger Games fever, we've compiled 5 things you should know to help you better make your decision about whether or not to see the film.

5. There is Action and Violence

The Hunger Games Action Movie Contrary to what The Hunger Games trailers would have you believe, this film is about more than just the drama surrounding protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) trying to save her sister, Prim. There is actually, you know, a brutal tournament that takes place. Admittedly, the studio has taken a risky step by leaving footage of the deadly melee that is the actual "hunger games" out of any preview materials. Having read the book, trust us when we say that the film offers plenty of action (and some pretty horrific moments) once Katniss is on the playing field fighting for her life. Dangers include mutated beasts, video game-style traps - and oh, yeah, the 20+ other young combatants looking to murder one another. If you're worried that this film looks boring and/or sappy - don't. There are plenty of thrills and chills to be had.

4. There's No Soapy 'Twilight' Romantic Stuff

The Hunger Games is like Twilight Those unfamiliar with The Hunger Games have taken one look at the two male protagonists in the film trailers - Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) - and immediately leapt to the conclusion that the film would emulate the soapy teen love triangle of The Twilight Saga. While we can see the similarity, that assumption is still an erroneous one. Katniss Everdeen is not the type of girl to get hung up on boys. Author Suzanne Collins created a unique heroine whose only focus is survival, period. The two boys in her life are only there because they help with that survival goal - whether at home in the forests hunting for food (Gale), or during the public relations campaign that precedes the games (Peeta). No sappy love story to see here, folks. Once the games begin, Katniss' concern is keeping herself alive. Any love or affection she shows is all part of the game...

3. It's Not Just a Clone of That Film You Saw Before

The Hunger Games is like Battle Royale The Running Man Even as The Hunger Games nears its theatrical debut, there are snarky individuals who like to drop comments about how the film is a recycled version of earlier films like The Running Man, or Japenese cult-classic Battle Royaleor (to lesser extent) deathmatch films like The Condemned. However, these so-called "insights" lack, well, insight into what The Hunger Games is truly about. Sure, there are obvious shades of influence all over Suzanne Collins' work, but the fact is that Collins succeeded in creating her own unique characters, narrative, and thematic angles - as well as a world and mythos that is all her own. While The Hunger Games does intersect with other, similar, stories at certain points, it is also more modern and topical than any of the aforementioned films it's being compared to. Genre movies often share similar premises - it's all about the uniqueness of the story that's crafted within that premise. In the case of Hunger Games, that story is one worth exploring.

2. Director Gary Ross has Skills

The Hunger Games Director Gary Ross Director Gary Ross may not be a director whose name you're immediately familiar with, but the man has definite skills. The Hunger Games is only the third feature film he's directed, but the other two entries on that list are Pleasantville and Seabiscuit - both of which received multiple Oscar nominations and are loved by their respective fans. Did we also mention that Ross is a screenwriter who has worked on the scripts for each of his films, including Hunger Games? Oh, and before directing his own work, Ross wrote scripts for little films like Big, Dave and Mr. Baseball. You may have heard of them. That's all to say: The Hunger Games has been crafted by a man who very much knows how to make a film. And if early reports are any indication, Ross has taken the book and not only translated it to screen intact - he's improved upon it in some ways.

1. The Cast Has Skills Too

The Hunger Games Cast If you look at the cast of fresh young faces that are starring in The Hunger Games and assume that they aren't seasoned enough to deliver a compelling movie, you'd be wrong. The movie has celebrated veterans like Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci (Devil Wears Prada), Toby Jones, Elizabeth Banks (Zack and Mirir) and Woody Harrelson all elevating the material, and  the young actors are just as talented. Star Jennifer Lawrence broke into the mainstream with a 2011 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in the indie drama Winter's Bone. Co-star Josh Hutcherson played a major role in The Kids Are All Right, which was also nominated for multiple 2011 Oscars. That combination alone should tell you what kind of talent Ross and the studio snagged for this film.  Even the cast of supporting characters has some proven acting talent, including Orphan star Isabelle Fuhrman and rocker Lenny Kravitz, who earned respect for his role in Precious, and may be a case of pitch-perfect casting as Katniss' enigmatic stylist, Cinna. In terms of acting talent, The Hunger Games cast is far from amateur hour.

The Hunger Games Movie Faqs Ultimately it's up to you whether or not to see The Hunger Games. Our only hope is that some of the questions (or misconceptions) you may have once had are now put to rest. If there is anything else you'd like to ask about the film - or if there are concerns you want to voice - please do so in the comments (we'll try to provide NON-SPOILER answers). Otherwise, enjoy these Hunger Games promotional materials: The Hunger Games will be in theaters on March 23, 2012.
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  1. Great article Kofi, couldn’t agree more with this list. I hope this alleviates the concerns of non readers.

  2. very cool write up man. I was shocked at some of the violence in the book to be quite honist. For this being a “young adult” series, its quite real, very bruital and down right heartbreaking at times.
    Looking foward to seeing how all of that translates to the big screen. And for all you “ugh its PG13…there’s no way the can do it right” people..i’ve been making this point from the get go: Please keep in mind,The Dark Knight was PG13 as well. But it was done so well, you forget it from the start.

  3. Very good article , i am fed up defending this films right to be judged on its on merits . I will be seeing this tonight carnt wait !

  4. The film just does not look interesting to me from the commercials. It actually looks like a 1970’s movie, rather than a modern one.

    • The 1970s might have been the greatest period of film history. That works for me.

    • I get your point with that, Jeff, but I think Kofi is absolutely right in that what the trailers and commercials have shown isn’t even scratching the surface of the overall story (if they follow the book which all indications are they did).

  5. does anyone know how much of the runtime is the actual battle?

    • it’s half of the movie or less

    • I’d agree with Alex. In the book, it’s almost not until halfway through that the actual games start, but the build up is done quite well.

  6. One thing i can add. There’s not much action in this movie. All gore are off-screen, and Katniss rarely killing anybody. She almost always sleeping in this movie. So yeah, action could’ve been better

  7. I think with all this Hunger Games talk, why not make one of the original man hunt man stories… “The Most Dangerous Game” the story was published in 1924, it’s the story about a man who fell off a yacht, swam to an isolated island on the Caribbean, only to be hunted by an Cossack aristocrat.

    • the most dangerous game is an awesome short story. they really should make it into a movie

      • I think I saw that done on an episode of the Incredible Hulk.

      • There is a movie of The Most Dangerous Game, from 1932. It stars Joel McRea and Fay “King Kong” Wray.

      • The Most Dangerous Game is an excellent movie starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Joel McCrea(1933)

  8. Thank you, Kofi…I (and others) have been making similar points until this point, but it’s nice to have an article onsite that makes those CONSTANT defenses and corrections a bit more “official” in their presentation. I cannot wait to see the film :)

    • Collins has cleary stated that she had never even heard of the book or Movie Battle Royale until after she completed writing her books. It’s completely coincidental.

      • I think I also remember Stepanie Myer saying she had never seen an episode of Buffy.

        • Yeah, but “Battle Royale” is definitely a MUCH less known property than “Buffy”. Collins can believably state she has never heard of BR, but Meyer has a much harder sell trying to convince people she hadn’t at least heard of “Buffy”. There is also the fact that the two vampire properties have a great many differences, so knowing of one does not mean the other was a cheat…

  9. If you’re worried that this film looks boring and/or sappy – don’t. There are plenty of thrills and chills to be had.

    No sappy love story to see here, folks

    I had never heard of HG before SR reported on it, and the trailers didn’t impress me. But those 2 reasons above put it over the top. Great report, Kofi.

    • Battle Royale was mediocre anyway.

      • I doubt you even watched it, there was no way in hell that Battle Royale was mediocre.

        • Yeah,It’s a Masterpiece.

          • It pales in comparison to the manga. Now that really is awesome. The movie is okay, but is really just a gore fest and little else. But good for just being that.

  10. I’m sold. I love Gary Ross’ work and the fact that he is directing it has me excited to see this.

  11. Great article Kofi.. This is still not my cup of tea and I can happily pass on seeing this movie..

  12. Thanks for this I really had no idea why there was so much hype surrounding this or anything about it aside from the info. alluded to in the title & trailers. The 3-5seconds of music that plays at the end of the trailers really caught my attention though. After reading this I’m debating watching 21 Jump Street tonight or waiting a day or two to see Hunger Games.

  13. i loved this article it was great, i agree 100% i have read all the books. and have been dieing to see this movie. its a constant topic, at hot topic. one of my jobs, We have all read the books and anxiously been waiting. if you havent read the books, you really should. the story is one of its own and it is written really well. and the movie i have been skeptical just like any reader. but everything i have seen so far, it seems that it wont dissapoint 😀

  14. I had never heard of these books until I saw the movie poster, so I’m grateful for this article Kofi.
    I wasn’t even on the fence, but now I’ll probably see it

  15. Great synopsis for anyone who has not read the books
    which is most of the audience despite the series success.

    My concern is Gary Ross as director, not writer.
    For screenplay to translate this he is a perfect choice.
    I thought Seabiscuit just missed dictatorially so I wonder
    about Gary helming this particularity because of action scenes.

  16. Good article Kofi. I do believe that by not showing any of the violent action in the movie trailers has kept a lot of people away from this movie, but those same people might come around after the first couple of reviews are in or from word of mouth.

    It was nice to see you try to distinguish between THG and Battle Royle, but trying to prove a point to someone who is so loyal to Battle Royle, is like trying to change the political views of a Republican to a Democrat or vice versa, it’s just not going to happen lol.

    It’s easy to understand why BR fans are so against this movie as there are strong similarities, I just hope those fans can give this story a chance and go see it with an open mind and not “this story is a rip off, its going to suck” mentality, but hey that’s their opinion and they are allowed to have it.

    • Whereas BR is really about how, in that culture, the older generI think the site ToplessRobot put the comparison between the 2 best. Whereas BR is about adults fearing the youth in that particular culture, THG is about future generations are made to suffer for the crimes of their forefathers, as well as the effects of war on children and families. ALSO, how cruel those in power can be when their power is unchecked, also the dangers of complacency and fear.

  17. Love Hunger Games, but how dare you say Battle Royale lacks ‘insight’, I found the drama more realistic than Hunger Games.

    • I may have misinterpreted what they were saying, but, I don’t believe they said that Battle Royal lacked insight. I believe what they were trying to say was that the people who refused to be open minded to The Hunger Games because they labeled it as only a clone of Battle Royal lacked insight.

  18. this is a good article, i for one have not read the books, and don’t plan on it or watching the movie…at the risk of sounding like an a$$, my brain puts the hunger games in the “tween girl” catagory of pop culture…and i loathe that catagory more than any other!!! so im skipping it. I just cant force myself to believe that i will enjoy this.

    • I get your concern @kyak and I feel the same. I hate the tween girl category and my girlfriend is the one who convince me to read this book. Ironically enough. I read the book and was hooked on page 10. It is an incredible story about violence, brutality, yet humanity. If the movie does the book any justice it will include all of those elements and more. I would recommend this book/movie to anyone as I have. It is incredible and I throw a tantrum when someone compares it to twilight haha. Because sparkling vampires are stupid. And teenagers trying to survive in an arena is awesome. The trailers do the story NO justice.

  19. I’ve seen the movie, was quite awesome really compared to the movies of the year so far. And I agree with all of the points above except that I wish Gary Ross would’ve improved a bit on the shaky hand-held footage during the third act. Other than that, great movie, convincing actors and nice satire on the entertainment industry.

    • Most reviews I have read saud ross is bad with a camera near the end and is pretty weak cinematographer throughout

  20. Hmmm may see this noww havent read the books but still looks good

  21. I’m probably going to skip seeing it in theaters because I’m tight on cash and need to save for the big ones this summer, but I’ll definitely check it out when it comes out on video.

    • Same with me.

  22. Not sure if I agree with your fact No.2. I will admit that in the first book the whole love triangle aspect, and there obviously is one, was downplayed pretty well. Although at the end Katniss became quite an unlikable character(IMHO) in the way she was treating the 2 potential love interets in her life. I still really like the first book.
    Then book 2 & 3 really amped up the love triangle situation and I really started to hate Katniss for basically leading the two guys on and never making a decision one way or the other. By the end of the 3rd book I pretty much hated her as much as I hate the Bella Swan character.
    She became exactly like Bella, except with Bella you always knew she was pretty much leaning toward Edward the whole time.

    • I’ve only read the first book, but I was under the impression that she really wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with either Peeta or Gale… That both of the guys were in love with her, but that she was only interested in them as friends… Does the author really play up the love triangle as much in the next two books?

      • The romance aspect IS played up in the next two books, BUT it serves to further the story, NOT the other way around. I didn’t feel it descending to the level of gooey, gushing, sappiness at any point (though Katniss in her responses was quite often annoying).

  23. The Hunger Games is going to be terrific!! All three of the books were great! I have read all of them at least three times, they are all great! Can’t wait for all the movies!!!

  24. Sorry, I’m not 14 and you didn’t sell me. I’ll pass on this.

  25. I don’t get why there has been this need to try and defend or explain this to people who are not inclined to know (and in some cases care) about the book and movie that came from it. The general impression I have gotten about the Hunger Games is that it is aimed at a certain demographic, people above a certain age probably have not read the books or even heard of them. People are going to find similarities between ideas whether they exist or not and the thing with Hunger Games is that far less people outside of Internet will connect it with Battle Royale, and given the marketing it seems more in line with Twilight, for better or worse.

    The deal is though fans (and this goes for everyone across genres) need to stop needing everyone to co-sign on the belief something they enjoy is the best thing since oxygen. People having a negative or apathetic opinion really can’t make you enjoy it any less, and it probably won’t change anyone’s mind. Being able to discuss your point with a level-head is always welcome in a civil discourse, but some fans get so heated about things that they probably turn people off more then whatever it is they are talking about.

    • ^ this!