The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, will finally come to life in a film adaptation premiering on March 23. This series follows the lead of similar “cult series” like Harry Potter and Twilight, launching a much-anticipated movie after a best-selling book series. Until the film is released, fans are left to wonder whether the movie will live up to its hype, such as the Harry Potter films, or fall short of expectations, like the Twilight films.
Harry Potter is a series of complex reality, created by author J.K. Rowling and maintained through exceptional film-making and acting. On the other hand, Twilight is a series of bright, glittery films with a stereotypical teenage romance. The Harry Potter movies made the books even better while the Twilight movies really cheapened the series.
When the first Harry Potter film was released, fans of the series were thrilled to find that the world J.K. Rowling wrote about had finally come to life. The producers really made Hogwarts seem real by providing every last detail and capturing the beauty of Rowling’s ideas. Every actor fit their role perfectly, and really “became the character.” As the final novels of the series came out, seeing the movies only enhanced the experience of reading the story. The writing was still great, the characters were still relatable, and the plots were still captivating.
In contrast, the Twilight movies killed the books. For many fans that tried to go back and re-read the books after watching the films, they didn’t seem as well-written, the outcomes seemed more generic and cheesy, and the plot wasn’t as interesting. A big part of the problem had to do with the casting; the producers failed to chose actors with a lot of depth. It’s all personal opinion, but many have complained they find the romances a strange mix of awkward and predictable, and making it hard to really relate to anything going on. The special effects were also distracting, with way too much emphasis on the lighting. Everything seemed overdone, and it made it hard to take the movie seriously.
Another part of the reason critics were harsh on the Twilight movies really has nothing to do with the movies themselves – it was the fans. Fans took the “Team Edward vs. Team Jacob” thing a little too far, and suddenly that was all the series was about. Twilight started out as a beautiful love story. But after the romances were warped by the “Justin Bieber generation” fans, it was harder to appreciate it. There is danger of this happening for the Hunger Games series, because there is an obvious parallel with the rivalry between the two major male characters, Peeta and Gale, for the interests of the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.
With that being said, there are still high hopes for the Hunger Games. The trailer and casting foreshadow that it will be portrayed seriously and maintain the image that author Suzanne Collins had in mind. There are a lot of respected celebrities cast in supporting roles, including Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket and Donald Southerland as President Snow.
The three leading roles (Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark) are somewhat mainstream teen actors, but still have impressive resumes. Lawrence has excelled in some more serious roles, such as her performance in Winter’s Bone, proving that she will be able to handle playing the strong-willed and cunning Katniss.
While there was some controversy because Hemsworth and Hutcherson didn’t closely match the book descriptions of their characters, both actors have the right build and are changing their hair colors. Hopefully what will result is a happy medium between the depth of Harry Potter and the glitz of Twilight.