Countdown to the Arena

For sophomore Janae’a B., the wait has been almost unbearably long. For nearly a year she has anticipated the release of The Hunger Games, a film opening on Friday, March 23. She is joined in that anticipation by a large portion of the student body.

“The fandom has grown super big,” Janae’a said. “Every time you mention The Hunger Games there’s always a gasp and a crowd of people, and you end up having a big discussion about how much they like it and when they read the books and how they’re bigger fans than anyone else.”

The Hunger Games, based on the bestselling novel of the same title by Suzanne Collins, tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a teenager living in a dystopian society who must compete in the eponymous Games, a competition where teenagers fight to the death on live television. The  three-book series has gained huge popularity since the first book was published in 2008.

“It combines a lot of my favorite genres,” junior Sean C. said. “Science fiction, romance, action and adventure.”

Freshman Kyndhal S. likes the books because of their protagonist.

“A lot of books now…don’t have a female lead who is more than just a sex symbol, who’s a role model,” she said. “[Katniss] stands for something. She’s something good among her world. Even though it’s evil she finds a way to make it better.”

Opinions are still split on the creation of a movie adaptation.

Junior Andres V. believes that a movie adaptation will be a success because of the books’ cinematic nature.

“Sometimes you don’t want to see [movies] because you’ve made your own image and you don’t want someone to ruin it,” he said. “But something like this—you have to see…what they do with such beautiful work.”

Senior Murietta F. is hoping for a film that stays faithful to the novel.

“From what I see of the previews it looks like they did a good reenactment of the book, so I’m hoping to not be disappointed.”

She thinks a movie adaptation will raise the popularity of the books even beyond their current level.

“It’s the new Twilight,” she said. “Because they’re making such a dramatic movie, people are being more interested in the books because people want to know the story before they see it, so they can compare it. It’s now known that there’s romance in the books, so the girls are all over it. The violence attracts the boys.”

Kyndhal sees promise in Jennifer Lawrence, who will play the film’s lead.

“I feel like the movie’s gonna be really good,” she said. “I think they chose the right actress because Jennifer Lawrence—she does indie movies and she’s not a big mainstream actor, and I feel that the movie’s gonna be better with an actress who’s not a big star. And the feeling will be more genuine because she’s like the underdog in the acting world and she can connect with Katniss more than, say, Angelina Jolie.”

Above all, she hopes for a movie that will bring to life a beloved book.

“There’s only so much you can imagine even though your imagination is probably the best weapon you have. I’m glad they’re putting it together so that I can experience it in a new way.”