The single greatest book series of my generation and arguably the most popular book series of all time is Harry Potter. I was lucky enough to grow up with the Harry Potter books and the Harry Potter movies. My peers and I can tell you how cool it was to grow up as Harry Potter fictionally grew up in a book. It added an extra attachment to the characters and the series itself. Sadly, the books and the movies have ended, but another book series replaced Harry Potter. I don’t think anybody thought Twilight would have a big impact on the box office. Summit Entertainment doesn’t usually have the most popular movies, but Twilight exploded and it’s still compared to Harry Potter. I don’t think there’s comparison. Although I enjoyed the Twilight books and enjoy the movies, Harry Potter is superior to the Stephanie Meyer series. Regardless, Twilight filled the void left by the end of the Harry Potter series. With one movie left in the Twilight series, can The Hunger Games become the next big thing?
Shockingly enough I actually beat the movies to the punch and read the entire trilogy during the summer of 2011 (Yay me!!) because my friend let me borrow them (Yay Lauren!!). I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I know everyone says that, but I really mean it. I read Mockingjay, which is the third and final book in the trilogy, in two days and I don’t read very often.
A good author can end every chapter with a teaser to make you want to continue reading another chapter. Suzanne Collins did just that. If you can get me to read three books in the summer, you must be doing something right.
But can The Hunger Games translate to the big screen?
In case you couldn’t tell, I love movies and I’m excited to see the theatrical adaptation. There’s no doubt in my mind the movie will entertain audiences with its storyline and its special effects, but what will make or break the film is the acting. Everything starts with lead actress Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence will portray Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and really is the biggest question mark in the film. I like Lawrence and she is an Oscar nominated actress, but can she pull off a completely different role from what she played in the past? All the other pieces are in place. I love that Woody Harrelson is Haymitch and Donald Sutherland is President Snow. Looking at the other actors, I can see them all pulling off their characters.
One thing I truly worry about is people turning The Hunger Games into Twilight. I don’t want the talk of Team Peeta vs. Team Gale discouraging guys from going to see this movie. The Hunger Games is bigger than the love interests of Katniss Everdeen. Peeta vs. Gale is a side story. The Hunger Games is an exhilarating story about 12 districts who struggle against an evil tyrant who forces children between the ages of 12 and 18 to fight to the death for sheer entertainment.
If I had to rank it, I’d put it in between Harry Potter and Twilight. I don’t think any book series will touch Harry Potter or match the impact it had on a generation. However, I will say Suzanne Collins ran circles around Stephanie Meyer in the writing of their respective books and I’m hoping the movies will reflect Collins’ fantastic writing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Nothing can match the magical writing of J.K. Rowling and it was that writing that fueled the success of the movies as well as the growth of the three main characters (Harry, Hermione and Ron). Collins put forth an excellent story so it is again up to the acting to put it over the top, in particular Jennifer Lawrence. If Lawrence succeeds in her role as Katniss Everdeen, all the other pieces will fall into place and the movies will flourish. I want The Hunger Games to beat out Twilight in the box office because the quality of the story is far superior. However, I’m not a great predictor of the box office unless it’s blatantly obvious a movie will fail. The Hunger Games will do well, but how well? We’ll find out this weekend.
As of March 21, The Hunger Games has a strong 91% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. However, a consensus has not yet been reached. Rotten Tomatoes should have a consensus by March 22. The Hunger Games hits theaters March 23.
To see the movie trailer for The Hunger Games, click here.