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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games, the movie and the sequels

The Hunger Games, the Hollywood film in which teenagers fight to the death on live TV, opens this weekend amid high expectations that it will break box office records.

The theme is derivative of other films (the cult movie Bladerunner being one of them) as well as several books, such as Robert Sheckley's Prize of Peril.  Stephen King's Running Man, about convicts being hunted to death for the delectation of TV audiences, was made into a movie with Swartzie in the starring role. 

Let's face it, single combat has a long, long history.  Back in the days of The Iliad, warriors fought individually. (Collins herself says she was inspired by the story of Theseus.)  Knights rushed at each other on large horses in full armor, at great harm to themselves, but to the delight of a large audience that might include major nobility.  Duelling was once considered honorable.  Gladiators -- who definitely went in for duelling to the death in front of great crowds -- had ardent fans.

There are more modern examples, too, such as the Fighting Fantasy series and a Japanese novel called Battle Royale that has done very well indeed.  Collins, however, has out-performed current rivals --  Hunger Games, the book, has sold 3 million copies in 26 different languages.

As GalleyCat remarks, the blockbuster movie will undoubtedly send readers scrambling for the sequel--a timely book that could help the younger generation think about these revolutionary times. The Hunger Games focuses on the personal struggle teenage girl named Katniss Everdeen. In Suzanne Collins' sequel, Catching Fire, that personal struggle expands in a country-wide revolution. Even though Catching Fire was first published in 2009, certain passages seem snatched from current headlines.

The third book in the immensely bestselling series, is called Mockingjay and was published in 2010.

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