The Third Tribute: ‘Hunger Games’ franchise experiences success with its films

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The third installment of the ‘Hunger Game’ franchise, “Mockingjay Part 1,” will make a fiery entrance on Nov. 21 in theaters across America. Like many recently released movies, “Mockingjay” returns its focus to a dystopian society: the Capitol. According to Celia Germann, “Hunger Games” fan and sophomore, the movie adaptation is highly anticipated.

“I want to see the ending. I want to see the final war. I want to see Peeta and Katniss. I want to see the characters grow,” Germann said.

“Mockingjay” revisits many of its renowned actors and actresses from previous titles in the series, including Jennifer Lawrence, who will return as Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne. The film will also debut many new actors including Julianne Moore, who will portray  President Alma Coin.

Based off the book from the “Hunger Games” trilogy, the film continues its plot with Katniss waking up in District 13. Under the leadership of the rebels and President Coin and the advice of her family, Katniss spreads her wings in order to fight to save Peeta, her family and the nation, all inspired by her courage.

w.HungerGamesAccording to Max Jolly, “Hunger Games” fan and junior, dystopian themes are very “hot” right now.

“People love the idea of dystopia, and (“Mockingjay”) is a very creative kind of catastrophic story. This is where society will be if we totally fail. (“Mockingjay”) is the most rugged. The society (that) reverts back to barbaric ways is scary for us because we live in a civilized world. To think that one day we could be back there is mind-blowing,” Jolly said.

Allyson Wells-Podell, Honors English 10, IB English and Theory of Knowledge teacher, said she agrees with the attractiveness of the idea of dystopia.

“(In) these dystopian societies, it seems like while we escape from reality, there are still things, whether it is characters or conflicts, that we can relate to,” Wells-Podell said. “Even though the societies may be largely different on a surface level, there are still things we can relate to. That’s appealing to us as readers or movie-goers.”

According to media specialist Terri Ramos, “what’s old is new again.” Dystopian is merely another phase in literature and film. Previous trends have included “sci-fi”, “criers” and “vampire novels.” There are still people reading these types of literature, but it is not as popular as it was five years ago.

“I see it as an ebb-and-flow. What’s the new big thing? People just kind of get on board. One person starts talking about it, word of mouth,” Ramos said.

Germann has her own reasoning as to why “Mockingjay” will catch on fire. According to Germann, the popularity of the book trilogy attributes to the success of “The Hunger Games” franchise.

“For some people, it will always be just another movie to go see at the theaters when you’re bored,” Germann said. “But (for) the people who love to read and have read the series and have stuck with it from the beginning, it’s really important. Especially here in Carmel, there are a lot of people who do enjoy reading and have read the books and followed them from the beginning.”

Wells-Podell agrees that the success of the “Hunger Games” book trilogy also contributes to the franchise’s success.

“One of the things I think that is interesting about a lot of these dystopian movies that are ‘catching fire’ is that they originated as (books). I think that literature is kind of a way to escape,” Wells-Podell said.

Wells-Podell added that a strong female lead is another attribute to the popularity of “Hunger Games.” According to Wells-Podell, a strong female lead in “Hunger Games” is proof that women can also be both strong and powerful.

“So often in the past I think that the strong main character has been a male, especially when we think about superheroes and all those strong characters. There’s Superman and Batman and Spiderman. But now you have characters like Katniss who are strong. They’re powerful. They think for themselves. It finally provides for both males and females with the idea that females can be just as strong and just as powerful as men can,” Wells-Podell said.

Germann said that while every dystopian fiction has the same premise, they go about it in different ways.

“You just have to find the most engaging journey to get to the ending,” Germann said. “(The “Hunger Games” franchise) is well-written, and the characters develop really well. They are very relatable. You can empathize with them a lot, and that helps boost their popularity. Katniss loses everything she holds dear, and she still has to stay strong for all the people depending on her. That (in) itself is inspiring and different.”

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