Last Friday (March 23) at midnight, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie “The Hunger Games.” I was blown away by the filmmaker’s attention to detail, the cast selection, and more than anything the movie’s faithfulness to the book. The only part of the movie-going experience that I did not enjoy was as I was leaving. I overheard a group of girls that were around 13 years old say to one another, “Are you team Peeta or team Gale?” It took all of my energy not to turn to them and say, “‘The Hunger Games’ is not ‘Twilight’!”
When “The Hunger Games” is made out to be a love story and nothing more, so much of the plot is taken away. Yes, the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is part of the story, but only part of it. The main focus of the story is the games themselves – a blood-thirsty, fight- to-the-death, kill-or-be-killed sequence of events controlled by The Capitol. This film is action-packed, fast-moving and some may argue that it makes points about America’s media consumption.
“Twilight” is a love story. Feelings for the book and films aside that’s what it is. The focal point of all of the “Twilight” books/films is the ever-present relationship drama between Bella, Edward and Jacob. It makes sense that one would turn this film into romantic tale between three people, where viewers choose sides, because it in fact is.
I’m not saying that a guy can’t or shouldn’t see “Twilight,” but “Twilight’s” fan base is overwhelmingly female. That is because of the films focus on love and emotion. “Twilight” doesn’t have same amount of tension and thrill that “The Hunger Games” has. If people only recognize the two good-looking male leads in “The Hunger Games,” everyone will equate it to “Twilight.” In which case, there won’t be many male viewers in the audience.
“The Hunger Games” appeals to many different demographics. It’s the story of a young girl who volunteers herself into a set of games to save her sister. In these games, she and 24 other children will fight to the death until only one remains. This movie is not a chick flick. It has action and mild violence for the guys, and suspense and obviously some romance for the girls. When it’s made out to be a sappy love story, not only will most guys run at the sound of its name, people will think it’s just a carbon copy of every other love story. Recognizing “The Hunger Games” only for its romance robs it of it’s uniqueness and limits the audience members it can appeal to.
I encourage everyone to go see “The Hunger Games,” but don’t belittle a great story by only focusing on the romantic aspects. Don’t take away the uniqueness of the plot by turning it into “which boy do you like better.” Let’s face it, no guy will want to see a touchy feely film about a dramatic love triangle, and if they do, they won’t admit it. Go see “The Hunger Games” for the action, the suspense, and the drama, not to support “team Peeta” or “team Gale.”