Posts Tagged Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Gift Ideas

With a little research and prodding it’s easy to come up with a few Hunger Games gift ideas for friends or family who are fans of the Suzanne Collins book / movie series. A couple of popular themes dominate the series and are available in a number of attractive merchandise options at a variety of good price points. Let’s take a look at some of the major film themes.

The Rugged / Outdoorsy Heroine Katniss Everdeen

An easy gift choice for any young girl fan of heroine Katniss are any of the wide assortment of great looking stuff worn in the movie. Lionsgate (licensor of the franchise) has really done a nice job of creating a wide variety of merchandise themed on their female star Jennifer Lawrence. Some of the items include:

  • T-shirts
  • Posters
  • Jackets
  • Pajamas
  • Thermal Activated Mugs

Although a number of the fashion items tend to be a little on the drab side (particularly the replica costume pieces worn by the tributes), Lionsgate has managed to add a splash of color here and there for more girly girl fans of Katniss. PS – the mugs are fun!

The Districts of Panem

Each district within the country of Panem is represented both by a number and a symbol based on the principle good or service that district supplies to the capital. Katniss and Peeta are District 12 tributes, and their home district supplies coal – and is basically impoverished (like most of the others). Lionsgate has developed a number of items based on identifying with the home of the heroes as a result. Gift ideas around this theme tend to be more practical – such as:

  • Backpacks
  • Charm Jewelry
  • Pajamas
  • T-Shirts
  • Keychains
  • Bag Clips
  • Magnets

These gifts are much more subtle in appearance than some of the star likeness items above. Fans can wear these items out identifying themselves with the movie without putting the likeness of someone else prominently on their body.

The Mockingjay Medallion /  Symbol

Arguably the most powerful symbol of the film series has been the Mockingjay pin. It is no coincidence that the emblem is featured on just about any item you can think of – either as a standalone, ringed in flames, or combined with one of the featured characters. Basically this symbol is just about everywhere – and the only place you aren’t likely to find it is on the above mentioned District themed items. Just to give an idea of some of the kinds of items you’ll find out there with the Mockinjay:

  • Necklaces
  • Pendants
  • Charm Bracelets
  • T-Shirts
  • Backpacks
  • Magnets
  • Belts

The real beauty of the work done by Lionsgate in merchandising this film is that so many of the items are found as gifts you can buy for under $25. While most of the items admittedly are designed to be gifts for girls there are also a number of items boys can appreciate as well – such as the replica jackets, backpacks, fleeces, and shirts. I am a big fan of the film series and I have to say I am also a big fan of the job Lionsgate has done in bringing the film to life in merchandise that is both attractive, functional and accessible to fans of all ages, sizes, and incomes.

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No Comments updated February 15, 2013

The Hunger Games Movie Review

Official Promo Poster from Lionsgate

I decided to write a Hunger Games movie review after seeing the film for a second time this weekend. I felt compelled to do so after reading a seriously mis-guided review elsewhere on the web – on a reputable news organization no less. We each have our own opinions I suppose, guided by our own biases and experiences. Given that here is how I interpret The Hunger Games based on where I think it fits in historically. The Hunger Games review I read chose to consider North America (Panem) as analogous to the villian (The Capital) in this case, and after seeing the film twice myself, I so thoroughly disagreed with that conclusion I felt compelled to write a review of my own.

Before I go too much further, I should start by saying I felt the film was excellent – but not being familiar with the books themselves (by Suzanne Collins) I had to see it a second time to truly appreciate it.

Basic Storyline of The Hunger Games

The basic plotline of The Hunger Games is set in a futuristic Earth setting, where there is a vastly disproportionate amount of wealth and technology held by an elite few in one region (The Capital) with 12 outlying districts supporting the Capital with resources (food, coal, etc.).

According to the story 74 years ago the civil war ended and was celebrated annually at the Capital with a pageant and games pitting representatives from the defeated (12) districts against each other in a battle to the death. Each year one boy and one girl aged 12-18 are sent as tributes to the Capital in rememberance of their rebellion and ultimate defeat all those years ago.

Historical Analogies in The Hunger Games Mythos

As one might imagine, the skill sets of those 24 individuals vary greatly, with some simply being sent to slaughter. This reminds one of the stories of the Roman Colosseum where slaves or Christians were effectively fed to lions and other beasts for amusement of the Roman elites. Having said that, I think it fair to say that the movie director chose to go in this direction – mirroring several historical facts and or myths. Whether this is the design of the book author or not, the analogies are plainly evident to me in the film.

A second important analogy is that of the notion of tributes from defeated states basically sent to their deaths. I can’t help but recall the Greek myth of the Minotaur and the death maze. In the Greek myth tributes are sent to be put in a maze with this mythical beast the Minotaur – part man / part bull who essentially slaughters the tributes for amusement of the king. Like that story, eventually one of the tributes defeats the Minotaur and escapes. In The Hunger Games a similar storyline plays out.

Modern Analog for The Hunger Games

When I try to think of a modern analog for The Hunger Games it is here where I find myself with the greatest divergeance from the Rolling Stone review of the film. They selected North America as their “evil capital” analog, but in my own mind a vastly different host for the games comes to mind. When I look at the pageantry of the games, and the great dichotomy of the common people with the elites – I see the Soviet Union of the late 1970s and early 1980s, not North America. So much of the the subtleties of the storyline – the top two districts being mostly military trained (and who typically win each year) remind me of Olympic competitors from East Germany and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Further, I think the title of the book and film itself, “The Hunger Games” invokes memories of breadlines and food shortages in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries.

Characters and Performances in The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen – Jennifer Lawrence

The leading role in the film (Katniss Everdeen) is played by Jennifer Lawrence. Her character is in the mold of Diane in Greek mythology – The Hunter. Having seen the film twice now I really have to say her performance was terrific. Her roles as protective older sister, unrefined young woman, and combatant were carried off with great effect. I have to believe Suzanne Collins was pleased with her performance.

Peeta Mellark – Josh Hutcherson

Peeta Mellark is akin to your basic all-American farm-boy. Josh Hutcherson carries off this role very well. His character is asked to be naive in forest survival skills and somewhat defeatest in attitude but willing to use his farm-boy charm to prolong his life and increase his odds. Josh’s performance both as a charming farm-boy and panic-stricken tribute come off as convincing in my opinion.

Haymitch Abernathy – Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson’s complex character of former winner turned alcoholic Haymitch Abernathy is at times rightly revolting and charming – seemingly always at the right times. His character begins as an apathetic drunk who buys in to the possibility that one of his “students” has a fighting chance of surviving The Hunger Games. I enjoyed his performance.

Other Characters and Anecdotes

On my initial view of the film I had to say I did not like the garish costuming and make up of the citizens of the capital. At first sight of the absurd looking Effie Trinket at the reaping of District 12 I was concerned I was in for some sort of weird and unpleasant cult freak show movie. Thankfully I changed my opinion after the second viewing, having seen how important it was to differentiate the citizens of the capital from the rest of the country. I should also say a second viewing helped me better see the performances of Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), and Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket).

One can’t help but feel sorry for some of the other cast-members (tributes) – who didn’t actually generate enough interest in the film to earn a character name. Such is the fate of most tributes in The Hunger Games. I hope you go see it… and if you haven’t read the books I strongly recommend you go see it twice. On the other hand – something everyone CAN feel good about is all the cool stuff they have made in merchandising the film.

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2 Comments updated February 14, 2013