You Should Be Reading: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’…

Copyright: Lionsgate

Copyright: Lionsgate

In the second instalment of her book/film comparison, Charlie Derry turns her eye to ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’.

Suzanne Collins’ young adult trilogy ‘The Hunger Games’ has to be one of the most popular series of novels at the minute. Set in the dystopian and post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the novels follow lead heroine Katniss Everdeen, a young girl living in the poorest of 12 districts who, volunteering to save her younger sister, is forced to compete in The Hunger Games. Set up by government in order to maintain peace, the annual televised games see 24 young representatives fight to the death in a specially designed arena, until only one remains.

With the first book in the trilogy originally published in 2008, adaptations of the franchise were soon underway. ‘The Hunger Games’ film, released in 2012, was a global success, and its sequel, ‘Catching Fire’, based on the second novel in the trilogy, even more so.  But this year is set to see the biggest and darkest instalment yet, as well as one of the most anticipated films of 2014, with the part of the final novel, and the third instalment in ‘The Hunger Games’ film franchise, ‘Mockingjay Part 1’, which is set to be released on 21st November.

Whether a fan of the novels, the film adaptations, or of both, the majority of us will be at the point where we have, at least, seen ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ film adaptation, which was released in cinemas last year. Many of us will have since gone on to read the ‘Mockingjay’ novel already, in eager anticipation of what’s going to happen next. If you’re yet to read the next and final novel, however, here’s why you should be reading it, and what you can expect from the adaptation (without discussing any major spoilers!)

Book Review:

‘Catching Fire ‘left us on a massive a cliff-hanger, with the echoing words that District 12 has been destroyed. That leaves only one way for the novels to continue, the only way a dystopian story should conclude, with a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol. Katniss must now become the iconic Mockingjay, a symbol of hope and courage in the revolution, to unify the districts of Panem, fight to save those she loves, and attempt to shatter the games forever.

Moving on from the huge twist that ‘Catching Fire’ left us with, the story itself didn’t really have anywhere else to go, but the best characteristics of a dystopia are always around the themes of standing up for yourself, fighting against wrong, and making a difference, and it’s what we’ve been waiting for Katniss to do. Up until the final couple of chapters, this is done excellently. Emotions of fear and desperation in a world nobody wants to live in are strong, and Katniss becomes the heroin she was born to be; a character young girls can look up to. But the revolution itself seems somewhat rushed after lengthy scenes of District 13’s preparations.

The love triangle between Gale and Peeta remains a heavy subject, though there are a few brilliant hurdles thrown into the plot to confuse things even more, but it’s a romance that is hard to care about in the end, unfortunately. Of course, with a huge, guns-blazzing battle to end it all, there are more than a few deaths in this novel , something the trilogy hasn’t been shy of with its bleak premise, and something which has often moved readers and viewers previously, with characters such as Rue, especially. The deaths in this novel don’t have the same impact though, with most of them happening in a hurried moment, leaving them to fall insignificant against the backdrop of everything else, which is a huge shame. But relationships will be tested here and conclusions will be met, which is something to look forward to.

It’s hard to guess where Part 1 will end and Part 2 will begin, but my guess is Part 2 will focus solely on the war against the Capitol. This would be decent place to round things up, ending with Katniss’ revolutionary efforts to both warn the Capitol of what they’re up against and to motivate those left in the remaining districts, and allowing Part 2 to effectively jump from strategy and practise to its epic finale.

With Collins commenting that her inspiration for the trilogy came from the classical Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, will Katniss be able to kill the Minotaur and ultimately lead her companions out of the monster’s Labyrinth? You’ll have to get reading to find out.

The Director:

With the first film directed by Gary Ross, the dystopian world of Panem was introduced perfectly. The second film, however, and all future adaptations, are set to be under the helm of Francis Lawrence, director of the apocalyptic drama ‘I Am Legend’. ‘Catching Fire’ turned out to be more of a success than the original film so this next instalment is certainly heading in the right direction. There have been a number of different writers working on the franchise, though, so this could make some difference around what parts of the story get changes and what gets missed out. Lawrence has a proven record of adapted novels well, though, so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

The Cast: 

All of the original cast will be reprising their roles, including Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Sam Claflin as Finnick, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and Paula Malcomson as Mrs Everdeen.

Of course, the biggest question on everybody’s lips is what will happen to the legendary Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character, Plutarch Heavensbee. The actor completed filming his scenes for Part 1 prior to his death, so he will be reprising his role for this first instalment at least, although his presence will be missed all the same.

The biggest addition to the cast is the beautiful Julianne Moore, who will be playing Katniss’ biggest obstacle, even if they are on the same side, President Coin. Known for her roles in ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’, ‘The Big Lebowski’, ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’, and ‘The Hours’, Moore is a fantastic actress and she certainly has the boldness and strength in character that Coin needs.

As for other new additions, ‘Game of Thrones’’ Gwendoline Christie will play Commander Lyme, Broadway singer and actress Patina Miller will play Commander Paylor, our second ‘Game of Thrones’ star Natalie Dormer will play Cressida, ‘Prison Break’’s Robert Knepper will play Antonius, ‘True Blood’’s Michelle Forbes will play Lieutenant Jackson, ‘Mighty Ducks’ star Elden Henson will play Pollux, ‘House of Cards’’ Mahershala Ali will play Boggs, Diana Ross’ real-life son Evan Ross will play Messalla, and ‘The Help’’s Wes Chatham will play Castor.

For my review of the film adaptation in comparison to the novel, head back over to Rife after the film’s release in November. Until then, keep up to date with what novels are currently being adapted into films and what you should be reading in the meanwhile with my ongoing features. 

What do you think of the ‘The Hunger Games’ adaptations? Tweet us @rifemag

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