Americans spent about 19.7 million dollars last night at the premier of The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games movie, based on a series written by Suzanne Collins, has been all over pop culture blogs and magazine for the past few weeks. Reporters and fans have been calling the books and the films the “new Twilight”. Do you agree? Here’s a break down of the key components of both fantasy fads:
Characters: Katniss, the brave huntress and the main character in The Hunger Games series, is possibility one of the most badass characters we’ve seen in a long time. She provides for her family, enters the games as tribute to save her little sister, Prim, and is too busy taking care of those around her to even consider falling in love.
Bella, on the other hand, possesses less of those “girl power” qualities that we admire in Katniss. In Twilight, Bella is mopey and depressed when she moves in with her father, and she seems to be waiting to be saved by her prince charming (who comes in the form of a sparkly vampire, but we’ll get to that later). Bella has a few badass moments of her own, but most of the time she’s being protected by the vampires and werewolves around her.
In this round it’s The Hunger Games: 1, and Twilight: 0.
The Love Affair: Both series are mostly based on the love triangles between their heroine and her two suitors. In Twilight, Bella must choose between her love to Edward, a vampire who could be dangerous for her, and her love for Jacob, a werewolf who loves her unconditionally. In terms of struggles in love, Twilight really wins this one. The whole series provides ample time for Bella’s vacillation as first one and then the other of her lovers disappears and then returns. And (spoiler alert!!) when she finally chooses Edward, we’re satisfied with the idea of a true love that can overcome anything.
Katniss’s struggle in the Hunger Games is slightly less apparent given that she has other things to worry about (like, oh, I don’t know, staying alive). She is torn between love for Gale, her childhood friend, hunting buddy and the first boy she ever had feelings for, and Peeta, her district partner in the Games. Peeta is the son of a bread maker who gave a starving young Katniss food when her family was unable to survive. While the Hunger Games is less centered on this love triangle, we still see Katniss struggle not with who she loves more but with who might be best for her. Overall, however, Katniss’s final decision (spoiler alert!) to marry Peeta seems to come too quickly.
In this round, it’s the Hunger Games: 0, Twilight: 1.
Writing/ Cinematography: Both series were major page turners, but the Hunger Games were really impossible to put down. Once you’ve started book 1, you’re hooked until you finish the entire series. While Twilight was equally as much of a page turner, I was still able to put it down. It took me a couple of weeks to finish that series.
In terms of cinematography, it’s hard to say because I haven’t seen both films yet. The Twilight movies were not bad, but they weren’t the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard good things about the Hunger Games, however, and I am certainly more of a fan of the individuals who were cast for the Hunger Games movies.
In this round, The Hunger Games definitely wins.
Social Commentary: Last, but not least, both movies make up fantasy worlds that pull us into them so quickly that we forget that vampires, or games in which you play for your life, actually exist. Twilight seems to appeal to our girly desire to meet our prince charming, even if he is a vampire. Because Stephanie Meyer makes vampires so appealing, we want one for our own. However, there is little social commentary past the acknowledgement that yes, your prince charming will hopefully come.
The Hunger Games, however, is appealing because it seems to be some strange apparition of our world’s future (have you ever, for example, thought about how Lady Gaga and Katy Perry would fit right into the Capitol?). Because of the economic disparity in our world and the need for government control, Suzanne Collins seems to have hit the nail on the head with an unreality that could, in fact, become real sometime in our future.
Here, too, I dub The Hunger Games to be the winner.
And so, it’s Hunger Games: 3, Twilight: 1. While both movie and book series are well crafted and enticing, there seems to be no match for Suzanne Collins’ imagination, writing and development of some awesome, kick ass characters!