The Hunger Games (2012)

More Games, Less Hunger

I am seeing this a second time with pre teenagers, close to the target market for the books I assume. I think for them, the film is serviceable and as they see the series the plot complications will be engaging.

But it reminds me of a persistent challenge in film and especially when adapting books. You cannot have a story without a world. When writing, you have enough narrative space to have the world evolve in parallel with the evolution of the characters.

Rarely can this translate to film. We like to see people interact and the environment just form a set of static forces. The genius of these books is that the characters change the world. They do so reluctantly and the whole thing starts in a standard noir framework where the characters are manipulated capriciously for our benefit. Here, it is accomplished by a fold. The noir mechanics are not external as usual but internal to the story.

Yes, I know there are other stories and movies with spectator combat, but not in a folded noir context. I credit this to the ’young adult’ targeting. Usually, I assume this is a simplification of the storytelling and the story itself. It young people are our most clever and experimental consumers of folded narrative.

Reverse folding is when the characters make a false story that drives the middle narrative: here that is our hapless infilm audience.

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

IMDB

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