The Book: Released in 2008, The Hunger Games is a young adult book penned by Suzanne Collins. The central events take place in a post apocalyptic world known as Panem (formerly North America), which is divided into 12 districts. Each year, one young woman and one young man from each district is chosen to compete in a televised fight to the death. The gladiator style battle allows only one survivor. If you thought the reality shows today were twisted, think again. The story's heroine, chooses to take her younger sister's place in the Games and at just 16-years old is forced to learn the meaning of kill or be killed. Two books followed, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
The Movie: On March 23, the highly anticipated film adaptation of the story will hit theaters. Pre-order ticket sales have skyrocketed and it is expected to break box-office records. Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss. The star darkened her hair and skin for the role and critics are already raving about her performance. Director Gary Ross, whose previous works include Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, was a logical choice for this production. Collins actually serves as one of the film's producers and also wrote the screenplay, with the aid of writer Billy Ray (Volcano). Collins has said that the story was inspired by televised news reports from war-torn countries, such as Iraq. The film allows for such influences to be showcased in a visual manner. The footage release of the film so far echoes the eerie state of struggling regions in the world. It also appears to be a critique of the modern world's obsession with watching others falter. For instance, we don't watch The Real Housewives to see women becoming the scholars of tomorrow, we do so for the fights, money troubles, and outrageously dumb statements.