In 2008, children's book writer and author Suzanne Collins put out the most nail-biting and pulse-pounding novel of our generation. The Hunger Games took the world by storm. What started out as a scholastic book turned into a worldwide best-selling series in literally no time at all.
In 2012, this most beloved young adult novel became the most anticipated motion picture of the year. For me, The Hunger Games was a daily discussion in my household. You couldn't walk outside without seeing magazines and posters and billboards for it everywhere. That didn't change as the series progressed; if anything, the name got bigger and brighter as the years pressed on. As The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2 were sucked from the pages of Collins's miraculous imagination and brought to life on the big screen in 2012, '13, '14, and '15, each film kept getting better and better. By the time Mockingjay Part 2 came out last November, fans had been devoted to this story for four ruthless years. Fortunately, director Francis Lawrence (who directed the last three movies but missed his shot at the first movie, which was directed by Gary Ross) did not disappoint fans by straying away from the original ending in the book, but delivered an emotional and beautiful closing to the movie as well.
There were so many elements involving The Hunger Games Trilogy to grab attention that it hardly needed any of the extra promoting. Besides the already existing books to lure viewers in, the movies were also given a great cast of heartthrobs, a franchise that has been hard to get away from the last four years, and four soundtracks that have been full of well-known artists to hook people to the project. But with such an original and unheard of plotline, nobody needed the extra push of marketing to make these movies a success with the audience.
It's crazy to think that something that has been so constant and wonderful for four years could actually come to an end. For a lot of us, The Hunger Games is what began our love for reading. We've journeyed with these characters for a long time. We've fallen in love with them in a way that can't be forgotten now that the story is over. Katniss, who has been such a strong and determined role model for such a long time has now shot her last arrow.
While the cast for The Hunger Games movies kept changing as the story progressed — new members joining and old ones leaving — it was the remarkable performance by Jennifer Lawrence, the surprising and utterly breathtaking performance of Josh Hutcherson, and the somber but solid performance from Liam Hemsworth that really brought the scenes to life. The Hunger Games was Woody Harrelson at his very best and Elizabeth Banks like we've never seen her before. It was the exciting appearance from Lenny Kravitz and the mind-blowing, heartbreaking show Sam Claflin gave us. The Hunger Games is also the reason we all hate Donald Sutherland with every fiber of our being, even while we applaud him for playing the most sensational villain any of us has ever seen.
The final installment of the trilogy will be released to own on DVD March 22. After Mockingjay Part 2 is available everywhere, The Hunger Games will officially come to an end and fans will have to find some way to console themselves.
For me and so many others, The Hunger Games series was the source of constant late night reads in the bathroom, or the closet, or anywhere you could turn on a light without waking up the whole house. It was the tears of frustration when they were forced to go back into the games, and anger when Peeta lunged at Katniss's throat, and remorse when the stupid cat just didn't understand that Prim wasn't coming back. The Hunger Games was the screams of excitement whenever a preview came on TV. The Hunger Games is the tiny shiver that runs down your arms whenever you hear the Mockingjay whistle or when someone salutes you with three fingers in the air, or you catch a glimpse of a Mockingbird. The Hunger Games is The Hanging Tree and The Meadow Song. The Hunger Games is nightlock and tracker jackers and jabber-jays and Mockingjay pins and mutts and fire and tridents and pearls and bread and star-crossed lovers. The Hunger Games is 'Safe & Sound' by Taylor Swift, 'Mirror' by Ellie Goulding, and 'Yellow Flicker Beat' by Lorde. The Hunger Games is so many things that make us smile and cringe and shiver and sigh. It's the quotes:
"May the odds be ever in your favor."
"Fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn with us."
"I am the Mockingjay."
The Hunger Games is over, and I guess there's something to be said about that. For now, we'll have to stand tall and try to be brave like Katniss, whole like Gale, and strong like Peeta. Some might say this was a cruel game for Suzanne Collins to lure us into playing. But I think everyone can agree with me when I say... there are much worse games to play.