Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hunger Games MEET The Running Man

Several months ago, I was swept away by The Hunger Games Series just like everyone else. In less than a week, I finished the trilogy, and I am not a big reader. While friends were at bars and ballgames, I was at home turning each page with delight. The Hunger Games was just impossible to put down. 

The movie comes out on March 23rd, and I am anxious and excited. I imagine every teen girl and myself will be standing in line to get in. But I don’t care. A few male friends teased me about my fascination with the Hunger Games, but then they read it and joined the cult too.

I was psyched to see that Gary Ross is the screenwriter and director of the film. He wrote three of my favorite movies of all time: Big, Dave, and Pleasantville. He doesn’t pen/direct many movies, but most are high concept and very successful. Based on the trailer, it looks like he has struck gold once again.

But before The Hunger Games caught on like wildfire, there was a movie from 1987 called The Running Man.  It was a short story written five years earlier by an unknown author, Richard Bachman.  For those who know book trivia, Richard Bachman is Stephen King’s pseudonym. The story was not a huge hit, but it was popular enough to be turned into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It turned out to feature two future governors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. Who knew?

In The Running Man, Schwarzenegger plays a man wrongly convicted and dropped into a reality show. He and others threatening the government are forced to run for their lives on live television. Viewers watch the sadistic madness while men and women try to escape certain death. Sound familiar?

The Hunger Games features Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence), a futuristic Joan of Arc. She’s a tough chick armed with a bow and arrow. She and her teenage competitors are chosen at random to take place in the games. They are forced to kill one another, and it’s one big reality show. The survivor/winner gets to live another day.   

The Running Man is an awesome, classic, cheesy 80’s action movie with Schwarzenegger at the helm. The Hunger Games is a modern day homage to The Running Man and looks to be a classic. Jennifer Lawrence may not utter lines like: “I’ll be back!”, but there’s no doubt that she’s just as tough as Arnold. Just watch and see!