Okay, I'm the only honest person you'll ever meet, so I am going to tell you why many Fanboys have a reflexive dislike of "The Hunger Games."
Here goes. It's about to get real. Open that umbrella, cause straight talk is gonna' come raining down.
Girls. Popular girls. "Normal" girls. We (and I'm speaking in gigantic generalities here) have a tendency to... not really be of much appeal to this group.
So when something comes along and is marketed to and greatly admired by the not-socially awkward female demographic, (the very same one that we ever so very much want to like us), it is with an understandable melange of l'essence du sour grapesthat we can dismiss that thing. Dismiss it before, let's face it, it dismisses us.
Let's take, for example, "The Twilight Saga". As an exercise in anthropology, I love attending these films. But, please, let's be fair: they are awful. And with the amount of media pitching "The Hunger Games" as THE NEXT TWILIGHT OMYGAWD it is understandable that there could be some skepticism.
But here's the thing: just because there is a teenage girl protagonist, the books are written by a woman and many "Twilight" fans like "The Hunger Games" does not mean that it is THE NEXT TWILIGHT OMYGAWD. "The Hunger Games," in actuality, kicks ass. And it has a lot to offer a Fanboy.
Author Suzanne Collins certainly had Fanboys in mind when creating her characters. Katniss Everdeen? Haymitch Abernathay? Peeta Mallark? As far as I'm concerned those monikers are as awesome (and as fun to mutter over and over again) as Meriadoc Brandybuc, Kit Fisto or Rot Lop Fan.
If you have even a scintilla of nerd running through your veins, you need to know more about these people just by hearing their names.
Running Royale 7
Certain grumps are hatin' on "HG" because they claim that it is a great big ripoff. They'll say it is taken from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "The Running Man" or from the cult Japanese flick "Battle Royale." (Those with really sharp memories might recall the 2001 Dan Minahan film "Series 7.")
To which I say, heck, those are some pretty awesome sources from which to draw inspiration!
And still, none of these movies have any sort of the world building that "Hunger Games" has. The entire society of Panem is thoroughly fleshed out and if even a smidge of that makes the translation from page to screen we're in for a genuine treat. "Battle Royale," the one that really gets dweebs riled up, is a cool movie, but it is basically wall-to-wall schoolgirls murdering one another. (Yeah, like I said, "a cool movie.") "The Hunger Games," however, has much more depth.
District 12's Mightiest Heroes
Director Gary Ross has assembled an outstanding cast of superhero movie alumni to bring this beloved book to life. The lead is "X-Men: First Class'" Mystique and Thor's brother Liam is playing one of the young hunks. Betty Brant from "Spider-Man" is in it, too. You want more? Fine. Arnim Zola from "Captain America" is in there. Not enough? Okay, we've got Legion from the first "Ghost Rider," too.
Even behind the camera, Gary Ross called on his friend Steven Soderbergh to shoot 2nd Unit on the movie. No, Soderbergh has never made a superhero movie, but that's because he IS a superhero – basically a Sorcerer Supreme of cinema.
So are you really going to let your childish prejudices about icky girls prevent you from seeing what by all rights could be an awesome sci-fi adventure flick? Are you that hung up about being tainted by something that may be misconstrued as "not hardcore enough" for the genuine Fanboy? If this is the case, you are an undeniable putz.
And you probably sparkle when sunlight hits you.
Come back every Thursday for more intergalactic musings on Planet Fanboy and follow its fearless leader Jordan Hoffman on Twitter!