|(Photo copyright Lionsgate)|
The landscape used for both District 12 and the arena is one that is deeply familiar to me. Those mountains are ones that I have climbed. Those forests are identical to ones that I have explored. At one point later in the film there is a brief shot of a lake. I audibly gasped upon seeing it because I knew it as one I had played in as a child.
The movie itself is wonderful. It sticks to the books for the most part and departs only in places that make for a better film. The story progresses in ways that are both heartbreaking and realistic, because the motivations of the characters, while not always clear, are the motivations of real people, not that of abstract illustrations. I did spend a fair amount of time with silent tears, which is not a common experience for me. But seeing it set in a place that I know, that I love, and that until this point was fairly obscure made the experience that much more poignant. The people of District 12 are not unlike my own friends and neighbors and even the vaguest possibility that this could happen makes the thematic warnings of The Hunger Games that much more meaningful.