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Should The Hunger Games Movie Be Rated PG-13, and how could it be?

XD1 October 29, 2010 User blog:XD1

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Kaya Scodelario and Lyndsy Fonseca, as it turns out, aren't the only ones who got a peek at the script for The Hunger Games.' The author of The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins, took over screenwriting duties for Lionsgate's film adaptation and then passed her work along for revisions. An early draft made its way out and while no review or gritty details have been reported, they did indicate that the film is aiming for a PG-13 rating.

The buzz is that this will the next "Twilight" or "Harry Potter" film franchise, so the formula should be just as easy, shouldn't it? Well, if you've read the book(s), you're well aware that it tends to get very violent at times. If you haven't read any of them yet, what's the holdup?? For now, here's a brief summary: The trilogy follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in one of Panem's 12 districts. Once a year each district is required to send one boy and one girl into a televised death-match called (the Hunger Games) where they're forced to fight for their lives until just one is left. This year is Katniss' unlucky year.

Many of the tributes – the term applied to the Hunger Games contestants – meet fairly grisly ends. They're equipped with a variety of weaponry from knives to bows and arrows to spears and let's not forget about the often-deadly environmental obstacles either. The battle also takes place in an area infested with tracker jackers, which are armed with deadly venom, and then there are the poisonous berries which seduce and kill starving tributes. How can you possibly depict the frequently graphic deaths of mere teenagers without venturing into rated-R territory? Being an adult fan, the images my mind conjures would far exceed a PG or PG-13 rating, but apparently the filmmakers have found a way to get it done. Nina Jacobson, the film's producer, has said "It's always going to be an intense subject matter, but you can tell the story with some restraint." She added, "The only people these books are not for are those under 12. The movie will be the same."

As amazing as an R-rated "Hunger Games" movie might be, it stands to reason that the filmmakers had little choice but to tailor it to a PG-13 rating. If "Hunger Games" is going to be the next "Harry Potter" or "Twilight" and aim to achieve similar success (which the literary trilogy certainly deserves), it's going to have to be viewable by the younger readers that will make up a large part of the movie's audience. Even still, some of the scenes in the film will certainly have to push the limits of the PG-13 rating if they are to closely follow the book. A reader can take the incidents as far as they choose to, being limited only by their own imaginations, but balancing restraint vs. authenticity is a daunting task. This will definitely need to be taken into account since moviegoers young and old will only be presented with one depiction.

What do you think? <poll> The movie adaptation should depict the story: in full graphic detail - thus earning an "R" rating. in a more subdued style - so that a PG-13 rating will allow the trilogy's younger readers to see it. </poll>
Despite its vividly descriptive language, The Hunger Games won’t be as easy to adapt as it's multi-book to movie predecessors. An early copy of the script, the film seems to be a point-by-point retelling of the Games, so the question remains: how can any studio show brutal child-on-child violence and still pull off a PG-13 rating? Will limiting themselves in it's production hurt the final product?

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