The publication of The Hunger Games in 2008, followed by Catching Fire (2009) and Mockingjay (2010), was a pop culture phenomenon. The stories, written by Suzanne Collins, showed a dystopian future where the Hunger Games prop up the totalitarian regime of Panem’s Capitol—that is, until Games participant Katniss Everdeen’s defiance sets the stage for rebellion.
The best-selling novels also led to hugely successful films: The Hunger Games (2012) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). And in honor of the next film in the franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which opens tomorrow, here’s a look at five other novels-turned-movies that have also speculated about the future.
Though these stories often take a dim view of what tomorrow may bring for humanity, we should still hold out hope. As Effie Trinket might say, “May the odds be ever in our favor!”1984
Written by George Orwell (the pseudonym for Eric Blair), 1984 came out in 1949. It painted a picture of Oceania, a future totalitarian state where people are controlled by Big Brother and distracted by a never-ending war. The book has turned into a movie twice in 1956 and 1984.
Both 1984 and The Hunger Games have impacted life today. Protesters in Thailand started using the Hunger Games salute as an act of defiance agains the military government. Orwell’s book changed the English language, introducing the concepts of thought police, doublethink, newspeak and more. Plus now revelations about government surveillance of any kind evoke thoughts of Big Brother.
Let's hope that Orwell outpaced Collins in his grasp of the future—otherwise in the not too distant future we could be seeing our very own Hunger Games.Planet of the Apes
Written by Frenchman Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes was published in 1963. His take on the future portrays a fully functioning civilization—unfortunately for humanity, apes now run the show while people have become voiceless animals.
While moviegoers love the Hunger Games, they also have a big appetite for simian-run planets. The first Planet of the Apes movie—when Charlton Heston faced off with a “damn, dirty ape”—showed up on screens in 1968. Audiences liked the changes made to the book, including a twist ending, and the movie was followed by four sequels. Mark Wahlberg starred in a film reboot in 2001, while an origin story showed up on screens in 2011 (with a sequel of its own in 2014).
In addition to writing about possible futures for humanity, Collins and Boulle share an understanding of the horrors of war. Collins witnessed her father struggle with nightmares after his service in Vietnam. As for Boulle, he revealed his association with the Free French to the wrong person during World War II and ended up spending two years doing harsh labor in Hanoi. (Boulle wrote another well-known novel-turned-movie, 1952’s The Bridge on the River Kwai, that was inspired by his wartime experiences).The Handmaid’s Tale