'Hunger Games' Fans Will Eat Up Tie-In Books

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The Hunger Games Illustrated Movie Companion offers a sneak peek at the film.
The Hunger Games Illustrated Movie Companion offers a sneak peek at the film.

With just over a month until the highly anticipated release of "The Hunger Games" film adaptation, three movie tie-in books were released Monday to assuage our appetites (or perhaps intensify them).

At Here & Now we were busy dissecting the latest trailer that aired during Sunday night's Super Bowl, when a package mysteriously appeared (almost like it was dropped via silver parachute).

Inside we found: "The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion," a glossy tome full of behind-the-scenes content.

Then there was "The Hunger Games Tribute Guide," which contains profiles of all 24 children, who must fight to the death in the cruel reality-TV contest that is the heart of the novels. And then there is a movie tie-in edition of the first novel in the trilogy. We know they're standard marketing gimmicks, but that doesn't mean we weren't hooked.

Photos Offer Sneak Peek At Film

So. The verdict? It's all about the new photos. Panem, the series' post-apocalyptic nation, is both stark and space age. The "Official Illustrated Movie Companion" has amazing digital renderings, artist sketches and full-page stills of the central government's opulent Capitol as well as the gray and depressed District 12, home to the novel's protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.

Apparently they've modeled the Capitol on buildings from the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Production designer Phil Messina says, "The buildings are pure advertisements of industry. They have a scalelessness, like you can't tell if they're ten feet tall or a thousand feet tall."

District 12's Mill Town Setting

The plethora of images gives us a sense of the mood of the film.

We see the Everdeen's house and District 12's black market center of commerce, the Hob, set in an abandoned mill town in North Carolina.

"We went with sort of an Appalachian coal mining vibe for the Seam," says Messina.

Capitol Opulence

We get to see the interior of the Hovercraft that takes the tributes to the Arena. Fun fact: the seats used in the hovercraft are real NASCAR race-car seats they had made.

A four-page spread featuring a glistening suckling pig, and psychedelic foods and drinks encapsulates the gluttony of the Capitol, where people eat food that is both incredibly lavish and overly-produced, compared with those who live in the other Districts. "[N]ot any pastels, not any earth tones. Nothing brown," says food stylist Jack White.

There's a whole section filled with photos of Capitol fashions, which are similarly candy-colored and saccharine. "Like [French fashion designer] Jean Paul Gaultier on acid," says makeup artist Ve Neill. And yes, we get a closer look at Katniss' Girl-On-Fire dress.

Unfortunately we'll have to wait for the film to see the Cornucopia, which holds the weapons and gear that the tributes will fight over to increase their odds of survival in the Hunger Games Arena.  Messina says it was influenced by the work of architect Frank Gehry. But there is plenty for an obsessed fan to pore over.

"The Hunger Games Tribute Guide" is a handy reference, and has a few more photos that aren't in the Companion. But it's a little disconcerting to see all the nameless tribute boys and girls that we know aren't going to make it.

Based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling series of the same name, "The Hunger Games" film will be in theaters March 23.

This program aired on February 8, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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