Monday, April 16, 2012

The Hunger Games

Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match. - IMDB


Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. - Suzannecollinsbooks.com

Several weeks ago, someone told me they were reading The Hunger Games and relayed to me the basic story line. Since then the book and the movie have been the buzz all across the country. I really had no intentions of seeing a movie where teens are killing other teens, but when I had the opportunity to see the movie at no cost, I decided that I could speak about it intelligently having seen it.

The movie was well done as far as cinematography, and the blood and violence were kept to a minimum. As I watched the movie I was reminded of the ancient Gladiators and how people would cheer at this bloodsport. The Hunger Games seemed like a future version of Gladiators with the woods as the arena, mixed with the hype and hysteria of the Super Bowl. Sadistic government officials and television executives controlled the environment making things more or less difficult for the combatants. The wild hair colors, styles and clothing of the people in the Capitol are not far fetched in light of current trends and the whole concept of the movie is quite feasible in America future.

This story left me with a feeling of anguish. Maybe it was the concept of teens fighting each other to the death for the televised entertainment of the masses. Or maybe it's the idea of people today cheering for televised sports violence and realizing we could return to this type of bloodsport for amusement. Or maybe it's the fact that kids and teens are caught up in this hysteria. The showing I attended was filled with mostly teens and movies like this desensitize impressionable minds.

With the popularity of American football, Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing, watching this movie made me take a good look at myself and our society. We just continue to accept increasing amounts of televised violence in the name of entertainment. We already have televised bloody cage matches. How long will it be before we start calling for blood on the field or even worse a fight to the death until the last man is standing? We have not learned from our past, so maybe we are doomed to repeat it.

3 comments:

Karl Detrich said...

I believe the author's intent was to leave you in anguish. This is, after all, a trilogy. You are intended to desire resolution; don't miss the next two installments! (And remember, as any pusher could tell you, the first one's ALWAYS free.)

Jay Johnson said...

Karl, my anguish is simply for the sad state of our society that could actually end up in a situation like this where killing become our entertainment.

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