Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Hunger Games

     Sometimes when I want to mix things up a bit, I take a more casual approach rather than trying to sound academic. This time I'm really mixing things up with my review after my recent viewing of The Hunger Games. And once again, I haven't read the books, so let's move on. So you don't misinterpret my thoughts, know that I rather enjoyed it. Whether or not it was worth all the hype is another matter, but it was a good movie. It spends a great deal of time building up to the actual Hunger Games event, and then spends the rest of the time covering the details of that event. The movie seems to be almost equal parts rising action and main action, with a some overlapping teen drama and social commentary.

     As far as the social commentary goes, the story takes a harsh jab at reality TV. Although it's true that so far The Amazing Race, Fear Factor, and Survivor have not had anyone butchered onscreen, the desensitization shown by the citizens of Panem is not as unrealistic as we might like to think. The Hunger Games shows a future world where the citizens of outerlying districts are selected at random to participate in the annual Hunger Games and outlast one another, all for the entertainment of the flamboyant and ridiculously opulent citizens of Capitol. Like reality TV, much of the action is rigged and manipulated by the broadcasters. The original purpose of the games was a reminder of the penalty of rebellion, but over time the Capitol citizens decided they enjoyed it so much that the games continue every year with no real purpose other than savage enjoyment in the carnage and dehumanization of the young people from the outlying districts.

     Observe that there is a slice of teen drama incorporated into this story. Unfortunately, Katniss and Peeta lack convincing chemistry and the immaturity of their relationship clashes with the circumstances in which they are thrown together. In other words, you are in the middle of a fight to the death! This is no time to think about a crush! I'm not against love stories, really. But a logical question here seems to be "what? ... now?!" The pair goes from having a teenage crush to making a suicide pact together. Sorry, but no. And then to find out that Katniss is mostly just playing to the camera and by extension playing Peeta, this brings me to my prediction for the next movie:

     All in all, The Hunger Games is enjoyable. Storywise it is a road less traveled by, at least until that inevitable teen drama kicks in. There are plenty of intense moments that keep the story moving, and the movie does a respectable job of making Panem look familiar enough to be figuratively tangible. Handheld camera was a bold choice for this kind of piece, but it works well as it keeps the action chaotic enough that it stays relatively bloodless while still seeming grisly in its PG-13 kind of way. I would recommend The Hunger Games as a popcorn flick, even if I am a little skeptical about the direction of the story from here.


  1. I hope that second pie chart is wrong, but it more than likely be right. Such is the template of modern trilogies...

    Also, I nominated you for an award!

  2. Unless they deviate significantly from the book, the second pie chart will have to be adjusted. There is more drama but mostly because we're already a third of the way through the story. It's drama but not the unreasonable stuff. Gale is actually the main source of the "teen drama" bits. You know how I feel about melodrama and this isn't it (unless, again, they deviate).I must point one thing out and I'm not faulting you here because this review is based on the movie and the movie didn't do a very good job with the Peeta/Katniss thing. That's actually my biggest problem with the movie. I just need to clarify and defend the characters for a second. There was no suicide pact. You're right; that would have been ridiculous. Unfortunately, they did make it look that way, though. Actually, she was very confident that the Capitol needed a victor and the berry thing was their gamble to both get out alive.