This is going to be a review post.
It may surprise a few people that until last week, I’ve never seen or read the Hunger Games. At least in my limited scope of things, it seems like that series was what kicked off the post apocalyptic trend in teen fiction. If you’ve read some of my previous posts you know how I view that, so needless to say the idea of The Hunger Games never exactly thrilled me.
I also never could understand why it was my 11 or 12 year old friend who first told me about them; and how great the books were. Man, if I had a dime for every time someone my age told me this or that was good and I thought they were out of their mind.
But over the years I heard more intriguing things about the series, so my sister and I decided to finally check it out and our dad sat in for some of it. (We didn’t ask him to, but he was curious.)
So, as we like to ask each other, what’s the verdict?
Well, to like this movie, I would have had to be surprised, it would have had to be different than I expected. But it wasn’t.
That’s not to say I expected it to be completely bad. There were a lot of good moments. Katniss saving her sister, Katniss and Rue (almost tears,) Katniss and Peeta making their big decision. Katniss grieving over Rue was more than I expected, and it brought a lot of humanity to her. Rue’s brother or relative saving Katniss was kind of cool.
And despite all the hate Peeta gets, I don’t see why he deserves it, but I’ve only seen the one movie.
So, after admitting all this was good, why wouldn’t I give this movie a thumbs up. I am one to find meaning in anything I can.
Which I do. But There are those who find meaning, and there are those who find a meaning that was clearly never supposed to be there, or if it was it was the wrong meaning.
You see, it is hard enough to find a movie with any attempt at a good message, but it is harder to find one that even knows how to communicate its message.
At the end of “The Hunger Games.” I can’t really tell what the message was. It wasn’t about going against the culture, whatever Peeta thinks. It wasn’t about risking your life to save someone else, whatever Katniss’es original intent might have been. I guess, from what the scary guy with the white beard was saying, the movie is supposed to be about hope.
You all know how much I like hope.
And that is my huge problem with this movie and every movie like it. Hope is very, very slim. Hope is nearly given up. Hope lies in running for your life and then starting a rebellion. And I’m not even certain what part of what Katniss and Peeta did was meant to give me hope. They both started off willing to kill, steal, and destroy each other and their competition. This is supposed to make me like them?
I know Katniss wanted to save her sister, but doing bad things for you family used to be frowned upon; and it still would be in a different movie. No one would question it then. Like Luke, should he have gone over to the Dark side to make his father happy?
It may seem like a completely different circumstance, but it’ not. Peeta had no such noble reason for being in the Hunger games at all.
I am glad Katniss killed no one who did not attack her first, but neither did she at any time declare it was wrong to do so. She did not stand up to the government till the very end, and then it was almost too late, everyone else had died.
But on top of all that, the whole idea of the Hunger games is highly disturbing. no one ever talks about it when they discuss the movies’ merits, but what kind of person thinks up such an idea, and what kind of parents in the future would allow their children to be taken without a fight? Gale at least wants to run away, why hasn’t that idea been adopted ages ago? I’d expect it to be a reoccurring problem by the time Katniss goes. (If it is in the second movie, then my apologies, I haven’t seen it.)
Really. Why do parents let their children watch this movie anyway? My sister and I are older teens, but our younger sibling wasn’t watching, and good thing too. Like I said, a 12-year-old first recommended this to me. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?
Unfortunately, I usually am the only one who does.
As for the theme of hope, I want to know why we are satisfied with so little. We are given barely any to go on, we are shown precious little positive change because of that hope. Yet for this we are to be happy and feel inspired?
I think C. S. Lewis nailed the problem with most of mankind when he said “We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory.)
We all talk about being exceptional, but we don’t recognize that exceptional people are not satisfied with small ideas, small goals, and small hopes. Things have come to a sad pass when I need to watch a movie about children murdering each other in order to feel related to and get inspiration.
And that’s my verdict. The Hunger Games is, in a sense, lowering the bar. I am perfectly aware I will make tons of people furious by saying so, and if it were deserved, I might mind. But though the movie has all the appearance of goodness, it is not actually good.
It has good acting, amazing scenery, and a fine score, it is moving in some ways; but none of that makes it good. It just makes it easier to mistake it for good. I almost would have too, but when it was over I realized that despite feeling horrified by what I saw, I was left with no lasting, strong impression of any injustice that I could have righted, or any improvement I could have made, all I was left with was the characters, and they didn’t inspire me.
I am sorry to have to upset so many people, but that is my honest take on it. However there is one lesson to draw from the movie, and I’m going to cover that in part two.