Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thoughts on The Hunger Games

One tiny thing I regret from last year was not grabbing the Kindle edition of "The Hunger Games" during the brief time it was available as a freebie. I subscribe to an RSS feed so I know whenever a Kindle edition of a book is free. I'd never heard of the book, and at that point we didn't know there would be a movie (or that it would be good). When I read the brief synopsis of the story, I just assumed it would be more girl tween fantasy fiction riding on the coattails of Twilight.

What a mistake. I was wrong. And now I'll have to pay for the book.

I watched The Hunger Games this weekend. I actually watched it twice. The movie is the kind of story that I need to watch at least twice to get an idea of what's going on.

I thought the movie was great. It was very well produced and acted. They took the time to do it right. It clocked in at about two and a half hours. On my second time through, I really appreciated that. At no point did the story start feeling tired or tedious. If anything, there were a few parts of the story that I wish they'd put just a little bit more time into, but I assume the book will answer those questions for me.

I'm sure most viewers watching this movie or reading the books will think "Yeah. That could never happen." Oh, really? Look at history. Maybe it hasn't happened all at once, but every aspect of the story is laid out piecemeal throughout history, including the present times.

In North Korea, the favored classes get to live in the capitol, where they enjoy luxuries. Those unfavored get to live away from the capitol, where many of them are undernourished and starving. This is kind of like the society in Hunger Games. You can see parts of this in the documentary "Inside North Korea".
Child sacrifice pops up in cultures throughout history.

Gladiatorial combat does as well. Ancient Rome, anybody? Bread and circuses? That basically means if we keep the people fat and entertained, we can do whatever we want and they'll barely notice.

All the Hunger Games does is put it all together in one place. A pissed off state punishing its citizens for some uprising that happened way in the past. It locks them off into isolated districts and keeps the economies of those districts depressed. The people are so focused on day to day existence, they can't think about another uprising. Then once a year, 24 children are chosen at random and forced to battle it out on TV for everybody to watch. The winner's district gets to feel good about itself, while the others assume "better luck next year".

Something I picked up the second time through: one of the districts actually has an academy to train children for the Hunger Games. They train full time from 12 to 18, then volunteer. Except for the year this story takes place, they always win.

Don't tell yourself Hunger Games could never happen. It already has. Maybe not all at once, but all parts of this story have happened in history.

Something else I've noticed is the majority of residents of the capitol are kind of freaky, and the men are effeminate. Just about ever male character in the capitol, with the exception of Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz, are effeminate. The women are really wacked out with makeup and hair color. And the furniture makes me think Ikea won the revolt and in fact is the government.

All told, great movie. Well worth the two times I've watched it so far. I'm halfway tempted to put it on a third time because it's that good and Netflix rocks. I'm going to have to get the books so I understand the backstory, and I'm looking forward to the next two movies, which I believe are slated for production.
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