Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games - a few thoughts...

I read The Hunger Games, and then saw the movie.
I’m in the middle of Book 2 now and look forward to finishing it and book 3!
Overall, I enjoyed the book and the movie!

That being said, the book & movie included some ideas that I wanted to disect a little bit more.
Feel free to share your thoughts!

Today, I started following a conversation of one of my friends on facebook and wanted to share it.  Thanks for letting me share this Chris!

From Chris:
Here are some parallels [between the real world and the movie] I'm talking about:
1) disparity between rich and poor
2) child soldiers (innocent children are actually forced to kill each other today - and it's not only the LRA)
3) governments who control resources and starve their people (ex: North Korea)
4) our fascination with reality tv (seeing the breakdown/suffering of people brings in lots of viewers and, therefore, $)
5) how numb the audience got to their bloodlust (and how many of us can turn a blind eye or become numb to the atrocities going on in the world today)

I like the fact that the movie brought these things up, but I wonder how many people will recognize them. I thought it was well produced and acted. I definitely think it's a great story, I'm sure the books are awesome, and I like the author's intent. Also, I think that I will appreciate the first movie more when I have seen the other 2.

Here's what disturbs me though. When we watch movies, we normally only like them when we can identify with the main character (protagonist). I wish I could say I identified with Katniss or Peeta, but if I were to be objective, the people that I found myself identifying the most with in this movie is the numb, rich audience members who wanted entertainment....”

More from Chris: “...My criticism isn't of the movie or the story, but the state of our culture, which can be revealed in the movie if that's the lens you view it through.... I think it's a jump to see our culture (including ourselves) as the capitol, understand that's very disturbing, and figure out what to do about. I think most people will see it and say "I'm like Katniss or Peeta - the world's out to get me, but I'm going to stay strong and overcome those evil people" instead of "oh crap what have we become?"

My Thoughts:
I agree with Chris' thoughts above, and find it interesting to think more about the deeper issues illustrated in the book/movie.  I had a few more comments to add.

First, somewhat unrelated, but more of a comment on the style of story-telling --I agree with the blog writiger -- it is an ‘un-preachy’ way to communicate an important message and I do think this style is effective for our culture today.  I think there is a greater chance that people will hear and respond positively to this method than they would if they receive an explicit message commanding what one should and should not do.

Back to thoughts of the Capitol...Talking with another friend today at lunch, we discussed how our culture may not make the direct link between the Capitol and themselves.  But the movie will spark conversations, which may help some people identify with the Capitol which may lead them to thoughts of least more than they would have had if they did not read/watch or talk about it at all.

If indeed the author intends for us to identify with the Capitol, she does so in a very clever way.  If the Capitol was portrayed as the hero from the beginning, we might not have been as drawn to it.  But starting from the perspective of the underdog, we are pulled in and naturally interested to find out the outcome, even if it twists along the way.

Lastly... and I know it's just a movie and it's just a book, and I confess, I do enjoy it as such.  But to go deeper with it, I do wonder if we do end up identifyig with the Capitol, will we confess that the ways of the Capitol really are wrong?
And if we get that far, will we seek out a way to change?
Or will we go on accepting the lies that it’s just the way things are, and always will be, and there's nothing we can do?

Or worse yet, will we feel the need to make things worse in order to keep up with the depraved hunger that lurks not only all around us, but also within us, and which we, as humans, are completely incapable of ever truly satisfying? 

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