Finally saw Hunger Games last week, or as I like to call it Lord of the Flies meets Soylent Green. Basic storyline: in a dystopian future, following a fracticious war that almost destroyed humanity, the world is divided into the wealthy victors, and the downtrodden nearly-starved rebels, who are forced to live in impoverished districts according to their usually dangerous occupations (coal miners, etc); as macabre sport and psychological punishment, every year each district is forced to participate in a lottery where two children are selected at random to participate in a survivalist, winner-kill-all, spectator contest called The Hunger Games. I haven’t read Suzanne Collins books, though I’ve been “meaning to get around to it.”
So I can’t judge the literary work, just the movie. Overall it was okay. The level of violence was a little jarring. I knew going into the film what the film was about; still, kids offing each other all Richard Connell style, is always unsettling. I couldn’t help think of what allegories there were to our present day realities of child soldiers, be it legitimately thought-provoking songs like Little Weapon by Lupe Fiasco, or annoyingly conscending “save-the-poor-Africans” trendy videos like Kony2012. The dystopian Orwellian world painted in the film is interesting, though I’d have liked to see more background. It took me a while to get used to the ridiculous Dr. Seuss-like garb and hairstyles of the wealthy viewers of the games, but I suppose that had its own 1% symbolisms, as did the media-reality-show format; Suzanne Collins works in television as well. Don’t want to give away too many spoilers here, but the film gets some good points for having a strong heroine (Katniss Everdeen, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence) motivated by something other than “love.” I think it might even pass the Bechdel Test. As for people of color, we get a few, though only one (Rue, portrayed by Amandla Stenberg) stays on screen long enough to gain your sympathy. Ironically, depicting her as a person of color brought out the worst racist impulses in some fans, who prefer their dystopian futures mightily white. This is ironic, because if anything, this character comes dangerously close to the infamous Magical Helper Negro status–right down to the end.