The Hunger Games

After this movie, I left the theatre and went to a bar a block away and sat down just as Louisville and Kentucky tipped off in game 1 of the Final Four. It was as if the movie never stopped.

If you’ve been living in a cave without electricity, you may not know the plot of The Hunger Games. Here it is: To atone for their rebellion, each year twelve downtrodden districts send two kids (boy and girl) to play a death game in a stadium-like setting until only one kid survives. The state rigs it for maximum entertainment value, the elite watch and cheer because they think it’s glorious sport, and the kids do it for free because they have no choice or because they fantasize about the fame and fortune that only one kid can achieve.

If you’re still in that cave without electricity, you may not know the plot of the NCAA Tournament either. Here it is: To make money for big corporations and keep college costs low (jk), each year hundreds of educational institutions vie for the chance to send their basketball team to a huge tournament played in stadiums across the country until only one team is left. The not-for-profit NCAA and the TV networks commercialize it to maximize profits, people who can afford cable and have lots of leisure time watch and cheer because they think it’s glorious sport, and the kids do it for free because they have no choice or because they fantasize about fame and fortune attained only by a few.

So I rebelled. I watched the NCAA Tournament at PJ Clarkes, drinking Guinness and shoveling mini-cheeseburgers, chicken quesadillas, and warm cinnamon cookies with caramel sauce and ice cream down my throat. What I’m saying, silly, is that I rebelled against the depressing feelings brought on by The Hunger Games, not against the injustices done to college athletes.

After I got past the self-loathing, I had a constructive discussion about the movie with my wife. The conversation ranged from comparing it to Star Wars, to asking “What is happening to this world?,” to “hey man, The Road Runner had plenty of gratuitous violence.”

The movie prompts some good discussion.

It was enjoyable and it made me think, but I thought it was just an okay movie. It felt a little slow at times and the characters didn’t engage me for some reason. I didn’t read the books and I went in with very high expectations, the death knell for any movie for me. I did think the ending was cool and I liked the political undertones a lot.

I don’t know why Gail and I decided to see this. It’s basically the same genre as Harry Potter and the Twilight stuff, isn’t it? We had no compunction to see those whatsoever, yet The Hunger Games was on our screen from the get-go. Is it just a little more adult than those mentioned? Were we affected by the overt and subtle media push? Or is it just a better story? I’m going with the better story route.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to discussing it with my nieces.

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