Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mondo Bizarro Rants (For Cheap Hits): The Hunger Games

Let me preface everything that I'm about to say.  Ahem.  I have not read the book(s).  I really have no interest in them.  I'm only talking about the movie- or what I watched of it last night.

Fans of the movie: I just don't buy it.

Let me break it down a bit...

1. Society broken down into 12/13 Districts (counting the rich area).
2. All but one of them are poor, industrial districts (think Detroit in really, really bad times).
3. The rich District has all of the power/military and makes the other Districts kill each other for more rations.

I can buy #1, especially given that this is what I call 'vague sci-fi.'  There are some gadgets/tech, but it mostly looks like we do now.  I can buy #2 to an extent, but can't imagine how there is not always fighting of some kind.  The film- or what I saw of it- didn't say that this was happening.  11/12 Districts just kind of sit there gritting there teeth...for over seventy-years.  Hmm.

It's really #3 that the problems occur.  The first part- fine.  You can see places like that in the Middle East (e.c. Syria, Egypt, Iraq).  That said, the second part is where it all falls apart for me.

Historically, there has been stuff that people could list as a comparison.  For example, the Reconstruction after the Civil War was structured negatively for the South.  Likewise, rebellions against political leaders in places like Kosovo have led to mass-murder.  This is not quite the same in either regard.

In the film, the rich people are so callous that they not only make people fight to the death for bread, but make it out like a TV event and broadcast it like The Olympics.  That's a step beyond for me.  You could say that the Romans made Gladiators fight, but they were usually criminals, 'religious zealots' or foreigners.  That's not the same as people in New York making people in South Carolina fight to the death & you watching this like its American Gladiators!

One could also say that this developed over a long-period of time, during which the poor people got dehumanized to the point of them being 'expendable.'  This would be supported by the event shown in the film to be the 74th one.

Here's the thing: the movie does a poor job of conveying that.  Maybe the book does it better- I don't know.

In the film, the rich people are amoral assholes who splice their DNA and enjoy watching poor people murder each other for bread.  A LOT has to happen for people to reach that point...and the film does almost nothing to show you how they got there.

The movie In Time begins with about 30 seconds of narration from Justin Timberlake explaining that everyone is some sort of cyborg/android that has to literally buy time before they shut down.  I'm sorry, but I expect a little more of an explanation than that!!!  That's kind of how I feel about this movie- show me something, anything that explains how these people got to this point.  Why is that so hard?

For me, the end result is that it took me out of the 'reality' of the situation, which is what the movie is built around.  The rich people just become cartoon characters a la Lex Luthor on Challenge of the Super Friends show- evil...just because.

In conclusion: I just didn't buy it.  Sorry.


  1. I guess you'd prefer an Asylum version, maybe "The Thirst Games" or something like that ;-)


    I didn't read the book, but I suspect that even if I did, I'd only hate the movie rather than my current doctrine of tolerant indifference. It's not that I think the movie's bad, but for a movie that has the potential to be intellectually satisfying, there are too many elements missing to do the job.

    I did a blog post about The Hunger Games after seeing it in theater with my bro, and I took issue with Katniss apparently being "the first person in the history of the games to volunteer to be a tribute." I raised a red flag as high as I could, because there is NO WAY, in the history of the games, that there's never been another child that offered to take the place of a younger sibling. Actually, Katniss in general draws some ire from me, but...well, I suppose this rant's long enough.

    The point is, I'm with you; the movie needed to convey information, and it didn't. A major oversight, to be sure.

  3. I thought it was pretty cool. Sometimes it's more important to establish the world for the viewer/reader rather than necessarily explain how it got to that point.

    But I haven't read the book. Maybe the book does talk about it more.

    My problem with the movie is that I just kept thinking of the Running Man, and therefore, hilarious Arnie one-liners that I wish were in this movie. And all movies. Forever.