Not like I spend my life reviewing movies (and yes, this post is about the movie), but when is the last time I wrote a positive movie review? Don’t think I have yet… The Hunger Games has some interesting themes, but to me it’s ultimate claim to fame is just pitting children in a death match. The author could have just as easily made the age-group 18 to 24, and I doubt the book or the movie would have been so popular. By choosing to kill 12 to 18 year-olds, the author creates the shock value that drives the sensationalism surrounding this story. Should I be impressed with that? Well, I am not… and I am.
On the “not impressed” side, picking on children is easy. What’s next, 6 to 12 year-olds? Toddlers strapped with IEDs? See…it is easy to create shock value. On the “impressed” side, the entertainment industry is fickle… every story has to have a “one line” attention getter that is properly placed to reach a market segment… writing a young adult book about young adults fighting to the death in a market flooded with similar stories targeted towards grown-ups was just good marketing.
Now, with the hook out of the way, if someone’s going to write a young-adult death-match story, I’d prefer they have something of value to share beyond the shock value. The film at least tried. Maybe it even succeeded, but then, what would success truly look like? The movie shines a light on several themes including oppression of the masses by an elite class (near and dear to my beliefs regarding “The Best and the Brightest”), it shows how our species creates self-destructive rules and then lives and dies by them (a topic I haven’t even had time to write about), it pokes fun at the sensationalism that is at the core of the movie’s own success, it puts the shallowness of style/materialism on blast, and even tries for some character development that hints at deeper virtues (maybe the book is more detailed, but the movie was clearly targeted toward action over drama).
I have always been a tough grader, so, my vote for this film is a solid “not bad.” It is definetely deeper than a lot of mainstream movies, and gets the brain working a little. The plot was fairly predictable, but for me… plot is typically a catalyst for theme, so it’s not super important to me if there is a twist. Well, that is, until I go see Avengers. That’s going to be all plot… hahaha.