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SPOOFS REALITY TV SHOWS
on 3 August 2013
All science fiction futuristic societies are written to have a message about the current day. This is normally contained within the text, or a line someone speaks. The movie starts giving us some background for the games, but we don't know why there was a rebellion in the first place, something that is in the book. The rebellion resulted in a lottery where teens from the various districts must now compete in a survivor battle to the death, all for the entertainment of the audience. Early in the film we hear, "If no one watches, we won't have a game." In other words if we stop watching reality TV shows, they will be taken off the air...not exactly a bad thing.
In those other films the evil of society had been either, capitalism, socialism, the super rich, corporations, religion, or science. The irony of the film/book is that it makes fun of the viewer/reader for enjoying it. They are the problem with today's voyeuristic dummy down society, which like the movie can be divided into two groups" Those who see the movie/games as entertainment. And the intellectuals who realize the metaphor contained within. I'm loving it! (Pardon my pop culture response, but it seems apropos.)
There is a stark contrast in wealth and dress between those who participate in the games and the society who runs them. However, it is those who participate who ultimately empower those who run them, just like with war, the second message of the film which dates from Homer "War is old men lying, young men dying."
Jennifer Lawrence, who I thought was Oscar worthy in "Winter's Bone," immediately becomes our heroine when she volunteers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games. We don't expect her to die anytime soon. As the fighting begins I kept wondering if they were going to simply fight for everyone's entertainment or are we going to get a Captain Kirk/Agorn moment when he has defeated his opponent and refuses to kill him shouting, "You are going to have to get your entertainment elsewhere!" Or maybe we could end it like "Death Race 2000" where Frankenstein kills the president...but I am getting way ahead of myself.
The victims, or tributes as they are called, are paraded and cheered having done nothing...similar to reality show TV "stars." (Yes I mean you talentless Snooki.) People wildly cheer because...they can. Woody Harrelson helps to bridge the time from when Jennifer Lawrence is selected until the fighting begins. Donald Sutherland appears as an unrealistic unlikeable President Snow, a composite character representing the evil of society. There are interviews and pageantry prior to the games during which time we get to know more about Jennifer and very little about the other contestants. It would have been nice to have known some of the quirky combatants and have them killed in ironic ways to their character, but maybe that was too much to ask about a film about shallow entertainment.
Jennifer, with her honesty and rebellious attitude has become the fan favorite and our favorite because she is the only contestant that we know. She lacks the killer instinct...until she must. Alliances form and everyone wants to get the fan favorite aka Rambette Jennifer Lawrence, who did an excellent job to give girls a heroine being both a compassionate woman and a huntress. Like all reality TV shows, when the drama starts to fade the program directors add an element to push it in the direction that they want.
No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. "Safe" for kids to watch.