Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hunger Games Movie Review

As we approach Christmas, many of of you are probably considering various gift options for your friends and family.  As usual, DVDs are very a popular, and well liked holiday gift.  Over the Black Friday weekend, one of the top selling DVDs was the film adaption of Suzanne Collins runaway bestselling novel The Hunger Games.  Jeremiah Lorrig wrote a review of the film on his blog, YEspeak, and we thought we'd share that with you.

I am one of the people who participated in making Hunger Games movie opening weekend the third highest grossing of all time (it might be higher when all the chips are in). So far according to BoxOffice Mojo it has brought in 155 million dollars.

Hunger Games is carried by great actors, solid effects, and a compelling story, yet it is limited by insufficient time to connect with the characters and a stupid audience. It is a loyal adaptation of the book (see our review here). It is PG-13 because of the heavy themes and violence.

The Hunger Games book is a cautionary tale about the dangers of desensitizing ourselves to violence and the shallowness of appearances. Furthermore it is a story of self-sacrifice for family and being willing to put the safety of the one you love before your own safety.

These themes come through in the film. When the main character Katniss sees her sister being forced to the front of the crowd as the “tribute” who must go to the Hunger Games, Katniss steps forward and volunteers to go instead. The music cuts out, the world hurries by, and although you know what is going on around you, it is hard to believe it is happening. This scene captures the whirlwind feeling that one often experiences when life spins around you.

Another powerful scene is when one of the main characters admits that he loves someone and in the next breath why he will have to die for her. Once again they allow the moment to hang without music or effects and the sadness of the moment grips the viewer. The acting, especially Stanley Tucci, was great. Tucci nailed the part of a news anchor and held the story together. Josh Hutcherson was almost typecast and fits the roll so well that I cannot imagine another actor taking that part. Both of them built an atmosphere that allows the viewer to engage the story for what it is and not be held back because of the foreign nature of the setting. I was very disappointed in the audience and was reinforced in my belief that this is not a story for children.

This is why: the children who were there showed their ignorance of the meaning. The story is about how horrible it is to have a society that embraces violence so much that it finds joy in kids killing kids. Twice during the film when a kid was killed they started applauding. I fear that in many ways Suzanne Collins’ world might very well be our own. All told it is neither a great movie or a bad movie. It is powerful and deep. You may learn more about yourself watching it, or you may learn that our culture is not far removed from the culture of Panem. "Panem" is Latin for bread, a nod to the "bread and circuses" of the Roman empire.

Depending on who is watching, Hunger Games is either a warning against building Colosseums or it is a Colosseum where you can watch the brutality of humanity while cheering and picking favorites. Our culture hangs in the balance and the odds do not look like they are in our favor.

Originally posted by Jeremiah Lorrig on YESpeak 

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