Disclaimer: I haven’t read the books for this movie, so all interpretations, observations, and notations are based off the film.
In the future.
74 years ago, the Hunger Games were established. Before that time, the people of this Nation grew sick and poor. They gave the government power to distribute and care for the people.
After a time, the people grew stronger, and the famine gone. But the Government would not relinquish this control.
Civil War ensued. And the Government emerged victorious.
To Ensure such uprising would never happen again, the Nation was divided into 12 districts and forced to live in extreme poverty. Hunting? Not allowed. Weapons? Banned.
In addition, each year every district must pay tribute to the government by giving one boy and girl, ages 12-19, in the “Hunger Games” A battle to the death, and the winner giving immense riches and food for the rest of their and family’s lives.
Let the Hunger Games Begin.
Before I go into the actual content, I wanted to say a little something about the motivations behind seeing this movie.
I am not a culture bandwagon jumper, Twilight… Harry potter… The latest music… I don’t really follow that stuff.
This movie however, sparked my attention, because of the story behind it, the story of a government in absolue power, and people willing to stand up against it. I knew there would be a lot of stuff presented, especially on death, and wanted to see an audience up with the current “Fads” reacted to various moral scenarios.
To say I was surprised… would be an understatement. It was incredibly amusing, perplexing, and baffling to see double standards, edging on relationships… and cheering and yelling out at various… male characters. (in previews… the Movie begins with T)
So, I will get more into that in a moment… but was very telling to me, to see what our culture is like in terms of entertainment and standards.
Alright, onto the movie content. :)
Things I liked
One of the biggest themes throughout this movie, is sacrifice. The main character (from District 12), Katniss volunteers herself during the “reaping” to save her little sister. She puts her life in danger many times to save other combatants in the games. Peeta (the guy from District 12) also, is willing to give his life for another. We see this throughout the movie, that Katniss values other people above herself, this is one of the bible’s strongest commandments, second only to to “Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul and Mind”.
Another theme in the movie is to stand up against what is wrong. Katniss sees the wrong in these hunger games, and is determined not to stoop to that level. It does come with a cost however, as refusing to kill someone makes things… difficult to survive. In standing up for what is right, against the gladiator style game, she inspires the people watching throughout the Nation, not to be entertained by violence, but to reject it.
There is a strong focus on compassion and mercy, coming from many combatants in the game. Granted they are occasional occurrences, but present nonetheless. A guy spares one girl, merely for the fact she is helpless and not able to defend herself. Another instance includes Katniss befriending a 13 year old girl who is a possible liability to herself. Protecting the weak and helpless, in an inhumane environment, was good to see.
Things I didn’t like
The violence in the Hunger Games is some of the most unappetizing I have seen in a long time… There are so many levels of violence too. So, I will attempt to break it down in the conclusion…
The style of violence here, is one I hadn’t seen before. It was hand camera, so you would see a strike, the a the last moment spin away, so you just saw blood. Very rarely do we ever see a full hit. One girl warming herself by the fire, is surrounded by a group. We see her face, the it cuts away and we hear her dying scream. After a tribute is killed, often they would give a 5-10 second cut of the dead body. Shots included slit throats… snapped necks… bludgeoned to death…
Cato is a 19 year old boy from District 1, there, they train for all of their life, then volunteer for the games. They almost always win. Cato is the epiphany of ruthless, vile, and tyrannical fighting. We watch him break the neck of young boy, slay thirteen year old girls, and ally with those as strong as himself. If you are weaker, you die, and ultimately he cares only for himself, others are just tools to be used.
Katniss also is not without blood on her hands. she drops a swarm of killer wasps on the allied group, and one person dies from the stings. We later see their face, swollen, disfigured, and discolored while Katniss pries a bow out of their death grip. She shoots a guy in the chest to protect herself and the girl she is with, but she kills him nonetheless. She also commits a “Mercy” killing, as a guy is getting torn and eaten to death by wild dogs… she decides to end his suffering with a shot of a bow.
Other deaths include a boy being beaten to death with a brick, we see a girl who died of eating poisonous food. One rather large guy snatches a girl up by the neck, and pounds her against a wall until we hear (and see) her neck snap, and she falls to the ground. We see a girl gored in the stomach with a spear, and she numbly pulls it out.
There is a relationship between Katniss and Petta in the games, used to increase the odds/excitement/etc. It initially starts as a show for entertainment, but quickly develops from there. Back home though, there is another guy who is ready to marry Katniss.
Stupid love triangles.
These are made solely for the drama and entertainment of some girls watching this movie (no offense girls). After Peeta is injured, they wind up kissing a short time later. It is never shown what actually happens after they get back home, whether they stay together, not, etc. It wasn’t needed to build the story, and distracted from the overall goal. In my opinion anyway.
Cussing is in the movie, D—, H—, and God’s name is used in vain several times.
The mentor for Katniss and Peeta is drunk all the way to the city. He also tells an uptight city lady to loosen her corset and have a drink.
After watching this movie, my brain was churning. So many ideas, themes, and moral scenarios presented… It still has me reeling four hours later.
Let’s starts with the violence aspect.
It is very interesting to see what a double standard our society has in terms to life and who deserves it. I remember, when the bad guy died (you know he was going to… ;) ) there was cheering.
Did you read that?
Over the death of a person.
Death, is never something we should rejoice in, unless it is one of a person going to meet Christ in heaven.
It sickened me to my core. Moresoe than anything else, actually hearing the audience cheer for a brutal death, because that person was “Bad”.
Ironic actually, as it seemed the hunger games was made to warn against a society reveling in, rejoicing in, and being entertained by death and violence. It warns against the perils of a society that takes delight in seeing people killed. Katniss kills a girl who is sleeping, with killer wasps… and that is OK? She shoots a person who is dying to relieve suffering… Euthanasia anyone? One person kills to save another. Why is the person they saved more valuable? These are just some questions that arise when watching the arena battle.
Outside the arena, as they are preparing for combat, more items arise…
“May the odds Ever be in your favor”
This is the slogan of the Government. Funny though, as the government controls those odds, since they own and control the arena.
If there is anything to be learned from this movie, it is that Thomas Jefferson was absolutely correct in saying “A government big enough to give you anything you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have.”
In one scene, the president is talking to his advisor about how he should manipulate the games this year. He says “…These games provide the people with one thing. Hope. The only thing more powerful than fear, is Hope. Be careful with this…”
I found it very interesting that throughout the whole movie, what happens after death is never mentioned. Not once does someone ask about what happens after, nor God (or someone like Him) brought up. Leaving it up to the person to ponder, if they cared enough, the question. Clearly, this movie supports humanity and value of life… but the question never answered is Why? Because it feels right? Because one is entitled to live? Because one is a good person? No ultimate standard results in the double standard we see in this film, one where, a person can be killed if they aren’t “nice” or stronger than others…
There are many biblical and honorable traits portrayed in the 2 hour and 20 minute “Hunger Games”, and it also provides some very good stuff to chew on.
But given the brutal teen violence and lack of moral resolution…. I’m going to have to pass on seconds.