What Can I Say About The Hunger Games?

***Will Contain Spoilers***

Yes, I’m a little late to jump on the whole Katniss/Peeta/Gale bandwagon…and just as soon as I finish this, I’m jumping right back off again.

Let me start off by saying that, after reading some reviews, I chose to not watch this movie. I guess I hadn’t paid enough attention to the media, which isn’t really anything new for me. I don’t know half the movies that come out every year. But I guess I didn’t realize exactly how this tale went. Once I did, forget it. It’s not a subject I choose to support.

And I was totally okay with that decision, until my daughter first nagged me to rent it…and then to watch it.

So…

Tonight I popped the disk into my computer, sat back, and let it roll. It didn’t take long, seeing the fear of the kids ‘eligible’ to participate in the games for me to know I wasn’t going to enjoy this at all.

Sure, the acting was great. The action and suspense never let up, and the script was really good, too. The producers pulled off what they set out to do.

To create a film designed to portray what it would be like in a world where it’s acceptable to make a sport of murdering children.

Some of the highlights, things I actually liked include Woody Harrelson’s character. I also loved Lenny Kravitz. And that’s about it. Everyone else, no matter how good or likeable they were, are associated with things so wrong, it’ll be a miracle if I don’t have nightmares when I fall asleep.

One general observation. What is it about futuristic series and movies…and their funky hair and clothing styles? Makes me really glad to be living in this day and age.

And now for the spoiler. The reason I hate this movie passionately. In a word…a little girl. Okay, so that was three words.

When a story has such a horrifying premise, you can’t help but hope that the people will rise up and put a stop to it. That’s what I was hoping for from the beginning. And when Rue was actually killed, after the writers made me love her, I’d had enough. The only reason I finished watching it was so I’d have more reasons to argue my point.

No offense to anyone who loved the story, but what kind of society are we that something like kids killing kids is ever acceptable. I don’t care if it’s in movies or books. How can that ever be right?

If this was going on in real country today, we’d be screaming foul…and demanding governments around the world put a stop to it. By any means available.

I’m sorry, but as a mother, I found the entire movie to be offensive.

And now I’m going to go be bummed out about Rue.

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17 Comments

Filed under Movie Review

17 responses to “What Can I Say About The Hunger Games?

  1. I wonder if you’ll take heat for this post. πŸ™‚ One of the most intriguing things to me about the Hunger Games phenomenon is how deeply entrenched in support of it some people have become.

    I’ve read all three books, and I saw the movie. One major theme of the book, that the movie didn’t do justice to, was just exactly how much of a nation’s soul people are willing to sacrifice for entertainment value.

    I was reading a post on a parenting forum recently about The Hunger Games. A mother had received a permission slip from her fifth grader’s teacher, because the teacher wanted to require the class to read The Hunger Games as part of their study on government.

    The responses to the post astounded me. A not-small majority of them said “I think the book is fine. Why not?” And fine … it’s okay to think that there’s nothing wrong with it, I suppose. People can make those choices for their own children.

    But then there was another small group that VEHEMENTLY attacked anyone who had issues with it. The basis for the argument was basically “THIS is what kids are interested in. Don’t censor what kids are interested in! You’re a dirty fascist pig for wanting to censor something that has ENTERTAINMENT VALUE for a ten-year-old.”

    Now, nobody who was “against” it wanted to ban it from schools. Nobody said no kid should read it. Nobody even said the book shouldn’t be on the shelves in that very same classroom where kids who wanted to read it, COULD. Nobody said anything besides, “You know, there are about ten thousand excellent books, both fiction and non-fiction that kids could be reading in a classroom to learn about government. WHY is The Hunger Games the best choice?

    And, in reality, given the popularity of this story at the moment, probably the vast majority of the kids in that class who COULD read it, probably already had, or had at least seen the movie. Now we need to TEACH with it, too? Because it’s impossible to hold their interest with a different great book that they haven’t already read? Is this what we believe about our children?

    My thoughts? What is a fifth grader going to learn about government from a book where a good percentage of ADULTS didn’t even get the fundamental take-away message that THAT is what can happen when people overbuy into the hype of a phenomenon?

    Indeed, those people who spent their time riding in on their white horses to defend the (honor?) of a book are the very same kind of people who, given the right circumstances, would very much gather around their television sets in a future Capitol, and clink their wine glasses over that kind of event when it REALLY HAPPENED.

    And that’s what scares me.

    FTR, I enjoyed a lot of the underlying messages in the first book, and I, too, was entertained. By the third book, it was far too much for me, but I don’t have any kind of agenda against The Hunger Games. It’s just that from the hype and the popularity, and the things I see people write about it, and the way I see them literally champion the story as a CAUSE … I’m afraid we’re already on the verge of living there.

  2. I guess if I take any heat, so be it. This is just my opinion…and I’m entitled to it. I don’t even like watching the news because of all the bad things that happen in the world…especially to kids. Why would I like a movie that CELEBRATES the murdering of them?

    I’m stunned to hear schools are wanting to use the books to study government. What’s next…Twilight? Using the Volturi as an example?

    Sometimes I’ll catch a really old horror movie, and laugh because I know that things like The Blob, and cheesy Frankenstein movies scared the snot out of people way back when. And then I think if THOSE were scary, what would those people do if they saw present day horror flicks?

    It’s the same with stories like this. I think we’re becoming so desensitized to horrific stuff, real as well as fiction, that someday something like this will be as commonplace as a Superbowl party.

    In trying to outdo the last ‘big thing’ in entertainment, because we’re getting to be like adrenalin junkies, I’m afraid we’re losing a lot of that soul you mentioned.

  3. I thought Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz were great too.
    It is a disturbing story, but I thought the film did a great job translating the book to screen.

    • I didn’t read the books, but I agree…the film was great. If the subject matter had been different, like the bad kids just trying to kill the good kids, and the good ones fighting for survival, I’d probably have loved the movie. But when the adults set the whole thing up for sport…that did it for me right there. Then to have the actively work at killing Katniss, and then Peeta…that just made it worse for me.

  4. Now see, it’s nice to know I am not the only one that is not a fan of The Hunger Games. I read the book and didn’t really like it, but I watched the movie anyway and like you my two favorite people were Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz and I am not huge fans of theirs but from reading the book I knew they played their parts very well. I don’t even have kids and found it very disturbing that so many people love a book and movie where its okay for kids to kill kids and nobody does anything about it, but then I guess that is why I am not a huge fan of Dystopian type novel. πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I can’t get into the whole Dystopian thing either. The first (and last) book I’ve ever read in that genre was The Giver, and I decided that I just don’t like stories where everything is so….hopeless. As Breeana mentioned above, with the overwhelming popularity of The Hunger Games, it makes you wonder if we’re not heading in that direction now. Scary, scary thought.

  5. Kristy, I got halfway through the movie and turned it off (my husband had already fallen asleep). Then, at my niece’s suggestion, I tried the book. Four pages. I understand Katniss has to be hard, but I disliked her from page one. I keep thinking I should try again, since I feel SO out of it, but you’ve just convinced me not to πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Debra…
      After reading Marcy’s comment, I’m not sure whether to be glad or sorry that I’ve talked you out of it. Although I’m not sure I’d want to see or read anything else about it, even if the stories are supposed to make a good point. I still hate the whole concept of the Hunger Games. 😦

  6. From what I’ve read and seen, part of what Suzanne Collins was trying to do was make it disturbing enough that we took notice. Our society isn’t that different. No, we’re no longer throwing gladiators (who by today’s standards were often children) into an arena to fight to the death. But we gorge ourselves on smutty reality TV. If we’re not careful, 100 years from now, there could be a reality TV show that involves people killing each other.

    • Thanks for explaining that, Marcy. I’m glad to know that her intentions were good when she wrote the stories. I agree that the way the world is today, it’s entirely possible that what happened in Hunger Games could happen in real life.

      It doesn’t matter for me though. I still hate everything to do with adults making a sport of kids killing kids. Maybe because I’ve never gotten into reality TV. And I watch less and less television as time goes by, I rarely like what’s popular, so there isn’t much point-the shows don’t last long.

      As for this movie, I’m guessing there isn’t going to be a whole lot of middle ground. People will either love it or hate it. I’m just on the unpopular side of this debate. πŸ™‚

  7. I completely understand why you hated it. I took two sixth-graders to see it and I was a little worried about how it would make them feel. It made them sad, but in a good way. One of them said “I never want that to happen.” And I think that’s the point of the book/movie. It’s a horrible subject, but it’s not unrealistic. I remember going to a museum as a kid where they had a sub from one of the World Wars and we took a tour. The tour guide stopped near the bombs and looked at me. “In Japan, they strapped children to the missiles to guide them.” That terrified me. But it wasn’t a lie. It really happened. And I can see The Hunger Games really happening. But I think stories like that need to be told. Younger adults need to be told that they can make a difference, even if they come from a poor, beaten down place. Even if they don’t want to make a stand, sometimes they have to.

    **Just read the other comments and realize this has all already been said, but I typed it all out, so I’m going to post it anyway. πŸ™‚ **

    • Hey, Samantha… I guess I can kind of see everyone’s points about needing to raise awareness that this could happen someday. I guess what bothers me the most is that the hardcore fans seem to treat it like another Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. And, for me, it’s sad to see something so tragic treated like nothing but a great movie. πŸ™‚

  8. asraidevin

    My nephew was 13 or 14 when he read them. It gave him nightmares and he spends his time playing Call of Duty. Which made me decide not to read them (hadn’t heard of them at the time this was before the movie). I haven’t read them because I’m disturbed by the idea as well. And I play some violent video games as well, but when it crosses into reality … no thanks.

    • Hi, Asrai…I was afraid it would give me nightmares, lol…and I don’t play video games. I think you just hit the key for me right there. When I want to see a movie…I want the fantasy. I want the happily-ever-after…or at least to know that there’s some hope.

      When I realized what The Perfect Storm was, sitting in the middle of the theater, popcorn in hand, I wanted to have a tantrum. I hadn’t realized it was based on the TRUE story I’d read. I knew all of those guys were going to die, and it sucked. It ruined the movie for me, and I’ll never watch it again.

      If I want reality, I’ll watch the news or pick up a newspaper. I don’t want to leave a theater with a sense of hopelessness. 😦

      • asraidevin

        Oh I hated the Perfect Storm. I was hoping at least SOMEONE would live. My husband loves movies where (almost) everyone dies or is killed- the Patriot, Braveheart, Gladiator. It’s a running joke at our house, but he does tend to gravitate towards horrible deaths. We don’t watch a lot of movies together.

        • LOL! I’ll bet not. I’d hate movies like that, too, although I did like The Patriot. Most of it. When the people in the church, and then Heath Ledger’s character died…I didn’t like it so much. 😦

          Unfortunately with The Perfect Storm, it was based on a true story…and all the guys on the boat perished. It totally sucked that they made a movie out of it.

  9. Hey Kristy,

    I read this post awhile ago on my iPad and forgot to come back to comment. Hence, the super late to the party reply.

    I hated the movie. I took my son to see it ~ he read all the books ~ about halfway through I looked over at him and thought, ‘This could be him. THIS is the best answer adults could find to fix society? Babies killing babies? I hate this.’ For the rest of the movie I tried to think of plot points in my book, sunshine and lollipops, whatever I could to get through the agony of the killing.

    I’ve read through the comments and while I get that people think kids need to know this ‘could’ happen, I think we can reinforce it in other, more viable ways. Babies killing babies will aways make my heart hurt. I’ve realized after seeing the movie and trying to read the book that I’m not a fan of dystopian. At all. I don’t care that ‘it could happen’ in our lifetime. I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure it doesn’t happen. Let the adults fight it out, let the adults pay the price for their stupidity, don’t make the babies fight wars that aren’t their making.

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