I talked about The Hunger Games (the movie) with the rest of the Overthinkers on this week’s podcast; check it out. But the podcast is (or tries to be) more of an objective analysis, less of a subjective review. So, for my own thoughts:
Several friends of mine have complained recently about the injustice of Bully, a documentary about actual problems with actual teenagers, being rated R, while The Hunger Games, a fictional movie about teenagers murdering each other, is rated PG-13. The argument is that children need to see movies like Bully in order to put a face on a problem that they might otherwise ignore.
While I don’t want to take anything away from the importance of The Bully Project, it is just as important that every teenager in America sees The Hunger Games on the big screen. They need to see a world where people accept income inequality as the just outcome of wrongdoing two hundred years ago. They need to see a world where young adults are marched off to death with no objection. They need to see a world where the voices and faces of media are tools of social control. They need to see a world where it’s the villains who call ritual slaughter a “sacrifice” that needs to be “honored,” not the heroes.
But, of course, it’s fantasy. It’s a world where children are told that they need to conform to recognizable roles as early as they can or they’ll be picked off at the fringes of the herd. It’s a world where kissing the boy that society approves of gets you rewards. It’s a world from which there’s no escape – from which the idea of running away, living off the land and ignoring the arbitrary annual bloodletting, is laughed off. It’s bizarro science-fiction; look at the haircuts.
Yes, the setup is brutal, and depressing, and pointless. But what are you going to do when they start pulling names out of slips? Not send a tribute to the Capital?