And it was good!
I don’t normally talk about movies here because I’m not really sure how. But since The Hunger Games is a book, and I have read it (in fact, it was one of the first books I reviewed here), I thought: why not?
You know, there was a lot of hubbub over this movie, and I’m not really sure why. Yes, yes: we have a kids movie where kids are killing other kids. Gasp! But I guess John Q. Public only pays attention when stories such as these hit the big screen. Because I’m pretty sure I received The Hunger Games at SPI, right after it came out, and that was in 2009. Yeah folks, three years ago. The world of Katniss Everdeen has been around for awhile.
But that’s another discussion entirely. Anyway, when I first read The Hunger Games, I liked it. I certainly didn’t become part of the series’ rabid fanbase, but I can’t lie: it’s not a bad book. In fact, it’s a pretty damn good book. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s very readable. Plus, the world that Suzanna Collins posits is an interesting one, particularly if you’re interested in dystopian visions. While the idea of forcing humans to kill one another for entertainment isn’t new (let’s all remember the gladiators), putting kids on the killiing field is an interesting theory. It makes you think.
I had similar questions after I read the book, but leaving the film this weekend, I couldn’t help but ponder: is society capable of something like the Hunger Games? Is there a point at which morality and humanity can be bred out of civilization? Can we go backwards? I also had similar critiques as when I read the book: where the hell are the human rights activists in this world? Do they at least have at PETA? I can’t imagine a world without at least a little dissent from on high, and so is this really plausible?
But that’s what’s cool about good books and movies — they make you think. And The Hunger Games definitely does that, which is why I like to recommend the book. At the very least (and I’ve said this a dozen times), Suzanne Collins gives pre-teen and teenage girls a better female role model than goddam Bella Swan. Katniss is a pretty sweet protagonist (tough, maternal, stands her ground and she can shoot a squirrel through the eye??).
Anyway, I still stand by my assessment of the last two books: they take the series in a direction I believe to be weak and unnecessary, and I’ve chosen not to read them right now. Too many good books on the docket. But The Hunger Games — both the book and the movie — is a quality story that definitely stands up to scrutiny.
And now, I hope this means I haven’t joined any bandwagons.