When I saw “The Hunger Games,” I didn’t like it. Seeing young adults and children forced to kill one another wasn’t an entertaining experience.
While I was engaged in the story, I was left wondering why I should be rooting for anyone, particularly those under oppression.
The oppressed, including those forced to fight in the annual Hunger Games, just seemed to be giving into the oppressive system. Despite the miserable living conditions, none of the citizens chose to act — even when their own people were forced to fight to the death.I can understand the film showing the terrible state of the oppressed and just how hopeless their lives must feel. However, it seemed everyone in the movie was somehow fine with the Hunger Games, and that was really troublesome.
Because of this, the film reminded me of an episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series””A Taste of Armageddon”– in which two civilizations engage in a virtual war using computers rather than actual weapons. Once declared dead in the virtual world, the people “killed” would report to booths to be disintegrate.
Of course, the Enterprise crew was astonished and disturbed by this, strangely unlike the inhabitants of the civilizations.
“The Hunger Games” is like that Star Trek episode, the people who should be astonished and disturbed by their oppression are seemingly indifferent about the whole thing. This is doubly disturbing considering that the Hunger Games have lasted for at least 74 years. I do not have too much trouble with this content as a whole, particularly the violent aspects. But the content needed to be justified. Unfortunately, this film did not justify anything.
I understand the people involved in the Hunger Games were forced into killing each other, but why did their fellow citizens not stand up to stop it? They did nothing — they didn’t even offer a reaction. When a film does this, it dehumanizes the characters’ world. For a film like this, there needed to be some semblance of humanity and morality. Otherwise, the film is nothing more than footage of a massacre.
Fortunately, “The Hunger Games” is not a stand-alone movie.
“Catching Fire” shows the oppressed fighting against their oppressor. And though the film is grittier and more violent than its predecessor, it makes it easier to watch and root for the main characters and the oppressed.
“Catching Fire” turns the massacre footage of “The Hunger Games” into a fight of good vs. evil — that’s a story worth telling and watching.
Now, I’m not in agreement with the film’s ideas necessarily, but at least there is a reason for the violent content. At last the characters — both major and minor — demonstrate human qualities, with some sense of morality and the concept of right and wrong.
This distinction is not just key to the progression of the plot line, but also presents a realistic and appropriate human reaction to audiences.
Andrew Jenson can be reached at email@example.com