Thursday, March 29, 2012

To See, or Not to See: The Hunger Games

Movies are something else aren't they? There is something magical about sitting in a dark room with a group of strangers who find their iPhones more interesting than the movie on screen. Seriously, why even pay for a movie ticket if you are just going to surf the net on a fancy-pants phone? It doesn't matter how many manners have been thrown out the window in the current Movie Age, one thing is always certain, we love movies. We even love bad movies, but a really good movie makes that magical feeling so much better. Doesn't it?

As some of us may have noticed, The Hunger Games has become a world wide hit. Movie magic. The young adult novel that the movie was based on has been on my radar for awhile, however I have never read any books from the trilogy. (Truth be told I'm behind on my magazines and I'm still trying to finish Breaking Dawn. It will happen, I'm sure of it.) Many people told me that the Hunger Games story and characters were fantastic. I had no reason to doubt that because I love when a story features a main character that is a powerful female not stuck in a rut trying to be sexy or finding herself tied to the train tracks. (Speaking from some experience, being tied up to something and waiting to be rescued is not what it is cracked up to be.)

Needless to say I was looking forward to seeing the movie, which is what I did this past weekend. I must say the movie was a fun adventure. Everyone who has not seen this movie should run along and see it as quickly as possible. Go to the matinee or a local theater. Ticket prices are usually more affordable that way. My local theater charges $2.75 a ticket. I try not to pay attention to what is on the theater floor, but whatever. Times are tough and $2.75 works well for me.

Why should folks see this movie? I've heard and read many people crying out, "I can't bear to see a movie where kids are out killing other kids! That is weird!" Or, "My children must be shielded from the monstrosity of a young adult novel." First of all the evening news is scarier than what goes on in this movie, alright folks? Also the funny thing about grown ups freaking out about kids seeing this moive is that, more than likely, the kids have already read the book. Of course use judgement though, the movie does have a PG-13 rating. So obviously a four year old may be too young. Then again I have seen a family bring their six year old twins and newborn to the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, so figure out what works best for you and your family.

This movie draws the viewer in with a world that is vivid even at its most lowest depths of despair. I found myself liking every character, even the 'villains' of the story. As a movie-goer the biggest thing I need is to feel drawn into the world. I end up caring about the characters as a result. For those who have no clue the basic plot is simple. The Capitol is a super rich and powerful city that controls these 12 Districts that make up what used to be North America. In order to appease the Capitol there are the Hunger Games. A girl and boy from each District offer up their lives to fight in a competition. The person who survives gets a lot of viddles and a huge party for their District. The game is also televised like a reality show and draws quite a large viewership. Mini-spoiler alert, not all the kids are thrilled to be hunting each other. The story is much more complex than everyone trying to kill one another. There are team ups and other various surprises along the way.   

With a great deal of action fast storytelling, there is also social commentary to be had throughout this movie as well. In other words you don't feel completely mindless as you watch. There is the topic of the rich and the poor and the scary things that can happen when power and wealth combine. Or is it that they have always gone hand in hand? Reality television is tackled as well, what with the realization that people really will watch other human beings do just about anything as long as it is just a show. I also feel like the storyline closely resembles that of She-Ra. Yes, She-Ra. Let me explain:

The Hunger Games has a Glimmer- Leven Rambin (yes, All My Children's Lily Montgomery) plays Glimmer, one of the tributes in the Games. Now this Glimmer is a bee-with-an-itch and not the same kind pink haired princess from the She-Ra cartoon, but it is nice to see the name Glimmer being used in a movie. I am sure Suzanne Collins had any number of reasons to name a character Glimmer in her book, however I can't help but wonder if maybe the author was possibly a fan of She-Ra? How fun would that be?

There is a lot of oppression- A controlling super power that rules the land by fear and other coercive methods? Are we talking about the Capitol or the Horde? There are some minor similarities between the Capitol's ruling President Snow and the villainous Horde on Etheria. For fans who like their heroes living in an oppressed world with the bigger theme of one day toppling the powers-that-be, than the Hunger Games, and She-Ra, are perfect.

One strong heroine- The Hunger Games has Katniss (played by the amazing Jennifer Lawrence) running around saving the guy and trying to help people survive in a crazy world while Princess of Power has She-Ra, who also runs around saving the guy and trying to help people survive in a crazy world. The only difference is that Katniss prefers a bow and arrow (the weapon, not the man and horse) while She-Ra prefers a sword. Either way let's cheer on the wonderful (and highly wanted) idea of more movies featuring a strong heroine in the main role kicking total butt.

If this is a movie that does not interest you, I highly urge you to give it a shot. The subject matter may sound bleak and morbid, but it is not as awful as it sounds. The movie is a great film, much better than most of the stuff out on screens right now. Of course I'm a big dorkette so it only makes sense that I would like it. Plus I am really growing tired of mopey girls in love with vampires. It is always refreshing for something new. So check out The Hunger Games. The odds will totally be in your favor. Seriously, a poker dealer in Vegas told me so.    

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