My wife and I saw The Hunger Games recently. I had just read the novel and wanted a movie to poke fun at because I hadn’t done a mean-spirited review in a while. (Dammit all to hell and stuff.) So, like a serial killer in need of a fix, I eagerly stalked The Hunger Games with a club in my hand and a twinkle in my eye. Hey, I just wanted to make someone cry. Is that so wrong?
Oh, how I wanted to make someone cry…
Sadly, it was a good movie – dammit – though the first few minutes will probably throw someone who hasn’t read the book for a loop. Some reviewers claimed that only those who read the book will like the movie, and I began to wonder if my wife – who has never read The Hunger Games – would like it or think it was stupid after the first few minutes. I don’t know what she thought of the movie’s start, but we both liked it by the end. So nyah-nyah on those evil naysayers.
Basically, The Hunger Games is set in some future dystopia (oh goody!) called Panem, which is really part of North America. Panem is lead by the Capitol, where everyone’s a borderline cross-dresser with goofy eyebrows. Oh, and they have near Star Trek technology, too. Outside the Capitol are twelve districts, which appear to lag a few centuries behind the Capitol technologically speaking. Once upon a time, the districts rebelled against the Capitol and all of them wore a major ass-whipping for it. The Capitol’s evil President decided to create The Hunger Games as a “fuck you” to the districts. Note to other evil dictators of the future: this is not how you keep people from rebelling and gutting you like a mangy dog. But I digress.
The Capitol made the districts form a lottery, where one boy and one girl from each district must be chosen every year to fight to the death in the games. The Hunger Games are – of course – televised throughout the land. Only one of the tributes can win. Each year, the winner gets a mountain of cash and even their own little mansion. Their district is given extra food and resources by the Capitol for the remainder of that year as well. When you consider the level of poverty found in most of the districts, this could mean the survival of many families. Some districts train their tributes to fight in the games to improve their standard of living even though, technically, this isn’t allowed.
I won’t give away much of the story here, but I will tell you that, for me, the movie validated the book. Note that I had just read the first book when I set foot in the movie theater and I’m only a quarter of the way through the second. Yes, I’m a slow reader. But the movie made me realize that there were aspects of The Hunger Games I had missed on the first read.
The book felt like a young adult novel (which it is) told from the viewpoint of Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is only sixteen years old. It’s clear in the book that she didn’t quite get what was going on around her much of the time, or even that both Peeta and Gale loved her. As I read the book, this felt a little like one of those love triangles that are always plaguing urban fantasy novels (most of them seem to be written for chicks) where two dudes are always punching each other in the face over the story’s heroine and hottie-supreme.
Then I saw the movie and realized what I had missed. The thing is that Katniss – who is basically a practical, level-headed person from a district that almost lives in the Middle Ages – has to figure out how to kill and lie in order to keep herself alive and both the guys who love her alive. Yet in the process, she’s basically stabbing both them in the heart and screwing herself up as well. She’s also unsettling a nation and inadvertently leading it into another civil war (I presume) while trying to duck and weave her way through a masterclass of political intrigue.
Yet she’s just a kid who isn’t equipped for any of it. Poor, sad little waif…
Note that the star of The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence, is the same chick who played Mystique in X-Men: First Class. Sadly, she is less nude in this picture and remains clothed throughout. If you were hoping for another demonstration of her ample Smurf tits or whatever got you going from X-Men, you will be horribly disappointed. Yeah, Katniss was naked a bunch of times in the novel, but I guess some do-gooder at Hollywood thought the kids might be watching this one. What a jerk. You have been warned, my friends. Go in peace and drool no more. There’s always the next direct to video Species movie, so if Jennifer’s career hits the crapper soon … well, fingers crossed!
Now go see The Hunger Games quick before the theaters stop showing it in favor of some awful Adam Sandler movie!
Nobody wants that. Seriously. Go now and save us all!!