Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games
Carole Mallory


Review: Are The Poor Ready for The Hunger Games?

Posted: 05/ 9/2005 3:00 am

Rich, Poor, Republican, Democrat. What could happen to our world if we don't address poverty? TheHunger Games is fiction. Yes. Or maybe not. Do we have blinders on to the acute need for wealth to be redistributed? Are we choking our families and leaving our children to have to face up to a bleak future? Will Capitalism triumph over poverty and destroy us all?
The Hunger Games is about children left to fight for their lives in a post apocalyptic dystopian world. As ghetto children do today. We just don't talk much about them much less make movies about them.
Writer of this trilogy Suzanne Collins is the true star of this film. She wrote the novel, co- produced it and co-wrote the screenplay that is directed by Gary Ross. Ross also co-wrote the screenplay along with Billy Ray. Control was kept by this creative team and a winner was produced perhaps in part because of this micromanagement. Collins idea came from watching the Iraq War and its shock and awe campaign on TV and then switching to a reality show. She put both emotional experiences together, wrote a novel and voila The Hunger Games. Collins also lost her father in Vietnam.
The Hunger Games is set in the future. There has been an uprising, a World War of sorts, and the working class lost to the Capitol and its wealthy inhabitants.
The remaining dystopian society is divided into twelve districts and once a year the Capital conducts games. Teenage boys and girls from each district must fight for their lives on national television. (Shades of The Running Man ?)
Contestants are referred to as Tributes. This bloodbath is a metaphor for what we have coming into our homes nightly in the form of reality TV. Viewers enjoy watching these train wrecks because they make them feel better about themselves.
Katness Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has volunteered to play in these games because her younger sister's name was selected in the lottery. To protect her sister, Katness insists that she go to the Capitol instead. The Capitol is portrayed in all of it futuristic splendor and is reminiscent of the ancient customs and mores of Rome with all of its splendor and self-indulgence. Costumes are over the top. Every extra is coiffed and powdered in shades of red and blue face powder along with blue lipstick and sport butterfly motif false eye lashes while gigantic hair pieces adorn all.
Jennifer Lawrence is refreshing, a heavy duty talent and carries this film like an Olympic champion going for the gold. She pole vaults over all of the men with the grace of a new born star. To win the game and to stay alive, her love interest becomes Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), but her true love is Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hamsworth) who remains in the 12th district while she battles for her life and for enough food for a year to feed her poverty stricken district, reminiscent of a coal mining town in Appalachia. Hawthorne and other townsfolk watch Katness try to overcome terror on a series of jumbotrons in the town's square as do citizens of the Capitol who watch on giant TV screens in every nook and cranny. Novelist Collins was also motivated by ancient Rome, its gladiators and its coliseum.
With blue hair Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) is both sinister and amusing as the MC for the games, and Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) plays the self-indulgent Marie Antoinette-type-hostess of the Capitol. Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) gives one of his driving performances, never once delivering a false moment and plays a sponsor who aids the Tributes while in battle. Overseeing all is President Snow played by Donald Sutherland with condescending aplumb.
At a press screening the audience applauded in spots and at the end which, of course, is a set up for a sequel.
Harry Potter. Bye. Bye. Hello, Katness Aberdeen. Are you ready for this media onslaught? Get a big bag of popcorn and pig out because The Hunger Games--that transcends all generations--is long and well worth every morsel.

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