I have to admit I had never heard of The Hunger Games before all the fuss was made about its film debut and being a Harry Potter fan I wasn't best pleased with all the talk of this franchise out shining Harry Potter, Twilight yeah fine but not Potter!
While I can't say I really enjoyed the filmed, I was entertained and I managed to grasp the storyline well without having read the books. The storyline is very inventive with elements of surrealism though I had expected it to be gorier then it was since the British press have been making alot of noise about the films child certificate rating; there was one scene I felt was a little upsetting though I do agree it was needed to convey the unsettling fictitious future created.
Not to give much away in terms of the storyline but the concept plays on classism with its dystopia future seeing the US divided into 13 states (or district); 12 of which are populated by the working class whom are all struggling to survive with the 13th state being the capital where the wealthy elite live. For entertainment purposes and to keep the working class spirit broken the ruling class holds the annual Hunger Games where one boy and one girl from each working class district must battle to the death in a controlled environment, the last boy or girl standing wins though what they get out of winning (apart from staying alive) is unclear, well to me anyway.
As farfetched as the story might sound it’s actually very close to our present reality, which is why I found the storyline very clever. With our current obsession with reality TV, we have become immune to seeing the desperation of both talented and untalented working class folk try to make their dreams of money, success and status come true on the various talent and reality shows such as Big Brother, X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, etc. Talented or not their desperation is what makes good TV, with their fate resting in the hands of the 'have it all' judges or the big TV executives. The perfect example of the obscurity of our realty TV obsession is that of the life and death of Jade Goody, who became a source of ridiculed entertainment one which she was compelled to obligate in the pursuit of money and status.
I'm told the author Suzanne Collins came up with the concept for the book while flicking through the TV, seeing people competing on American Idol on one channel then catching news footage of the Iraq war on another is what was said to spark the idea of an apocalyptic Roman gladiatorial fantasy future.
I was totally impressed with the satiric storyline, though I do wonder how much of this the book & films audience is absorbing. While I won't be jumping on the book band wagon anytime soon, I will definately await the next instalments of the film franchise; can't say it beats Harry Potter but it does blow Twilight out of the water!
- Karl Marx
- Chavs The Demonization Of The Working Class, Owen Jones