Full disclosure: I am a total "Hunger Games" newbie—I haven't read any of the books, and only had a vague notion of what it's about. Nonetheless, I just got back from seeing the new movie amid a good sized crowd on 42nd Street and here are a few impressions. Don't worry, I won't give away anything.
- For a blockbuster-y sci-fi teen fantasy, "Hunger Games" is fairly grim business. Life and death issues are dealt with in a snark free environment, for once. Any laughter heard was of the, why-aren't-there-any-laughs-in-this? nervous variety.
- Teenagers—adapt or die. The Man is only interested in your stamina and your animal ruthlessness plus, he has fixed the game against you. Young people are literally expendable. (If you wish to draw parallels to the current job market, I won't stop you.) The lesson is clear: If you hope to make it Out There in the metaphorical woods, the Old Ways and the Old Values will be the most useful. (Conservatives should like that part.) Not one character survives because of their texting or video gaming skills.
- The Media is scary. In the future, not only do the teenage participants have to battle each other to survive, they also have to compete in the pitiless arena of public opinion. The Powers That Be use media bread and circuses to babysit the spoiled sophisticates in the city and to consolidate control of the simple folks out in the country. Think imperial Rome as reality TV.
- Actor Jennifer Lawrence locks all this down as our infinitely resourceful heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Just as she did in that great movie "Winter's Bone," Lawrence is direct and smart and hard as nails. Anyone who can go stalking around in the woods AND wear a sparkly evening dress AND pull off both not only credibly but with gravitas?... Well, it just shouldn't be possible. "Everyone likes an underdog," says one TV producer character and Lawrence's Katniss is a beauty.
- On the whole? If Katniss, or Jennifer Lawrence for that matter, should ever run for political office, sign me up for the maximum donation. Stuff will get done.
So what did you think? Consider this a Hunger Games thread and may the odds, etc., etc……