Monday, March 26, 2012

Trashing The Hunger Games - A Defense

Hell hath no fury like a scorned 'Hunger Games' devotee - if you don't believe me, check my Twitter feed. It seems that handing the flick a very generous 'C-' didn't sit so well with folks that found the film to be "spectacular" or even "revolutionary". But here's the problem - it isn't. As I wrote in my review, 'The Hunger Games' is nothing more than 'The Running Man' meets 'Lord of the Flies' plus the love triangle from 'Twilight' - there's not a single original idea presented at any point of the film. Heck, many have accused of it of being a direct facsimile of 'Battle Royale', a Japanese film from 2000 that features kids killing one another in its own infinitely darker battle to death.

Now those points alone should be enough to warrant a dizzying dose of criticism against THG but my issues with the film go much further - it's flawed as a story. The book's author Suzanne Collins is a cop out - never once is Katniss faced with the moral dilemma of killing a combatant that isn't clearly defined as "evil". Collins creates caricatures of characters - the Careers are "bad guy/girl" stereotypes that were essentially swiped from 'The Karate Kid' (the Ralph Macchio original - of course). What challenge does offing one of these born killers create? What if Katniss were forced to kill Rue? The inner conflict of Katniss - fighting to return home to her little sis Prim - having to choose whether to end the life of a girl that's essentially her sibling. Now that's a true challenge.

Bottom line: expect more out of your movies. Don't accept rehash and non-challenging plots. Demand boldness, vision and resonance that far exceeds the banality found in 'The Hunger Games'.