My first reaction to The Hunger Games (Spoilers)
Overall, I like the film. Lots to like. Other things to dislike. But I have this one maybe weird complaint.
Yesterday I came across the headline “Why I Won’t Bring My 8 Year Old to See The Hunger Games”. I didn’t read the article because I hadn’t seen the film yet and I wanted to before reading opinions about it. But because I have read the book series I thought to myself “Obviously!”. Today I saw the film and it’s less obvious.
I’m not saying the film is appropriate for eight year olds, because it’s not. But it’s the subject matter that is inappropriate more than the depiction of the subject matter in the film. It’s not violent enough. I get why that is — they wanted a PG-13 rating. That’s the profitable rating and the books are considered part of the Young Adult genre. But the violence is so produced that the impact is minimized. Almost to the point of disappearing. And then I end up relating not to the outlying districts and their heroine Katniss but to the brightly hued crowds of the Capitol who don’t comprehend what they are watching: children killing children for their entertainment. As a subtle meta message it’s absolutely brilliant but I wonder at the intent.
We don’t get to know any of the tributes outside of District 12. Twelve die immediately (in what they call a bloodbath and I call shaky camera movement) and nameless. That’s true to the source material but I wanted the bloodbath. Or if the statement is those deaths don’t matter (which is a fair interpretation) then I want the slower and later deaths to have more of a lasting effect.
Case in point: Rue. She gets the most characterization but it’s in the form of “Katniss likes her” (I really wanted to see her jumping from tree to tree). Her death is pretty, which I think would be perfect if the other deaths were ugly. But they’re all antiseptic. How did they make a movie in which 22 children are brutally murdered mostly by each other and it’s not shocking?
I think it shouldn’t matter if we know who the tributes are or not, their deaths should be disturbing. I don’t want gratuitous violence. But I want violence to actually mean something. It felt too much like a …game.5 notes