Box-office hit The Hunger Games depicts the fight for freedom and dignity in a dystopian future.
One of the most popular dystopian novels in recent literature, The Hunger Games, was released this past weekend as a major motion picture. Critics are estimating the new hit could possibly generate more revenue than either Harry Potter or Twilight. The first weekend at the box office brought in $155 million, so I am willing to bet those estimates are correct. Suzanne Collins’ trilogy has captivated audiences of all ages, and the first movie is a surprisingly good adaptation of the book.
The Hunger Games is set in what we assume to be a future North America, now divided into 12 districts, known as Panem. These districts are ruled by the Capitol, where the Hunger Games—much like ancient Rome’s gladiatorial games—are held each year. One boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, are chosen at random from each district and then sent to the Capitol to fight to the death in a giant arena. Twenty-four “tributes” go in; only one can come out alive. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in the impoverished District 12. When her little sister, Primrose (Willow Shields), is chosen as the female tribute for their district, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Along with the male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss must learn what it takes to survive the Hunger Games.
Those worried parents who think this is just another popular-teenage-hormone-story-competing-with-the-Twilight-books-and-now-made-into-a-movie should consider watching the movie, or better yet, reading the book. Admittedly, stories about a bunch of teenagers killing each other for reality television did not appeal to me either at first, considering such stories can be found on television already (if not quite so literally). Not even the popular Katniss-Gale-Peeta love triangle attracted me.
However, I discovered a rather more crucial theme underlying the entirety of the film: the value and dignity of human life in the face of a tyrannical government. Don’t believe me? Read on.