Wednesday, March 21, 2012

'Hungry' for an action heroine?

The current movie hoopla is all concentrated in one direction – ‘The Hunger Games.’

The movie – based on the first book of the ultra-popular trilogy written by Suzanne Collins – hits theaters on Friday.

This film is going to be a hit – that’s not even remotely in doubt. The only questioning surrounding the opening is exactly how much money it will ultimately make? I’m betting – especially given 80-degree temperatures and spring break – that ‘The Hunger Games’ could conceivably break some box office records.

Personally, I’m going to the midnight showing because I’m (pun intended) hungry for a good movie. I haven’t seen one in awhile.

The thing I love about ‘The Hunger Games’ is that it revolves around a strong heroine that not only makes her own decisions and tries to help others but doesn’t sit around and wait for some man to swoop in and save her. In other words, this is more ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ than ‘Twilight.’

The basic premise of ‘The Hunger Games’ is that each year, one girl and one boy tribute are chosen to travel to the capital and compete in a tournament to the death. Essentially, only one tribute survives and that one tribute is promised riches and food for their family for the rest of their lives. Since the majority of these kids come from impoverished cities where they have to struggle to feed their families – winning is a big deal.

The games themselves are a blood thirsty melee, with children as young as 12 being thrown into the mix. Not only are the games filmed and watched by everyone in the 12 districts surrounding the capital, but denizens of the districts can pool together money and send certain “gifts” to their tributes. The richer the district, the better chance their tribute has of surviving.

Essentially, at its heart, ‘The Hunger Games’ is a commentary on government and pop culture. The government in this case is predominantly communist, with the bulk of the money being controlled by a random few people while the bulk of the work is done by the masses.

At the center of ‘The Hunger Games’ is heroine Katniss Everdeen, the female District 12 tribute. Katniss (played by the talented Jennifer Lawrence) actually volunteers to be the female tribute when her beloved 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen – so right from the start Katniss endears herself to fans.

The male tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). Peeta is the son of a baker, and all most fans will know of him from the start is that he has a good heart.

Even though Peeta and Katniss are from the same district, ultimately they feel they cannot rely on each other because they will have to turn on each other at some point. After all, in the end there can be only one survivor.

I’ve heard some people who haven’t read the books claim that it looks like cheesy science fiction. This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are some characters decked out in some strange outfits – but this is essentially to illustrate the disconnect between the capital and the district residents.

Katniss is one of the great heroines of literature. Not only is she strong and smart, but she’s also someone that’s not willing to sacrifice her ideals in the process of a game that most probably will cause her death.

You realize pretty quickly in the books that Katniss has a certain personality disorder. It’s not that she has no self-esteem, it’s more like she has no self-awareness. This is a trait that Peeta not only notices and points out, but uses to his advantage.

When you juxtapose Katniss with someone like Bella Swan of ‘Twilight,’ the difference in character is startling. For her part, Bella has no redeeming qualities. She seems to inspire the love of two men for no apparent reason other than she’s hot. She’s not overly smart, clever, entertaining or charismatic. In fact, the only two character traits set out for Bella is that she is beautiful and clumsy.

Katniss, however, has a bevy of personality traits – not all of them good – but all of them are identifiable. Katniss, for example, would not go to bed for six months because a guy she was dating for two weeks dumped her. It’s not something that can happen in her reality.

I’ve heard some parents say they won’t let their kids go and see ‘The Hunger Games’ because it’s violent. That’s pretty funny if you ask me. Yes, ‘The Hunger Games’ is a movie about a fight to the death between teenagers. It’s also a movie about not losing your humanity in an inhumane world.

In the end, ‘The Hunger Games’ teaches a great lesson – to teenage girls especially. Basically, Katniss shows through actions and deeds that doing the right thing and just being yourself might not be the smartest thing you can do, but it is the right thing to do.

‘The Hunger Games’ is rated PG-13.

What do you think? Are you excited for ‘The Hunger Games’?


Blogger bluiz610 said...

Great article, Amanda!!

March 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM 

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