#311 – Review: The Hunger Games

Like a seemingly large portion of the American public, I saw The Hunger Games this past weekend. I had finished the book earlier in the week so I was primed to see how Katniss Everdeen’s fight for survival translated to the silver screen.

I enjoyed the movie. I thought that it was well directed, the soundtrack was spectacular and Jennifer Lawrence carried the film with her strong portrayal of Katniss. I also enjoyed the political intrigue of the movie but my wife assured me those storylines are picked up in the second and third books.

Below are some reflections I had while watching the movie.

Entertaining Ourselves To Death

I really enjoyed the movie because of its ability to tell a story that wasn’t limited to Katniss’ thoughts and observations. One of the most powerful parts of the movie was its ability to show how the Hunger Games were viewed as entertainment by the ruling class. In the eyes of the Capitol’s citizens, the Hunger Games were as harmless and entertaining as a football game. Not only does this show their devaluation of human life, but it also shows the lengths to which they’ll go just to be entertained. I don’t think our society will end up in that dystopian of a future, but I do think we live in a society that seeks entertainment above all else. We want to be entertained and we want to feel pleasure, whether that comes from a television show, a drug or a fling. In light of that overarching attitude, we need to trust Jesus when he tells us that everything we need comes after first seeking God’s kingdom.

Injustice

Most people watching or reading The Hunger Games want to identify with the citizens in the districts. Unfortunately, for those of us living in the United States, we are more like the citizens in the Capitol than we’d like to admit. The affluence of the Capitol has allowed its residents to focus on their appearance and their entertainment. While citizens in the less affluent districts are forced to scrape by, often without even enough food to eat. The Hunger Games is a great allegory for the affluence of the United States compared to the poverty of other nations around the world. The injustice present in The Hunger Games is something that we can see around us if we’re willing to open our eyes. We may have been disgusted by the attitude and affluence of the Capitol, but God would want us to examine our own attitudes and seek justice where we can.

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 is a great passage of scripture about what it means to be a godly woman. I would be happy if the girls in our youth group used Proverbs 31 as a blueprint for how they wanted to live their lives. Since more of them have probably seen The Hunger Games than read Proverbs 31, I’ll settle for Katniss Everdeen. As stated above, Jennifer Lawrence gives an outstanding performance as Katniss. She communicates the strength, determination and compassion of the character. Girls need strong, positive role models and Katniss provides that. She may not be as godly as a Proverbs 31 woman but at least she’s not swooning over disco ball vampires.

I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, possibly even more than the book. A lot of my problems with the book had to do with teenage drama, most of which only occurred in Katniss’ head. I also liked the political intrigue of the movie, which might motivate me to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay sooner than I had planned.

The most important thing about the movie, though, can be summed up in a text I got from my friend Justin: “I’m gonna be that blue-haired guy for Halloween.”

What did you think about The Hunger Games?

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7 Responses to “#311 – Review: The Hunger Games”

  1. I’ve read (and didn’t really like) the book but haven’t seen the movie. Good review, sir. I like your ‘Entertaining Ourselves to Death’ header, there. That’s also the central theme of one my favorite novels ‘Infinite Jest’, though in that book it isn’t divided up into a class thing, rather no one is immune (which, at least within America, rings more true to me, generally). And that leads naturally into your second point which is also very well made.

    • It wasn’t a great film but, as entertaining movies go, it was pretty good. If we carry the allegory to the idea of entertaining ourselves to death, then we in America are the ones feeding our appetite for entertainment while others around the world are just trying to feed themselves.

  2. Haven’t seen the movie, but really enjoyed your review and it makes me want to do so. I really think the three themes you picked out are quite strong, too. Great post!

  3. I completely agree with you, my friend. Good points all around. I will say this for the rest of the series. The political intrigue gets better and Katniss’s inner monologue stays the same. So if you can endure more of the teen drama, the story is actually pretty good.

    I will make one complaint about the movie, though. Did they have to mount the camera on a paint mixer the entire time? I know shaky cam adds realism, but that seemed excessive to me! 🙂

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