I’m so late to this whole Hunger Games phenomenon that it doesn’t even matter. It came out last year, and I’m sure a million other reviewers watched it and either dug it for some reason or hated it for some other reason, and I didn’t read any of them or care about it all that much really. But it’s on Netflix now, and we didn’t have anything to do yesterday so we watched it. To get it out of the way – I didn’t totally hate it. It wasn’t great, but it was perfectly entertaining and it didn’t feel like a complete waste of time. (It was a little long. And I’m also a huge Battle Royale fan, so read into that what you want.) I had a couple of thoughts about it, and I pretty much had to get them out there, because otherwise they were just going to stew in my brain. It’s essentially me complaining about stuff, so strap in and fire up your nonsense detectors, because they’re gonna get a workout.
This was a book too, apparently, which I also didn’t read. So… maybe it answers some of these questions, I don’t know.
- Was this Earth? Because if this was Earth, what the hell?
OK, so there was this uprising against an oppressive regime 75 years before the events in the movie happened. I get that. But do you see the technology the Capital has? Do you see how destitute the Districts are? Are you kidding me? The Districts should be a fly speck to the Capital.
- Not that the Capital is in the right or anything. That they allow the Districts to exist in the state of poverty that they actually do is pretty screwed up. Human Rights 101 – if you’re insanely wealthy, and you have the tech to conjure whatever you want out of thin air, maybe do some food with those machines, right? Give it out to the people who need it. Maybe you won’t have a frickin rebellion on your hands. (OK, so maybe that’s not Human Rights 101 – it’s probably more a 300-level course.)
- More to the point of this whole rebellion, and the state of the – I dunno, world? – after it: So there’s this “peace,” right, that exists between the Capital and the Districts, because the Capital has forgiven the Districts in their infinite generosity. In order to “prevent another rebellion” (I paraphrase), they merely “reap” the Districts each year: one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are randomly chosen from each District to fight 22 other adolescents to the death. On television. And this keeps the peace intact … how exactly? If anything, this practice will promote rebellion, won’t it? The fact that it’s taken 75 years for the Districts to even start whispering about a rebellion is absolutely ludicrous.
- So really – is this Earth or not? Because if the world of The Hunger Games is as small as it’s portrayed, then I can see that the District inhabitants wouldn’t be super keen on getting around the electric fences that keep them rounded up. (Electric fences! With that technology? Really?!?! I’m surprised no one has dug underneath them.) There’d be nowhere to go. Maybe there are dragons or something outlandish beyond the borders of the narrative. But if this is Earth, there’s an entire rest of the planet, and I know I keep coming back to the tech, but it is simply so superior that there should be others out there with it and would therefore never allow this whole District thing to happen anyway.
- I am in absolute awe of the mindboggling shortsightedness of the Capital’s ideas to suppress rebellion. They are absolute morons. I can’t bridge the gap between their development of technology, their unbridled greed, and their pathetic fear that the Districts can do anything to them. You don’t let anyone get to that point – there are checks and balances within society, and before you level your examples of Hitler and whatever at me, you must understand that the tech exists and therefore everybody should be fine. This Capital comes off like the softest, whiniest bully ever, that did sort of horrible things but probably wouldn’t have the balls to do really horrible things. I wanted to jump up and down and scream. Why has no one taken any responsibility with these people?
- Oh my god, just make some FOOD already and give it to these people! There aren’t that many of them! Embrace them within your society!
Aaaaand, bulleted vitriol contained. Maybe it’s because I’m reading a book about the Serb cover-up in the Srebrenica massacre that I’m particularly incensed. The international community should never let anyone get away with that kind of terror, and it seems like the Capital, if it was an actual abominable institution rather than a simpering bunch of bullies, would have been shut down long ago. (That’s why I wonder if this is Earth, and if it’s not, well, this whole exercise was pretty useless.) But since the scale is much smaller – “Well, it’s only 23 people a year that they kill, it’s not like it’s in the thousands. They’re actually pretty kind for doing that. You should really thank them.” Hogwash. It’s state-sponsored murder. That’s what this movie (and probably the book) wants you to believe: That an entire society has let these buffoons get away with honest-to-god state-sponsored murder. For 75 years. Without a rebellion. And instead of preventing the original rebellion by sharing their tech, which they could have obviously and easily done, the Capital was like [in whiny Michael Showalter voice], “No. It’s mine.” Hunger Games, I call bullshit.