“Hunger Games” – A Submissive Political Meeage?

I have been having trouble today coming up with the words to express how appalled I am by the (political?) messages being delivered by the new movie, “Hunger Games,” to young people.

After the jump read the review I did finally write.

I just came from seeing “Hunger Games” and I am absolutely sick! I went into it not fully knowing the plot, but had a vague idea. As the film progressed I was already uneasy with a plot where the “Authority” (read: “government”) was requiring teenage children too kill each other in a reality TV show on steroids. The game show continued until there was only one winner. Keep in mind this story is targeted at teenagers.

The heroine of the story was a spunky lass who you knew would rise up against the Authority in the end. Except, she didn’t. When the “game” came down to just her and her boyfriend, rather than refuse to try to kill each other, their solution was to commit suicide. Just lie down and die, that was the message. It was only at the last second that the Authority stepped in and prevented it. Message: “you may live, but only because the government says so.” Then, when the heroine had the perfect opportunity to simply speak out against the policy (on live TV no less!) she opted not to do so and just went along.

The part that truly sickens me: this is all marketed to teenagers. The messages being sent to them: “It is okay to kill other kids.” “You cannot stand up for yourself against the government.” “You live, only to fulfill the needs of the government.” “If you can’t fit in, you might as kill yourself.” REALLY?!?

I realize this is the first of a trilogy and at some point, someone will likely stand up to the Authority. But there was no hint of it in this movie. I stopped in the bookstore afterwards, and read the last chapter of the book; no hint of hope there, either.

I hope I have managed to put into words how insidious I find this movie, especially knowing that it is directed at teens. If you have not seen this movie, don’t let them have your money! If you have not read the book, don’t let them have your money! Prove we DO have a voice, and (to quote Star Trek) resistance is not futile!

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. wade norris says:

    another take was that the movie was similar to the Occupy movement, with the mega-city representing the 1% and the other people of the country as the 99%.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    Having heard from someone who read all three books, there is a revolution, but its not as simple as ‘then everyone rose up and the good guys won’ but it asks more pointed questions about how our society values us (think reality TV and 1st world empire vs the developing world.)

    Either way, this author, (who is also accused of ripping this story off from a 1999 Japanese flick that was not released here because the Columbine shooting had just happened)

    has done something quite interesting,

    made enough of a statement film that we, here even on a political blog are talking about it.

    And as they say in Hollywood, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

  2. Obvious Alias says:

    But you assume it has to be done by force of arms for some reason.  Think about the Monk who burned himself to death in Saigon in 1963.  Do you think he wasn’t making a statement?  The characters knew they controlled their own lives, and it wasn’t up to the government to decide how to end them.

    I think it was a lot more powerful than you give it credit for.

  3. Libertad 2.0 says:

    is really all about how Obama was born in Kenya.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    Or the TV series Mad Men.

    There’s interesting stories in complexity that is not wrapped up with a clear win for the good guys.

  5. MADCO says:

    Have you heard the “music”? It’s all about sex and you can barely understand the words.

    And the hair!

    Youth is wasted on the wrong people.

  6. sxp151 says:

    is that so many ostensible adults read it. Same with Twilight and Harry Potter. When the fuck did all the literate people I respect regress to preteens?

  7. nancycronk says:

    at the Superbowl, yet allows children to watch violence (and even encourages) it, reminds me just how spiritually bankrupt we have become as a people. There is so much work to do.

  8. Tom says:

     yesterday and I had mixed feelings. The threatened suicide actually played to me as a risky but quite savvy gaming of the system. In fact, much of the movie dealt with determining precisely how much shit you have to begrudgingly eat in order to accommodate the truly powerful. It was definitely not an uplifting movie for me. Every time a character compromised his or her values I thought “oh you’re definitely dead now, sell out.”

    It’s a too-real depiction of life for the powerless.

    At heart, The Hunger Games has a strong anti-authoritarian message but it might be too subtle for the kids.  

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