Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stories in Focus: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

I recently watched the final movie installment of the "Hunger Games" trilogy, after having read all three books and watched the first three movies.  I think I read the first book, then watched the first movie, and then I read the second ("Catching Fire") and final ("Mockingjay") before watching the last three movies.  At the time, I believe that the books were free to borrow on Kindle to Amazon Prime members.

First off, I will say that I believe the books are much better, much more interesting, than the movie versions.  But also, I do not think these stories are very great.  They are somewhat mediocre, and I had the hope for something more that was not satisfied.  This is one of those works of fiction that I can't really seem to put into words what it was I didn't really like about it.  It is not horrible, but just leaves me feeling like I didn't get much out of it.  I thought it was worth reading, although I probably would've been better off not watching all the movies.  This is one of those books/movies that I watch simply because it is popular and I want to know what the big deal about it is.  At least I can say I gave it a shot and wasn't impressed.

But the story if of a dystopian future, where the citizens of Panem, are split into districts and are forced to send their children into an arena like competition where they have to kill each other off, to win the prize of food for their district.  It's a pretty gruesome concept, but I suspect that people like the books and films because they enjoy the gruesome violence instead of abhorring it.  It's cool to put a bunch of kids in an arena and have them kill each other off, and in different and exciting ways as well.  At least, that is the feeling I get out of it.  It reminds me of the game Mortal Kombat, where the best part of the game is to watch characters perform bloody vicious Fatalities where they rip off their limbs or cut them in half or crush their skulls or or set them on fire or whatnot.  Perhaps Hunger Games is criticizing violent competitions such as this, but I just have the suspicion that part of the fun and popularity of the series stems from the excitement of watching people killed in different ways.  I do hope that we never actually come to a point where games and competitions such as this are tolerated and enacted.  Let the Hunger Games serve as a warning to us and future generations such that we never actually enter an era where games such as the Hunger Games are thought to be fun or cool or entertaining.

Overall, it is worth reading.  It is less worth watching, except for the ability to have a visual presentation of the events. I think all the actors in the film versions do a good job, and the effects and everything can bring a little life to the story as it is translated from written novel to full blown motion picture.  Read it, watch it.  Let me know what you think of it, what it is about, and if you agree of disagree with some of my hypotheses about the usage of the violence in the story.  These kinds of stories are becoming very popular today, with franchises such as "Divergent", and "The Maze Runner" and I am sure there are more and will be more of these dystopian survival stories in the future.  Let me know if you are aware of any similar stories, especially if they are better than Hunger Games or other such stories.  I would love to read different takes on this kind of theme.


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