Hunger Games – Review
The much hyped movie “The Hunger Games” (2012) is based on the 2008 book by Suzanne Collins. My 15 year-old’s verdict is: “BEST FILM EVER!”
The 76th Annual Hunger games are, we are led to believe, the entertainment of the future. Here is game show hype with ultimate risks and rewards. Katniss Everdeen takes her young sister’s place and competes against other randomly selected contestants from other districts. Included among the contestants is also Peeta Mellark who will also compete for her affections. Most of this can be gleaned from the back of the DVD, but if you really want to spoil the plot for you why not read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunger_Games_(film)?
There are some reminiscences of Jim Carrey in “The Truman Show” (1998) which also featured a game show contestant who found his world manipulated from the outside in order to keep up ratings.
Christian bloggers have emphasised the themes of self-sacrifice and found echoes of cosmic battles and apocalyptic overtones. Whilst the author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, is a Roman Catholic she is on record indicating that there are no intended Christian themes in the book. This Christian content review is worth reading (http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/protecting_your_family/book-reviews/h/hunger-games.aspx).
There is much that can be said about this movie. It is a sensual (and refreshing relatively non-sexual) movie which should be just enjoyed!
My main reflection as a preacher and evangelistically minded pastor is the vision of the future contained in this movie.
The expectation of conflict and a final battle it seems is inherent in our human imaginings of the future.
There is realism in this plot, though. The future envisioned by the author is no utopia. It carefully observes the fallen human desire for constant entertainment and titillation, and the gentle mocking over the ends to which game show contestants will go for fame and fortune. There are outside forces bringing influence to the outcome of the games, but ultimately the cynical producers and fickle audience are not, apparently, able to destroy the heroism and sacrifice of the individual.
The future, apparently, is not the utopia which made up the theme of so many Hollywood movies of previous generation. Rather, despite the entertainment-orientation and cynicism of the audience, the power which makes the world of “The Hunger Games” go round is that self-determined love. There is an ideal, not of utopia, but the power romantic love.
This is a clever film, based on a well conceived book. It also reflects the modern age: true love is found, not in God, but rather is an ever elusive human-romantic love: an ideal for which even the most cynical person longs. But the Christian will want to say: this is too hope to much of any human love. Romantic love needs to be subservient to agape love and, for me, movies such as The Hunger Games actually make me marvel afresh at being loved sacrificially, fully and savingly in the Father, Son and Spirit. The greatest demonstration of self-sacricial love is in the PAST not in the FUTURE. As Paul says: Galatians 2:20 “…I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”