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The Hunger Games: Starving for Real Meaning
By Rob Wiese, Contributing Writer
The original HUNGER GAMES story was written by Suzanne Collins. It was a “young adult” novel that achieved great success in the print market and wide popularity among North American and European readers. As the book was turned into a movie, it has recently just crossed the $400 million mark for box office sales in North America. This ranks the movie as the 14th highest grossing film of all time. Even more so, it has grossed $650 million worldwide.
Gollywood is now working on the sequel subtitled CATCHING FIRE, but the creators will be making use of the IMAX cameras. This will include the extremely high-resolution picture quality as well as designing the audio for the IMAX theater acoustics. The details from corner to corner of the theater screen will be spectacular and immersive for the audience.
But, just because you have flashy lights, pleasant sound effects, and high-resolution computer graphics that could make the spunkiest squirrel faint from an overdose of shock and awe doesn’t mean your movie will be great. I think one great example of shock and awe is James Cameron’s AVATAR. Despite all the computer-enhanced technology, the story lacked any virtuous meaning and pushed an environmentalist agenda, with characters that were as shallow as a puddle of water.
Having access to great equipment helps to make a movie look good, but that’s all it does. It appears to be good, but if your characters are shallow and your plot is cliché and oversimplified, no amount of shock or awe can add value to the story. An illusion’s purpose is to trick your perceptions of reality or cover up the truth underneath. Dragon-esque creatures flying through floating islands or characters walking through a city with people dressed in the most extravagant garb and colors may be fun to look at, but they cannot cover up the secular, humanist reality being presented to the audience.
As far as the first HUNGER GAMES goes, the excessive violence and slight romanticism with a covert secular humanist ideology hardly passes the acceptability for mature audiences. Even more so, it can promote certain false views of reality and desensitize children and teenagers, and even some adults, to violent acts. Most likely, with the upcoming movie still a year away, the ideology or world created by Suzanne Collins is almost certainly not going to shift in a good direction with a new director and new equipment. While I can’t blame the filmmakers for choosing to keep the book’s vision, maybe they should’ve thought twice before taking on the project and consider what type of worldview they were presenting to the public.
The HUNGER GAMES sequel is likely to bring moviegoers more of the same — more violent murders, more wild outfits, and more cross-dressing feminine men in the dystopian world that is Panem.
When it does, please check back with movieguide.org before you subject your family or children to HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.