Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Something for Everyone

I know I'm not the only one who is ridiculously pumped to watch The Hunger Games! Squire and I read the trilogy together. And because we were so enthralled by the dystopian thriller, we decided to pre-purchase the second set of full-priced movie tickets we have ever purchased (the first being tickets to see Avatar). More than full-price even - Squire and I purchased our IMAX tickets and will be seeing the movie tomorrow afternoon. *Squeal!* You can watch the trailer of the movie at this link.

Real or not real?
Image credit: WeeLittlePiggy on flikr
Because I have another 24 hours to kill until the event, and to get into the spirit of the movie, I decided to write a blog post for all my fellow Hunger Games trilogy lovers. The Hunger Games books offer something for most everyone. If you haven't read them yet and don't want them spoiled, then do not read this post - it assumes an audience that knows the full story line of all three books.

*****Warning: SPOILERS ABOUND IN THIS POST*****

Feminists: Katniss is a strong, dominant female character. I find it interesting that she ultimately chooses the less-dominant more traditionally feminine Peeta over the more traditionally male and violent Gale as her lover. I think it's fair to say modern-day feminism more often than not seeks dominance over (not equality) with their male counterparts. Also, when Katniss is chosen as the face of the rebellion as the Mockingjay, the overly-sexy version of Katniss is dismissed for the more authentic unscripted Katniss.

Republic-lovers: At the end of the trilogy, Katniss makes the choice to use her one arrow to surprisingly kill Pres.Coin instead of Pres.Snow. This to me was the ultimate political statement against people who assume power by taking advantage of other's desperation vs. allowing people to entrust power to public servants with their votes.

Greenies: Those who believe in global warming, waning resources, overpopulation and the beauty and value of being one with nature will find a lot to love in these books. "Warming"  as well as well as other environmentally-influenced natural disasters set the stage of the story.

Politically conservative folk: Yes. Libertarians, Republicans, and Tea Partiers can all find common ground in one of the overarching themes of the novel - that big government really gets in the way. Even in District 13 where there is enough for everyone, the over-regulation is creepy and prison-like. It is not viewed as the best alternative.

America-haters: One interpretation of the novel is that America represents the greedy, spoiled, frivolous capitol and all the other districts represent the rest of the world.  The blood-thirsty, over-entertained capitol members are shallow and uneducated about the difficulties that the members of their neighboring districts face. They hold up their hunger games winners (symbolic of military vets?) as heroes and celebrities.

Reality show junkies: this whole story is like a reality show within the framework of a larger reality show. Whether in the arena or out of the arena, the hunger games are on.

Capitalists: Those who appreciate free (and black) markets find value in seeing the Hob as a necessary entity to the survival of district 12 residents.  At one point when the hob is shut down, and in other districts where no free market of any kind exists, the people do not fare very well . . . Anti-SOPA/PIPA folk, you know what I'm talking about - we don't let anyone mess with our Craigslist!

Romance and Love Triangle Fans: Bring on the Gale vs. Peeta controversy! Haha. Kisses and a few intimate and heart-warming exchanges keep the twitter-pated teen girl in us all wanting for more.

People who like action/suspense: You don't get more suspense than watching teenage kids fight to the death.

People who enjoy a few good archetypal characters: The obviously evil and sinister dictator guy you love to hate, the subtley power hungry lady, the prostitute with a good heart, the drunkard with dark sad secrets, the quirky side characters who are predictable and loveable despite their obvious flaws - they are all there.

Marxists: Communists and Occupy Wall streeters alike will find joy in the dismantling of the those in power. The struggle between those who have and those who have not is constant throughout the trilogy.

People who love family, and other conservative values such as self-reliance, thriftiness, and the power of the individual: Yes, in the sacrifice Katniss makes when she offers herself as tribute to save her sister Prim, we see the power of loving family ties, as what is most important. Those who develop skills (such as hunting in the woods), how to treat wounds, how to live on less - are the best off in assimilating to District 13's bare bones living approach, in the games, and in general.

Mind-game Lovers: Post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations, brain-washing, crazy people - all abound.

Moral Relativists: You people who believe there is no absolute truth - you'll have a hayday with this one. The story presents so many crazy situations that flip conventional wisom on its head. For example: prostitution is seen as an acceptable moral act of love (Finnick), breaking laws/illegal trading are championed, some killing is viewed as victorious (or at least necessary), and so on. And these are not entirely related but I'm going to throw these people in with the moral relativists - fans of Macchiavelli's The Prince: ends justify the means people - yes. The horrific actions of the main characters are often found to be justified - if not by the actual characters, then by the readers for sure. Because who would argue that Katniss or Peeta are not moral people at the end of the trilogy - even considering all their kills, plotting, etc?

Fashionistas - coloring skin, dying hair, body disfigurement, crazy and elaborate costuming, the fashion knows no ends . . . The detailed descriptions of the costumes Cinna designs for Katniss and Peeta are filled with tenderness and appreciation of the power of a "look."

Medical buffs: The ways the people physically struggle or die is quite varied in these books. While reading, Squire often noted that "Katniss needs X, or that is a symptom of X, and etc."

Wilderness Survivors: people interested in intense survival skills - like which plants to eat, how to tap water from a tree, how to hunt, fish, trap, how to camouflage, stay warm, etc. will see their "What if . . ." skills tested as they read.

People who love a really good story. With so many angles and ways to view this story - isn't it obvious it's a good one?! Ambivalence is beautiful. So is this violent, crazy, dystopian trilogy. I can't wait to see how the vision in my head compares with what I see on the big screen tomorrow.

Tell me, did I miss any groups of people who might like these books/movie(s)?!

2 comments:

  1. Cant wait to see it. We are going tonight. I read the books in the last couple weeks and loved them all.

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  2. You missed Fantasy lovers! While most of it is set in the real word, the muttations are pretty sci-fi and down-right weird if you ask me. The third book got pretty weird and fantastical. But, I loved the series. Look forward to seeing it... sometime.

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