Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hunger Games

I was able to watch The Hunger Games this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised. Based on the tweenage (sorry, 'Young Adult') novel of the same name, the main character is a teenager named Katniss who lives in the standard issue dystopian future. I won't even get into what this says about America's teenagers, that they all believe themselves to be living in an actual dystopia?

Give Obama another term and we'll get there, but for now, we're still tackling First World problems like finding designer jeans that fit.

Anyway, Katniss lives in a world in which the central province rules the outer thirteen colonies/provinces. These colonies rose up against the tyrannical central province years ago, but were defeated. As a celebration (and punishment) all the provinces must select and teenaged boy and girl to battle in the 'Hunger Games'. It's a televised, reality-show in which the teenaged contestants battle to the death.

I am so jaded a movie-goer that my reaction was: "Great -- so, 'The Running Man' with zits."

But I was wrong, the story was engaging, deadly serious and fun to watch. The acting was great as I found myself hoping some contestants would survive. Whereas 'The Running Man' was definitely tongue-in-cheek, 'Hunger Games' takes a somewhat more realistic and gritty approach. It was a long movie (over two hours) but moved along at such a nice clip that I didn't even register the time. It is saddled with teenage angstiness, but just barely. It cleverly takes the teenager's principal issue (everything from zits to clothing to social life is treated as a life-or-death situation) and makes it literally life-or-death.