Odds are good "The Hunger Games" will rule the world
What's it about? Post-apocalyptic District 12 in the country of Panem is home to Katniss Everdeen, an impoverished teenaged girl who makes the ultimate sacrifice, putting her life in danger for the fun and amusement of the rich and swellthy.
Who's in it? Jennifer Lawrence, an actress who won't be sweating rent for a few years, Woody Harrelson in yet another scene-stealing role, Donald Sutherland as the understated baddie and Thor's less-than-charismatic brother, Liam Hemsworth.
Okay, the hype is over, the Hunger Games has crossed our collective consciousness and now it's time to see what all the brouhaha is about. I took in this much anticipated flick about a dystopian world where people who rage against the machine get a lesson on how not to question authority. By pitting teens against teens of different districts in a battle royale where only one of 24 will survive, the rulers ensure an organized and obeisant world, keeping their citizens hungry, tired, and devoid of a fighting spirit. Except for Katniss Everdeen. When her young sister is chosen as the female "tribute" of her district, Katniss jumps in unhesitatingly to take her place.
May the odds ever be in your favour
Along for the ride is a rather stunned Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the blond baker's boy who is nourishing a secret crush on our heroine. Ultimately, the games begin and Katniss has to figure out not only how to stay alive, but also how to not destroy her hometown friend in the vividly colourful and bizarre-looking Capitol City.
"May the odds ever been in your favour" is the tagline for the games, and as it turns out the gamble is huge for all concerned in Katniss' world; the jaded but slightly smitten mentor Haymitch Abernathy, Gale Hawthorne, the hometown friend eagerly watching from the sidelines, Prim, the little sister whose life could so easily have been snuffed. And of course little Rue (the charming young Amandla Stenberg) who quickly learns that Katniss is the only person who can save her from the other warring tributes. Even President Snow (Sutherland) desperately needs the status quo to be maintained along with his version of law and order, and he's not above manipulating events to ensure his Machiavelli moves remain intact.
Poverty, slavery, masochism, child labour, unrequited love, politics, you name it, it's in there.
I'm not a fan of this genre, as being a mother has meant that stories about children in peril usually have me running the other way, but sometimes the part of me that is 5% lemming means that I have to put my prejudices aside. Mind you I had to watch the violence between fingers in a few spots and several times I had to remind myself, "it's just a movie, it's just make-believe". Then again, sometimes it hits too close to home. Like in the (again?) rioting crowd that just happens to be predominately black, the main black character who is dispatched quickly, the other who is portrayed as vengeful/savage. Folks from fair-haired districts are treated better than their darker-haired counterparts and most glaringly, though scenes of Capitol City are splashed about the screen in all its technicolour glory, the lack of visible minorities is, well, visible.
There are several important themes that course throughout the film - poverty, isolation, class division, women's rights, slavery, young love, masochism, child labour, unrequited love, politics, racism, sexism, you name it, it's in there. Some of them were resolved, but others? We'll leave that to the inevitable sequel which is in the works. Along with a sequel to the sequel. And although the writer Suzanne Collins only wrote a trilogy, somehow there's a fourth movie on the horizon. Rest assured though, the odds are ever in your favour that all of them will be just as intriguing as the first.