“The Hunger Games”


(Here’s the backdrop–lovely DuPont State Forest, out of Asheville, North Carolina.)

Wow!  A gut-wrenching ride that had me tied up in knots for two hours.  It didn’t help that much of this movie was shot right near Asheville in my beloved DuPont State Forest (see Biddy post on little dog riding a steed),  a natural wonderland that I’ll forever now link to ‘children killing children.’

OK…how’d I get to see this flick?  I hadn’t read the books (3 of them, to date,) but I’d heard a lot of buzz, and in my new role as self-appointed movie-critic, I determined hubby and I would go.  I’d also heard a young woman was the hero and I thought:  “Hmmm…  That’s different.”

Here’s my take on a movie we’ve all heard so much about. I love Elizabeth Banks (you know, Jack Donaghy’s much younger love/wife in 30 Rock) in the part of the demon-woman with the caked-on, comical make-up.  She half–reminded me of the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.”

As with most psychotic characters, she had a tic towards obsessive behavior.  Her pet peeve? Rudeness…She couldn’t abide it. She was continually telling her young charges (the ‘winners?” from District 12) to remember their manners (hysterical, considering.)

Yes, rudeness affected her sensibilities, while the murderous goings-on didn’t.

Then, there was Woody Harrelson as mentor who trained the two from District 12, in survival skills.  He sent support, in mini-helicopter “gifts,” as he worked the crowd for sponsors, convincing them to help the ‘young lovers,’ at a critical juncture in the game.

In the movie, he went from sloppy, disinterested alcoholic to powerful champion for their cause, and he was superb.

The city and its people (a futuristic Oz?) smacked of something right out of Disneyworld (think–Whoville, but without the Who’s childish innocence), for these city-dwellers, resplendent in multi-colored dress and hair, bedecked in bows and jewels, had a penchant for blood.

Yes, they were every bit akin to those who demanded blood-kill in the gladiatorial arenas of Rome.

The Hunger Games provided that:  They were an annual televised event, with representatives (two) from each of the surrounding districts. In retribution for their attempt to overthrow the ruling party, the rulers now demanded two of the young (ages 12-18) from surrounding districts, to fight in a contest where all, but one, would die.  The contestants were chosen by lot.

Combatants are steeled in preparation and trained for two weeks, and at the end of that period, the savaging begins, in earnest.

Each time another child-warrior falls victim, a Boom is sounded.

Our hero, Jennifer Lawrence, is really a heroine (this would be nice as nod for girl-power, if the topic weren’t so grisly.)  She’s an eagle-eye with a cross-bow, a hunter whose skill came from a need to provide for her family (her district was denied anything other than meager subsistence-level resources.)

And the scenes in the movie?  Shot right there in western North Carolina’s DuPont State Park, a forested woodlands with idyllic scenes of waterfalls and plush woodlands…

Upon leaving the movie, we met a woman accompanied by her 8 year old daughter.  She sheepishly asked:  “Did you know it was going to be that brutal?” I nodded “Yes,” for even though I hadn’t read the books, I knew the story line had a “Lord of the Flies” theme. She regretted bringing her daughter.

Oh, I know there’ll be sequels—at least two. It’s just that I won’t be going.

The real question is:  “Why did I go to see this one… in the first place?”

But I’m no judge (or critic)…after all, I love any old Peter Sellers movies, slapstick, and anything that’s on Masterpiece Theatre… even better if the actors deliver lines with a British accent…

However, in “The Hunger Games”…. even that wouldn’t have helped.

PS…This is a “3-pee-movie” meaning I had to leave 3 times to hit the Ladies’ Room (it was that tense.) Suggestion:  Don’t buy a drink or bring one in…You’ll be doing the same.

(Below is another shot of the idyllic arena I wish had never been used for the killing fields.)

And for the young who find these books and movie so compelling? “What’s the draw here?” “Isn’t life stressful enough?”

I guess I’m pretty simple:  I want my movies inane, thigh-slapping funny, or deeply touching. “Hunger Games” isn’t any of those.

But “What was your take on this movie that’s gotten so much attention?” “Did you find it compelling?” or “Did you wish you hadn’t seen it?”

…Comment buttons below.

PS…And if you haven’t seen the prior post, move on over to “Recent Posts” and click on “What I Learned from “The Hunger Games.” I did find one redeeming feature of this movie…But again, tell us what you think.

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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