“The Hunger Games”



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:  “That’s different.”

Since the day was overcast and cool… drippy without the rain, I thought movie-going might be a good activity.

Here’s my take on a movie we’ve all heard so much about. I love Elizabeth Banks (you know, Jack Donaghy’s young 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 strong 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 critical junctures 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–the Who in Whoville, but lacking their 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 their blood-kill in the gladiatorial arenas of Rome. 

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

So, the combatants (the tributes) are steeled in preparation and undergo training for two weeks, and at the end of that period, the real ‘games’ commence, where 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 it had a “Lord of the Flies” theme. She regretted bringing her daughter.

Oh, I know there’ll be sequels—at least two (series is a trilogy.) 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 loved any Peter Sellers movies, all slapstick, and anything that’s on Masterpiece Theatre… even better if the actors delivered their lines with a British accent.  I can’t see that happening there, amidst all the carnage.

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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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