Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are you planning to see The Hunger Games?

The Hunger Games is the only blockbuster I've been excited about for ages. It has a female heroine who isn't motivated by lust, husband hunting or shopping sprees. It's set in an America so far in the future that there are only faint reminders of how life used to be. These novels are Aldous Huxley meets Mortal Kombat with a little twist of Dolly Parton thrown in for good measure.

Katniss Everdeen is a simple girl from the what used to be Appalachia who gets sucked into The Hunger Games. This vicious event is held every year where tributes from each district go into an arena gladiator style to murder each other for the amusement of the public. But more than that, the games are a symbol of the ultimate and unquestionable power of the capital. Katniss is simply a pawn in the game at first, but nothing seems to play out according to plan as she follows her instincts for self preservation and begins to discover her own power.

This book is aimed at a teenage audience and so Katniss' resentment at being controlled by others, her confusion, and self discovery make perfect sense. Sometimes I found myself wishing for a heroine more certain, more willing to trust her instincts. But what seventeen year old is?

Though the books have flaws (perhaps mainly because they are intended for a person younger than myself), I like how they tell a story about a girl trying to do the right thing in circumstances that are far from black and white. It feels like a great metaphor for the world we live in now; one that is complex and confusing but still full of possibility for new and more complete ways of living. (Is it that all my favorite books & films seek to explore the balance between technology, human potential and spirituality, or is it that I find that metaphor in everything I read and see? Most likely a little of both!)

Have you read the books? What did you think? I'm working my way through the last one right now and can't wait to see the film this weekend.

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