The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Hunger Games’ entertains dangerously

“The Hunger Games” depicts a society where 12 districts are controlled by a central Capitol. The people of the Capitol live in an abundance of wealth while the people of the districts suffer from starvation, squalid conditions and the existence of a terrifying annual ritual.

This ritual, which gives its name to the movie, is predicated upon a simple premise: since the people of the twelve districts once fomented a rebellion in the past, as payment, they must now offer one male and one female (called tributes) to take part in a fight-to-the-death game of survival. The tributes must be between the ages of 12 and 18. Only one will come out alive.

I became more and more appalled as the film progressed. In one extremely gruesome scene lasting almost five minutes, the tributes slaughtered each other trying to get their hands on weapons while others ran to find shelter. A tangled mass of kids slightly younger than me laid strewn, blood staining the grass.

I watched further as some of the tributes began to joke about killing others, mock the idea of mercy, and work up to a savage rage. This was my entertainment? This was my idea of enjoying a free evening with my family?

To be fair, there is much more to the movie, and to the story, than I just described. First, some credits to the film. Simply put, the movie is made very well. The characters, dialogue, action and screenplay are breathtaking.

Not having read any of the books, I sat glued to my seat along with the rest of the cinema hall. The movie seemed to command control over everyone’s senses.

The audience would utter a collective gasp, respond to almost every turn of movie and not once seem to get bored. I cannot remember a time when I was so absolutely absorbed into what I was watching. Nor can I remember a time when a single movie, or the storyline behind it, has made me so distressed.

Like the film, elements of the story are equally profound. The themes of sacrifice, subjugation, love, loyalty, madness, fear and hope are explored almost throughout the film, and there are a few extremely touching scenes that evoke powerful emotions, scenes where a select few of the tributes transcend the barbarity of the games and choose to help each other.

Yet when I left the theater, all I could think about was the premise, the killing, the face of each child attempting to brave the inconceivable.

The film is most popular among teenagers and young adults. After all, the movie possesses all the traits of a blockbuster: epic music, an unforgettable cast, a chilling storyline and ultimately, the promise of unyielding hope.

In fact, the message of the film is not what bothered me. It was clear from watching that killing and subjugating others were exposed as heinous crimes.

Moreover, people who have read the books attest that it is softer in print, more profound, and comes across as much less brutal.

It is ultimately less about the hunger games and more about the process of initiating change and fighting barbarity with love, kindness, and empathy. Clearly, the story itself is not to blame here – masterfully written, and full of substance, it is a superb novel like any other.

The problem is that the message of the story is pushed aside by images of kids killing each other, by how absolutely twisted it is that the very age group going to see the movie most is the same age group displayed fighting to the death on screen.

What bothers me is that millions of teenagers will go see this movie and come out singing its praise-a film where what is seen first is the killing and the psychologically twisted plot.

Disturbingly, the premise is more powerful than the message. At some core, my conscience is just uneasy, harrowed, and disturbed that people will see this film for entertainment.

You may call me overly sentimental, mawkish, or point out to me that the purpose of the film is to discourage the very thing it displays, and you would be correct.

But my argument is not that Suzanne Collins should not have written the story, nor am I attacking the message of the novel.

What I am saying is that someone might easily misconstrue the message of the film. Watching this kind of film takes an incredible amount of maturity and yet young adults experiencing a phase of change and self-discovery are the primary audience.

Teenagers will go home after watching this movie, download the soundtrack, possibly re-read the books, talk about how the movie made their hearts stop at certain points.

Somewhere along the line, the powerful themes of love and hope will be mentioned, shadowed by how “great” the movie was, shadowed by the recommendation that “You should go see it too – it was awesome.”

Raamis is a freshman majoring in biology with minors in computer science and anthropology. 

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