I finally saw the Hunger Games, in the dollar theatre. My sisters dragged me to it, they found it deeply moving, anti-death, etc.
I came out of it numb. I said it was stupid. That night I felt a bit angry. It was a bit hard to sleep. This morning, a quiet, dry, pain.
(1) There is no romance. Peeta is a pathetic little boy that the heroine smooches just to give him something to live for. He is willing to die for her from day one, but he seems just a bit…well, he has nothing to live for. He’s passive, because he’s already broken from day one. Of course girls care about him. Of course I want him to cheer up, and flings will (temporarily) do that, I suppose. But its treating cancer with aspirin….
(2) Why does the heroine–who breathes moral courage and defiance–so….passive?! Why does she go along…..why does everyone go along….even dear innocent little Rue goes along when she points to the mutant wasp nest….and when they blow up the food. It is all war, it is all meant to kill. Why do they all kill? Oh yes, self-defense and all this….but for heavens sake, it was all artificial, all fake and constrained, the sky itself was some kind of computerized screen….
After she leaves her normal Appalachian hometown, the only two moments that I actually felt human were when (1) Gale refuses to watch the games and stares up at the (real) sky in the wilderness, (2) District 11 rioted when the little girl was killed.
Of course they were forced, of course they felt hopeless, of course there appeared to be No Other Option. But….then you are already in hell. The human spirit is broken, there are no heroes. The only vague *heroism* we get is at the end when the heroine (finally) refuses to kill…but of course it has to be the sweet, depressed, pathetic little boy desperately in love with her asking her to shoot him. It was about as heroic as Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic deciding to let Kate Winslet float on the table while he froze to death in the water. I mean–what else was he going to do….kick her, screaming and yelling, into the water, paddle off on the table, and watch her freeze to death in betrayal and pain before his very eyes? And hormonal love was making everything foggy anyway. Heroic, yes….but barely so. Is that the only kind we have left?
Why couldn’t the heroine have tended to Peeta’s wounds BEFORE the Gamemaster announced that they could both come out alive? Why couldn’t she have put flowers on Fox Face’s body too–not just Rue? Why couldn’t she have refused to kill someone who deserved it—like maybe a critically injured Clove or Cato? Or give up her life for that nerdy boy from District 4, with the afro? Why couldn’t they just sit in the trees and sing their swan song, and refuse to be broken?
Where was the real heroism? The kind that insists on Beauty when all you can see on ugliness, that shouts in the dark that the Dawn will come again.
But instead, it was all death, death that won. A smidgen of heroism, and no redemption.