Hollywood has managed to do it again. They have taken a hugely successful trilogy of novels and created a fixation amongst a youthful generation. The Hunger Games, based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, depicts a post-apocalyptic world in which different districts must stage fights to the death. These games are viewed by the rest of society, making it the ultimate in reality television. This is quite the social commentary on the current state of the entertainment industry and our world in general.
The Hunger Games enjoyed a marvelous weekend debut in the neighbourhood of $155 million, a rather lofty total. This has The Hunger Games poised to become one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. As word of mouth strikes, and as more people quickly finish reading the trilogy and head to the multiplex, The Hunger Games should continue to draw in massive crowds for a prolonged period.
The Hunger Games has all of the elements necessary to lure money out of the unsuspecting pockets of the public.
In today’s Internet driven society, violence is prevalent everywhere children and adults look. The video game industry thrives on creating games that allow people to take on a different role than they normally assume, and mayhem typically ensues. This complete lack of regard or remorse felt by the characters in the video games helps lead to this heightened desensitization.
The entertainment industry has created a sense of bloodlust, with sites like YouTube constantly broadcasting videos of fights and other violent accidents, such as the skateboarders that attempt to defy gravity and the immutable laws of physics, usually doing so crotch or face first. Our desensitized society enjoys watching other people‘s misery and suffering. This makes a movie like The Hunger Games right up their alley. The Hunger Games features many death matches, satiating the thirst for bloodletting that we have become accustomed to seeing.
*Novel to Movie
Driving people to the movies, especially young people, is often simple for Hollywood. The formula is simple; violence, sexual scenarios, alcohol and drug use, and coarse language. The angle taken in terms of The Hunger Games is that the violence is part of the plot, and that ‘at least kids are reading’. This justification is an unacceptable plea by parents that have neglected to involve literacy in the lives of their children.
The violence is heavy, and many children lack the maturity and intelligence to comprehend the irreparable damage. A positive image of aggression and violence is being presented to children. They like to read The Hunger Games due to the violence they have grown to know from the entertainment industry.
The notion of the hero in literature used to be someone like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, a noble gentleman fighting the unjust persecution of an innocent man. Atticus Finch was fighting what was wrong with society, showcasing the need to fix all that ails society. The Hunger Games is presenting a bleak outlook on what may go wrong with society. The heroine in the story lacks the unmitigated temerity of Atticus Finch. Naturally, children will choose The Hunger Games over To Kill a Mockingbird.
While The Hunger Games continues to pad the pockets of the upper echelon of the film industry, and that of the novelist, conflicting perspectives are looming. In recent weeks, the viral video Kony 2012 has brought fury to a nation’s conscience that is appalled by the youthful assassins of Uganda. The Hunger Games features youthful assassins fighting with the sole purpose of killing those that stand in their way. Society does not like the violence in Uganda, but loves it on the big screen. The Hunger Games is benefitting from a warped perspective on violence, which keeps it poised to become one of the all-time biggest blockbusters in cinematic history.
The fantasy worlds depicted in recent films have all shown to be financially lucrative. From the magical world of Harry Potter to the Lord of the Rings, and the vampire craze surrounding the Twilight films, Hollywood has figured out that the youth of today are willing to shell out their discretionary income in an attempt to get lost in a different world. Is this in some way a cry for help that is falling on deaf ears?
With movies that instill violence as a viable option, the youth of today are losing their innocence at too young of an age. They are sacrificing their purity, never to be recaptured. They are going straight from the world of princesses to post-apocalyptic murder. This corruption of morals is staggering, and parents need to be aware of what they are up against.
Violence has infiltrated the school system, much to the chagrin of society. It has been learned through the loss of their innocence. School shootings and the growing epidemic of cyber-bullying are detested by society, yet movies such as The Hunger Games show that only the strong shall survive. Children have no idea of how to behave because they are constantly given conflicting perspectives.
The media has access to children much more often than parents do, so parents must work that much harder in order to keep our children safe and secure while they are young and impressionable. They will have enough opportunity later in life to witness the horrific atrocities associated with the world. Until society sees a change in the acceptance of violence and rallies against it, movies like The Hunger Games will dominate the Silver Screen, and will become the biggest blockbusters known to cinema.