Victoria and I went to see The Hunger Games today. As in, we actually left the house and went to a theater. I didn’t know much about The Hunger Games, so went into it with an open mind. It didn’t have to live up to my expectations from the book because I’ve never read the book. So there. I just lost my Hunger Games virginity. And I need a cigarette.
Will I be joining the cult? Sorry, folks. Probably not. But I thought it was a good movie. It held a special interest for me because of where it was filmed, though, and that gave it a cool factor that’s probably hard for me to describe to other people. I’m having a hard time separating the movie we just watched from the places where it was filmed, and that makes an objective summation difficult.
Parts of The Hunger Games were filmed in Shelby, North Carolina, which is just next door from where I grew up in the city of Kings Mountain. Some of it was filmed near Charlotte. Some up around Asheville. When you see the mountains in the movie, you’re seeing the Blue Ridge. In short, it was filmed in all my old stomping grounds. The movie was filmed entirely in North Carolina, and, as such, it felt a bit like a love letter from home to me. When they’re in the woods, they could have been in the Kings Mountain Battleground state park. That affected me in ways that I never expected.
So… can I honestly critique this movie?
I liked it. It was well worth the price of admission. My attention never wavered. I’ll admit that I’m a little mystified that it’s become some kind of cultural landmark, but there’s nothing inherently offensive about The Hunger Games. The main character is a strong girl who seemed to have her head on straight. Maybe if I had any reservations about Katnis, it was only that she didn’t have any apparent flaws. I seem to prefer my heroes a little damaged.
I didn’t walk away from the movie feeling like I needed a bath because I’d just squandered hours of my life that I’d never get back (like I did with the Twilight movies). Sadly, that’s become the standard for a good movie these days. Nothing is likely to blow me away. So it’s probably not fair of me to even write about The Hunger Games. Of course, being an old fart it also doesn’t help that I do have a lot to compare it to. I could help thinking about The Running Man while watching it. But that’s a minor quibble. If anything, I would have liked more background about what happened to society and why they were living under a big dome (beyond “we had a big war, bad things happened, and we survived and thrived”, anyway). That part actually wasn’t explained very well, either. Also, I was never really sure if all the Districts were under a dome, or just the combat area, though I’m pretty sure it was just the latter.
I don’t know. I liked the movie, but I wasn’t blown away by it. But I found myself unexpectedly emotional following the movie. That has a lot to do with the North Carolina aspect and fairly recent events, which I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that The Hunger Games resonated with me on a level that I didn’t expect, but that I’m fairly certain that had little to do with the movie itself and a lot to do with where it was filmed. As such, I guess a good, detailed summation of the movie isn’t possible.
But in the interest of a quick summation, I’ll say that I thought The Hunger Games was a good movie, but that it fell well short of the hype (in fairness, don’t all movies?). If you go into it expecting an amazing experience, you’ll be disappointed. If you go into it expecting a decent, entertaining movie, you’ll more than get your money’s worth. If you go into it expecting to see the mountains and woods of North Carolina, you’ll appreciate the movie in a way that most people never will. It was a win/win for me, and I got to hang out in a darkened theater with my favorite person in the whole world. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
I’ll give The Hunger Games 8 out of 10. But a point or two of that is courtesy of the state of North Carolina.
Appreciate your comments from growing up in the scenic beauty of the Carolinas. THG has some stunning natural imagery. From a woman’s perspective (being one), I have not seen what Jennifer Lawrence did in THG with this much of a pro-female script in my lifetime of many decades at the movies. It’s progress, even if not the ideal we’d love to see from film as art form. And the compassionate singing by one nearly grown women (Katniss) for another (Rue) as Katniss holds and comforts the dying Rue on screen may account for the repeat business at THG from young women. Emotionally powerful at so many levels.
We also have not seen before in film this much bravery of sisters on screen, as occurs in THG, where the bigger sister (Lawrence) is encouraging the littler sister, followed by a scene of heroic sisterly bravery to protect the littler sis from death-by-combat. Also Lawrence is acting with Oscar-caliber quality when she conveys an honest undercurrent of distaste and aversion at being culturally subjected to fashionista glamorizing for the reality TV inside the film, which she does only for survival purposes.
These seemed like very good things for a popular movie to convey in a film industry where girls and women have so few constructive role models.