The Hunger Games
Gary Ross's The Hunger Games is a highly watchable amalgamation of classic dystopian texts -- 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Wizard of Oz (?) among others -- that sets the child-in-peril trope front and center to uncertain effect, IMO. I'm not familiar with the source material -- Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name -- but expect that it develops the back story of the insurrection that resulted in the creation of the 12 districts from which two children are pulled every year to fight to the death in an elaborate war game. The children, a boy and a girl, are chosen in a lottery and shipped off to the Capital -- imagine the Emerald City without it's stylish sensibility -- to be schooled. The children -- some of them ringers -- are fawned over by garishly attired nabobs and trained in the fine art of evisceration. The film has several winning performances, most notably Jennifer Lawrence, a young bowwoman who volunteers for the Games when her little sister's number is called, and Woody Harrelson as her drunken mentor, whose job it is to make her a likable and bankable warrior. Despite the quality of the performance, inventive camera work and intriguing set design and costuming, this is still a pretty dismal and barbaric affair. I'm not a fan of the notion of turning animalized children onto each other as broadcast entertainment and don't understand the message I'm to take away from this film. It's entertaining enough, I suppose, but I left the theater sure the film wlll make a mint but I'm not certain if that's such a good thing.