The Hunger Games Phenomenon

John ArmstrongCulture, Film

Images-1I do not often get into popular cultural movements, whether they involve films or books. In the case of the new popular movie, "The Hunger Games," I decided to see what the fuss was all about and went to see this hugely successful film the day it opened in theaters nationally. I have to say I enjoyed it immensely. I would not recommend anyone 12 or under see it but I would recommend that teens and parents see it and discuss it. My own 14-year old granddaughter read the book and her parents and their daughter saw it. I applaud their parental action and response.

"The Hunger Games" has some ancient, powerful and futuristic themes in one two-hour plus movie. These themes ought to be addressed by every thinking person in our culture. Besides the fact that this film is simply entertaining (without showing violence and bloody gore) it does make death a central issue in the entire story. This, however, should not put you off. What should trouble you is this question: "Could a culture, even our culture,actually become like the one we see in this science-fiction film?" The answer is not only yes but the answer is historically affirmative as well since ancient themes run through this movie from start to finish. Ancient cultures have already been like what is portrayed in "The Hunger Games." They could revert to the idea of "scape goating" again if the wrong powers control our future. 

ImagesNormally I would write a review of a film like this one but my friend Fr. Robert Barron has provided as good a review of this film as any that I have read or seen. Watch his review but be forewarned — he does give away some of the story so this is your (personal) spoiler alert. Here is Fr. Barron's review at his site, Word on Fire.

Before you see "The Hunger Games" make sure you understand something about the film or you might regret seeing it. My guess is that many readers of this blog have seen it or will see it. I have you in mind as I write these words.