Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch The Hunger Games, the movie based on thefirst book in the wildly successful young adult book series. I confess, I have not read the books. Kudos to the author, Suzanne Collins, for the success of the novels and the movie. Bravo. Well done, but as I sat watching this film, I couldn’t help but wonder how much was being left out. The premise of the story is that one male and one female are selected from each of 12 Districts. Being chosen to participate in the “Games” is advertised by those in charge as being a privilege, but in actuality, it’s a death sentence for 23 players. These 24 young adults are placed in the wilderness (which is controlled by people sitting in a master control room) for a period of two weeks. They are to survive by outsmarting, stalking and killing each other because only one can be declared the winner. And it is a fight to the death. Kids ranging in age from what appears to be approximately 8-years old to perhaps age 18, are killing each other. Not only that, those putting on the “games” controlled the environment and often times placed the “players” into additional dangers. Now if that isn’t enough, those in control are televising the games to those in the districts. Every move of the players is scrutinized by strangers, friends and families. The sight of children being slain by others is portrayed in the ongoing program. Every evening announcements are made by way of cannon fire announce the numbers of dead per day.
I know the series was fabulously successful and garnered this movie, but as I sat there watching it I was horrified at the entire premise of it. I guess I’m sequestered from the violence of the world, but this movie left me aghast. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies, sort of.
But I find I’m asking myself questions, which perhaps are addressed in the book, such as why are those in charge keeping those in the districts imprisoned in those districts and why are they starving them? I guess I might have to read the book to find out, but honestly, I don’t know if I can bring myself to do that now that I have seen the movie. I’m sure the book would be more graphic in how the heroine sees the senseless deaths of these youngsters. What attracts a reader to the exposure of the violent nature of human kind. Do you think the portrayal of such violence has any influence on young adults?
Have any of you read the book or seen the movie? Was I the only one horrified by the premise? Do you think it would behoove me to read the novel? Please share your thoughts with me on this.