Dec 28 2011
An Unreality guest post by Thomas Fink.
Why I picked it: I just read the first two Hunger Games books and was hooked, despite them being a young adult-type series. I believe, like Thomas, that the movies have the potential to be badass. Also, this piece actually made me laugh out loud a fair amount, which is a sign of any well-done article.
When it comes to the current state of pop culture, I’m a cynical, close-minded ass. Even when I’m at my most apathetic, there’s only so much I can take of cookie-cutter sitcoms, dead-horse-beating Internet memes, soulless attention whores, and Pop-Tart space cats I still don’t really get.
There’s a point to this little rant, by the way. Cynical as I may be, I actively engage in the media on a daily basis, desperately searching for nuggets of awesome to quiet my fragile psyche. The Hunger Games movie, coming out this March, could be such a nugget. When I caught the teaser trailer and noticed the franchise gathering momentum, I was immediately compelled to investigate this hullaballoo.Fast-forward two weeks, and I’d already finished the trilogy. And I… I kind of liked it. In fact, I found myself identifying with not only Suzanne Collins’ well-developed characters, but also appreciated the subtle criticism behind Panem’s societal trends.
And there it is. If a jaded 20-something can get his version of excited about the biggest cultural phenomenon since Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Republican primaries combined, so can you. Here’s why.
1. Dudes Can Come for the Badassness…
In the post-apocalyptic world of Panem, 24 kids are picked each year to battle in “arenas” filled with poisonous flora, face-munching fauna, and state-of-the-art death traps—while literally the entire nation watches on TV. I know they’re aiming for a PG-13 rating here, but holy shit, guys! This flick could easily spring for a hard R if it wanted to. Why? Because most of the movie is (probably) about malnourished teens killing each other until they are dead, last-virgin-standing style.
“Revenge is a dish best served WITH AN ARROW TO THE THROAT.”
P.S. – At the risk of sounding sadistic, I’d keep right the hell up with those Kardashians if I knew one of them might succumb to giant hornets whose venom induces painful, violent, hallucinogenic seizures. WHICH TOTALLY HAPPENS to pitiable fools in the Hunger Games!
2. …And Chicks Will Stay for the Romance
Let me be clear: the Hunger Games is NOT Twilight. Spines get broken, rest assured, but that has everything to do with desperate, murderous adolescents—and nothing to do with telepathic fetuses. Nevertheless, Collins does weave an intricate love web between kids who face impossible choices on the regular. This occasionally becomes tiresome on paper, but I’m sure we can trust movie execs to accurately translate these relationships onto the big screen.
I sense a spinal injury coming on!
OK, back to the violence. After getting a visual blowski from the unfortunately named Rise of the Planet of the Apes over the summer (someone just give Andy Serkis a monkey Oscar already, please), I’m finally making peace with CGI in general. That being said, it should be interesting to see what Lionsgate does with its $100 million-dollar muttation budget. “Its what now?” you say. In Panem, “muttations” are “genetically altered animals” that the government uses mostly to “f*ck up people’s shit.” The first movie heralds the appearance of wolfish muttations that may or may not be spliced with human DNA. End result? How about 4-inch-long Ginsu claws, impeccable jumping abilities, and the haunting eyes of dead children? In MIND-BLOWING 3D?!
Seriously, I can’t wait to watch one of those mutts eat a damn kid.
4. Woody Harrelson Plays Haymitch, the drunk mentor
As a sarcastic alcoholic who suffers from annoying bouts of empathy, I thoroughly identify with the character of Haymitch. And while I would have wholeheartedly endorsed the casting of John C. Reilly, who was originally considered, Woody Harrelson has all the right stuff. Hell, he was a bartender on Cheers. And just check out Zombieland, where he kicks ass and chugs whiskey straight from the bottle at 75 mph because f*ck you, zombie police! Nobody’s owned a walking corpse so hard since Anna Nicole Smith challenged her husband to a breathing competition in 1995.
“An’ thenna said, ‘Whaddaya think? Zombie killa tha week?’”
5. Suzanne Collins is a Time Traveler and/or Sorceress
Well, probably not. But the dystopic Panem she imagines consists of an environmentally molested North America ruled by an iron-fisted totalitarian regime. Stay with me, now. Meanwhile, the vast majority (up to 99 percent, perhaps?) of the decimated population inhabit (or “occupy,” if you will) comparably destitute districts outside the capitol. But while people are hungry for change (zing!), they lack coordinated leadership to depose the status quo. Sound familiar? Well hang on to your britches, bitches, because Collins penned the first book back in 2008! Yet her allegorical commentary on government control, environmental abuse, and personal independence clearly apply to the here and now of America at large. (Coincidentally, what I had mistaken for whimsical escapism is actually closer to what Dr. Emmett Brown might call some “serious shit.”)
So yeah, pretty sure that broad’s a time traveler. Or she saw Running Man on Xanax.
“Ze odds ah nevva in my fayva!”
6. Filthy, Filthy Teenaged Sex
Ah, just kidding, buckaroos. Despite the growing market among college basketball coaches worldwide, Collins leaves nowhere-legal sex romps to the experts at MTV, HBO, and other acronymic entities. They’re going for a PG-13 rating, remember? Plus, it’s hardly common practice for movie studios to tamper with authors’ original, artistic visions (Ed. note: it is)…
“Oh hey, girl. Look at me, all sprawled out so spontaneously. What do you say we play a little ‘Call of Booty’ up in my cave tonight, hmm? Get it? Cause there’s a rebellio—oh, never mind.”
Actually, let’s just put a pin in that last one for now. Savvy?
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