Hunger Games

Discussion of performing arts, including theatre, film, television, and music.
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Lalaith
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Post by Lalaith »

Well, you know, the Romans cheered while wild animals tore apart people, young and old. They lit Christians on fire to use as torches in their gardens. I won't even get into the atrocities of the Nazis. Native Americans bashed the heads of white people's infants on rocks. White people killed Native American children. The Middle Eastern people, including the Israelites at various points, put their infants alive into fire as a sacrifice to Molech.

I guess my point is that humans have and continue to do some unspeakable things to each other, including to their children.

I agree that, in this story, the idea seems weak, but it's not entirely implausible. We've become such a voyeuristic society. Who knows where that will end? I'd like to think it'd never get this far, but you never know. The government gets too much power. The people give up too much freedom. Add a brutal repression and poverty and hunger. ??? Fear is a powerful force.
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Post by axordil »

You know, people WANTED to be on Jackass. I think it's more plausible than we want to believe. Assume a Nazi-level propaganda machine and all sorts of unwholesome things become possible.
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Post by yovargas »

The idea that maybe, under some awful circumstances, some society might put together something as pointlessly cruel as these games does not, IMO, absolve the story for giving us essentially no reason for why any of this is happening. I felt like my experience with the movie was 2 hours of screaming to myself "But WHY!!?". :P
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River
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Post by River »

According to legend, in ancient Athens, every seven years (or nine years, depending on the source) seven of the best and brightest young men and seven of the most beautiful young women were sent to Crete to be fed to the Minotaur. This was done as tribute to the king, who won a war with Athens after the Athenians had his son killed. The practice ended when Theseus got himself made into a tribute and did the hero thing.

The premise to the Hunger Games is a riff on that, but instead of just being thrown into a Labyrinth to get eaten by a vile human/bull crossbreed they are thrown into an Arena and forced to compete in a vile gladiatorial games/reality show crossbreed. President Snow says they do this because hope is more powerful than fear and I am taking that to mean that the folks in Capitol understand that if they just line the kids up against a wall and shoot them, there's a greater chance for a repeat rebellion than if people can hold onto a thin, vaguish promise that one of their tributes might come home. In other words, by allowing a survivor to emerge, they are hoping to avoid the arrival of a Theseus who will do the hero thing.
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yovargas
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Post by yovargas »

River wrote:President Snow says they do this because hope is more powerful than fear and I am taking that to mean that the folks in Capitol understand that if they just line the kids up against a wall and shoot them, there's a greater chance for a repeat rebellion than if people can hold onto a thin, vaguish promise that one of their tributes might come home.
This was their only attempt at an explanation and I hated it. They don't offer them "hope" - they offer everybody despair and torture. That one of them doesn't also die doesn't change that. It doesn't make them look more generous, it makes them look more petty.
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Post by Holbytla »

The book is maybe 350 pages, and while it isn't extensive by any means, there is more insight and there is more of a feel for the background story and a connection. Maybe reading it would help you bridge the gap, but then again, maybe it wouldn't.
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Post by halplm »

yov, you're expressing a weakness that is fundamental to my eventual dislike of the books. There is no way that you could get to the state the society has reached at the beginning of the story.

If you start there, and follow what would come out of it, then a lot of it can be believed, but there is no way to get there. And in general, the amount of disbelief that you have to suspend totally got to me by the end of the books.

What really gets to me is how popular these books are. The story is not original, and the source material it takes from are almost always substantially better.

I did not regret reading the books, but I doubt I will ever read them again. The sad thing is, there is substantial potential for great stories, and some of the characters are excellent, but they don't behave consistently, which is supremely frustrating.

Here's some stuff I would say is similar, but far superior:
1984
Ender's Game
The Tripod series by John Christopher
Logan's Run


To be perfectly honest I think the author was watching Survivor and American Idol and decided to write about the two taken to their ultimate extremes and then belatedly tried to come up with a reason for it to exist.
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For the LONELY may you find LOVE
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Post by Pearly Di »

halplm wrote: Here's some stuff I would say is similar, but far superior:
1984
Ender's Game
The Tripod series by John Christopher
Logan's Run
Bad Wolf, the penultimate episode of Series 1 of the Nu Doctor Who (with Chris Ecclestone as Nine) also includes the same theme. 8)


I've not read the books and have yet to see the film, btw.
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yovargas
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Post by yovargas »

A little Lord of the Flies, too.
halplm wrote:To be perfectly honest I think the author was watching Survivor and American Idol and decided to write about the two taken to their ultimate extremes and then belatedly tried to come up with a reason for it to exist.
That was very much my thought as well.
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Post by Dave_LF »

My wife dragged me to this half against my will and...I actually enjoyed it. A lot. Movies mostly just annoy the heck out of me these days (the previews; oh God, the previews), but this one was ok. Albiet in a selfish sort of way--most of the fun came from thinking "what would I do in that situation?"

Edit after reading the rest of the thread: Yes, the premise is weak. I accepted it as survival horror rather than sci-fi or social commentary, and it worked fine that way.
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Post by halplm »

Pearly Di wrote:
halplm wrote: Here's some stuff I would say is similar, but far superior:
1984
Ender's Game
The Tripod series by John Christopher
Logan's Run
Bad Wolf, the penultimate episode of Series 1 of the Nu Doctor Who (with Chris Ecclestone as Nine) also includes the same theme. 8)


I've not read the books and have yet to see the film, btw.
Ha :), I considered putting "Any episode of Doctor Who" in my list, but that was a bit too broad :)

ETA: Indeed, it does fit into the Survival Horror genre, and it is not half bad in that respect. Indeed, if the first book was stand alone, I might have considered it excellent, although still problematic.

I still intend to see the movie, and hope to enjoy it. I said when I finished the books, "Well, they could make some excellent movies out of these if they just fix all the problems in the books."
For the TROUBLED may you find PEACE
For the DESPAIRING may you find HOPE
For the LONELY may you find LOVE
For the SKEPTICAL may you find FAITH
-Frances C. Arrillaga 1941-1995
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yovargas
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Post by yovargas »

Dave_LF wrote:Edit after reading the rest of the thread: Yes, the premise is weak. I accepted it as survival horror rather than sci-fi or social commentary, and it worked fine that way.
That's actually pretty good. If it was just some Saw-style sadist who liked watching teens suffer, I could actually have gotten into the drama of the "games" quite well, I think.
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I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
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Post by axordil »

But who doesn't enjoy watching teens suffer? And don't tell me other teens, they're the prime audience. Obviously. :D
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Post by Frelga »

Lol, Ax.

Somehow, I never had any trouble believing the premise.
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Maria
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Post by Maria »

I had no trouble accepting the premise, but loathed it too much to appreciate the story. I felt dirty listening to the reader go on and on, as if my hearing the tale included me in the audience of that world. That I was supporting the horrible, horrible system by my participation as an audience member.

If we hadn't been on a long trip to Colorado and back, with nothing else to listen to, I might have quit. As it was, we stuck to the end even after the trip was over hoping something would happen to make the whole thing worthwhile.

I can't say it really did.
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Post by Dave_LF »

yovargas wrote:
Dave_LF wrote:Edit after reading the rest of the thread: Yes, the premise is weak. I accepted it as survival horror rather than sci-fi or social commentary, and it worked fine that way.
That's actually pretty good. If it was just some Saw-style sadist who liked watching teens suffer, I could actually have gotten into the drama of the "games" quite well, I think.
This movie felt familiar to me, and after a couple days it finally clicked. It's not reality TV or Dr. Who I'm reminded of--it's Jurassic Park.
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Lalaith
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Post by Lalaith »

Really? How so?
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Post by Ellienor »

Hmm, I'm actually kind of surprised this movie (or books) isn't getting a whole lotta love from the posters in this thread beings that we're all fantasy/sci-fi geeks in one form or the other. :)
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Post by axordil »

I'm particular.
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Post by halplm »

Loving sci-fi and fantasy does not mean we have to love all of it :). I think its a terrible thing that something so filled with plot holes and lacking in character depth has become so popular. Gives good fantasy a bad name.
For the TROUBLED may you find PEACE
For the DESPAIRING may you find HOPE
For the LONELY may you find LOVE
For the SKEPTICAL may you find FAITH
-Frances C. Arrillaga 1941-1995
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