The Hunger Games: Why The Popularity?

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Before we talk about reality shows and the film plots that mirror them, I’d like to applaud a certain movie studio for giving what might be a huge blockbuster the most colorless and awful title ever. Because even if it’s the most inspired piece of cinema ever viewed –  winning myriad awards for its acting and its story — no one will ever say Journey 2: The Mysterious Island got there on account of a catchy title.

Moving on to reality TV. If Steve Jones and Nicole Scherzinger aren’t going to be X-Factor judges next season, who is? I know that there are experts in charge (like Simon Cowell) and I know that even the biggest TV shows of all time have had major cast shakeups (really, Brian Dunkleman??) but should we sometimes leave well enough alone? Perhaps the answer isn’t recasting. But that’s just my opinion.

Something else I cannot fathom that feels like a reality show and which I’d like to invite commentary on?  The Hunger Games. Because this is a phenomenon I don’t really comprehend. Am I the only one who feels that any book — no matter how “addictive” — about pitting children to the death over food is maybe not so cool? I freely admit having an unnatural (most of my friends use terms like “lame”, “foolish” and “ridiculous”)  infatuation with The Twilight Saga. But somehow I see those vampires and werewolves as goofier and therefore less pernicious than kids who become gladiators on behalf of nutrition/their homelands. According to the description, “one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected… to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.”  Well, this author, in selecting kids and putting them on TV has certainly tuned into our national obsession with reality TV. But is this teaching kids a less-than-helpful lesson? Isn’t this encouraging some kind of Machiavellian society – even though it’s admittedly futuristic and sci-fi?

Clearly the movie is getting an insane amount of attention.  It did long before they even went into production. Arriving March 23rd , I have no doubt that it will do blockbusterishly. It’ll probably outsell Twilight and who knows, maybe Harry and the Pirates need to watch out too. But what exactly is the allure of The Hunger Games? I’m genuinely curious. I certainly don’t doubt it exists, or Suzanne Collins wouldn’t have sold three million copies and be on the New York Times Bestseller List for a hundred weeks. Hopefully, some of you can explain the actual appeal because it seems a little violent and video-game-y to me. The cast is terrific, and why wouldn’t it be? I will absolutely go see the film out of curiosity alone, and the young actors are getting a world of buzz; they are all about to be ejected into a publicity stratosphere the likes of which they’ve never imagined. But still, on the subject of the book/movie plot itself – what’s the draw? In the meantime, we’ll use today’s poll to let you weigh in on the actors who star in this mysteriously addictive vehicle.

Today’s poll:

The Hunger Games opens March 23rd. Which of the movie’s stars is your favorite ?

1) Josh Hutcherson

2) Jennifer Lawrence

3) Liam Hemsworth

4) Leven Rambin

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