Reason Writers at the Movies: Peter Suderman Reviews The Hunger Games

Senior Editor Peter Suderman reviews the big-screen adaptation of The Hunger Games in today's Washington Times:

“The Hunger Games” is a movie about an authoritarian world in which unwitting teenagers are thrust into a life-or-death, winner-take-all game that uncaring adults manipulate for their own amusement — and to reinforce their control. In other words, it’s a movie about how teenagers view high school. Or perhaps the college admissions process. Or the perils of job-hunting in a struggling contemporary economy.

Or, if you’d like, forget the kid stuff. Based on the first book in a trilogy of young-adult novels bySuzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” maintains a strictly adolescent worldview. But the conceptual genius of the movie’s underlying sci-fi premise allows viewers to endlessly spin the wheel of cultural and political relevance.

Whole thing here

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  • ||

    I have this feeling that the expectation that this will be the next Harry Potter/Twilight is off base. We'll see. But the preview I saw for this was utterly uninspiring.

  • Joe M||

    Based on the popularity of the novels, I don't see that the quality of the movies is going to much matter.

  • ||

    Agreed, and that's why the anticipation is that the movie is going to be a blockbuster. But the preview I saw was really, really meh. We'll see.

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    Are you saying that Twilight was inspiring?

  • ||

    You didn't find it to be so? What's wrong with you? Why aren't you like a teenage girl?

  • Joe M||

    I've only "watched" the second one, and it was really just boring as fuck is all. I struggled mightily to find something reminiscent of a plot.

  • ||

    I took one look at the posters and ads for Twilight, said "Ugh" and looked no further. Didn't even view the trailer.

  • Kibby||

    Inspiring, no. Absolutely hilarious, yes.

  • Almanian||

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

  • ||

    I have this feeling that the expectation that this will be the next Harry Potter/Twilight is off base. We'll see. But the preview I saw for this was utterly uninspiring.

    It's not exactly my cup of tea, but I have little doubt that it's going to be much, much better than any of the Twlight movies.

  • ||

    . . . spoof handles notwithstanding.

  • o3||

    coming of age memes = meh

  • James C. Bennett||

    *(possible) SPOILER ALERT*
    It's not so much a "coming of age" story as a "coming into a case of crippling PTSD" story.

  • printf||

    life-or-death, winner-take-all game that uncaring adults manipulate for their own amusement

    Sounds like Little League.

  • printf||

    real asshole pagebreak in the WT article

  • Franklin Harris||

    Battle Royale is better, and, also, The Lion King is just a blatant ripoff of Kimba: The White Lion. #nerdrage

  • printf||

    the movie’s underlying sci-fi premise allows viewers to endlessly spin the wheel of cultural and political relevance

    One of the rarely appreciated values of the sci-fi genre is that it can abstract the discussion of important contemporary issues out of their immediate context so that they can be analyzed without the baggage of personal circumstance.

  • ||

    Sci-fi is great for abstract discussions of contemporary issues, but the world of Hunger Games is so nonsensical as to be useless for such things. This review is perfect for the thinking moviegoer.

  • ||

    Fiction about kids murdering kids written for kids is far less interesting then kids murdering kids written for adults...

    I am of course thinking about a clock work orange, Romper stomper and Game of thrones.

  • Lord of the Flies||

    What am I, chopped liver?

  • ||

    *ahem*

  • Almanian||

    You're like, almost 100 years old or something.

    So I invoke Ezra Kleinendouche, and say you ARE chopped liver.

  • ||

    My daughter (she's 11) has gone absolutely batshit insane over this whole franchise. So much so that she's going to the midnight premiere tonight. But as silly as it is to me, I'm just grateful she didn't go this crazy over Twilight.

  • ||

    How is this not a total rip off of Battle Royale?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Because it's a total rip-off of "The Running Man," that's why.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Battle Royale had a VERY left-wing message, especially Battle Royale 2.

  • ||

    The book did not. It was a communist dictatorship that took over Japan in the late 1950s that came up with the Battle Royale. And it wasn't one class of kids a year, but dozens.

  • ||

    I was thinking of Running Man myself. Which as a book smokes this shit. But I guess that was back when guys read books.

    You look at pop-lit and outside of couple dinosaurs (and James Patterson...which I think is really just a plug-in for Microsoft Word) and its chicks writing shit for chicks anymore.

  • Paul||

    How is this not a total rip off of Battle Royale?

    It's essentially a Battle Royale reboot.

  • H man||

    I'm still going with this being a rip off of the basic premise of Theseus and the Minotaur. 7 Athenian boys and 7 Athenian girls were the tribute to the King of Minos.

  • Arnold||

    Here lies Sub Zero NOW PLAIN ZERO!!!!

  • SW_Ohio||

    ***SPOILER ALERT***
    The small asian kid wins the hot-dog eating contest.

  • ||

    In some ways it is good that no one is really paying attention to the fact that The Hunger Games is about a girl. It makes it seem not all that important. People want to see this film because they love the story and it doesn't matter that Katniss is a girl.

    -

    Uh huh. Sure. Cool story, bro.

  • NotSure||

    The first female franchise ? What were Charlies Angels, all those Jane Austen movies, Shirley Temple movies etc. supposed to be then ?

  • ||

    Jezebel defines what "female" means, not gazey oppressors like you.

  • NotSure||

    This is supposed to be a sci fi movie, any reason she is using a bow and arrow ?

  • ||

    Its part of the 'Game' she's in. Hence knives, spears, etc.

  • ||

    Ill-defined post-Apocalypse poverty yadda yadda...

  • NotSure||

    Speaking of post-Apocalypse, they are remaking Mad Max, does that count as sci fi ? I personally don't it is, I don't even consider Star Wars as proper sci fi, for me true sci fi would be something like 2001 and Doctor Who.

  • ||

    Science fiction is incredibly ill-defined as a genre. That's why most people have started using the umbrella term "speculative fiction." Everything you mention falls under that.

    Using science fiction qua science fiction, all those are also science fiction as well, even though the represent different dominate sub-genres. Mad Max is near-future post-collapse, Star Wars is space opera, 2001 is near-future hard SF, and Dr. Who is science fantasy.

  • ||

    Being literal in definition only 'science fiction' movie that ads up for the label is 2001. Nothing else comes close.

    For all the 'sci-fi' ballyhoo nobody actually tries to make that shit. Like science itself, its a bitch to do it right.

  • SugarArchTy||

    Still hoping for a Grizzly Man sequel

  • Almanian||

    Still hoping for "Grizzly Adams: The Movie"

    Fingers crossed!

  • ||

    Since we are discussing Movies Not To Bother Watching, remember that Avatar 2 is coming.

  • Almanian||

    “The Hunger Games” maintains a strictly adolescent worldview. But the conceptual genius of the movie’s underlying sci-fi premise allows viewers to endlessly spin the wheel of cultural and political relevance.

    *furrows uni-brow*

    Peter, I am but a simple Cavemanian, and your words frighten and confuse me...

  • Almanian||

    Since when do my tax dollars support Monster Trucks? "Monster Jam's" on in the background, and there's a truck sponsored by Teh US Air Farce.

    I get Army/Marines sponsoring drag racing - thinking that's maybe a target market for front-line-hamburger, cannon-fodder types.

    Having a harder time picturing the next Jimmy Doolittle or Robert S. Johnson coming from the Monster Derp crowd...

  • ||

    Jimmy Doolittle was an officer.

    Hey, who's that enlisted loser wiping the windshield and changing the oil on B-25 before Doolittle flies it to Tokyo? Why, its Airman Monster Truck.

  • Britt||

    Exactly. The key to recruiting is showing the kid the silenced M4 and the SEAL team, but once they sign you send them to a ship that's older then them and hand them a paint brush.

  • shrike||

    All power to the Soviets

  • NRO||

    Is the Romney campaign like an Etch A Sketch?

  • Copernicus||

    What is the meaning of "Hunger" in the title? That is the only thing about this movie that interests me.

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