Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Hunger Games

There are thousands of cliché sayings that are spoken on a daily basis. Not only are clichés used in everyday language, but they are becoming more and more prevalent in the films that are made. Who cannot think of a movie where “Love conquers all” or “Family is the most important thing”? Clichés are an integral part of our lives without us even realizing it. In addition to clichés in movies, what people do not realize is that problematic messages are also being sent to them subliminally. One particular movie that is developed off a cliché and yet also portrays a problematic message is The Hunger Games.
The cliché “You can do anything you set your mind to” is evident throughout the entire movie. At the very beginning of the film, Katniss says to her best friend that ,” There's 24 of us Gale, only one comes out” right after she promises her sister that she will try as hard as she can to win for her (The Hunger Games Film). She is not overly confident that she will win, but she is definitely going to try her hardest to survive. She does everything she possibly can without sacrificing her character and values, and in the end, she does win. In Louis Giannetti’s, Understanding Movies, it states, “Filmmakers create sympathetic characters by dramatizing such traits as idealism, courage, generosity, fair play, kindness, and loyalty” which describes Katniss perfectly (406). When she volunteers for Prim, I almost always tear up because it is just so emotional and pulls at my emotions and love for my younger sister. Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz say in Everythings an Argument that, “If you strike the right emotional note, you’ll establish an important connection” (44). Because she is such an incredible character that so many young girls can relate to, it makes the audience want to root for her. And after everything she went through out in the arena, and after all of her struggles and determination to win, she succeeds, which ultimately conveys the cliché to the audience that if you try your hardest and do the right thing, you will succeed.
Even though the cliché of the film is inspiring and uplifting, the problematic message is a bit more serious. The problematic message would be that, “The world’s fascination with reality TV for entertainment is corrupting society’s moral compass”. Let’s set aside the fact that the Capitol watches children slaughter each other annually for their personal entertainment for a moment and go into specifics. One particular scene that stands out to me in portraying this problematic message is when two parents living in the Capitol give their children toy swords to play with and the children are so excited because it reminds them of the actual Hunger Games going on. Since they live in the Capitol and therefore will never be entered into the games, they do not see the games for what they truly are, which is atrocious, sickening competitions that children are forced to compete in. Our society today has not gotten to this extreme quite yet, but it possibly could if people do not start to realize that what they are watching should not be considered entertainment, but pain and suffering. For instance, when Kim Kardashian got divorced, that should have been a private affair for her and her family, yet countless people all over the globe sat around the TV to watch her endure this extremely painful experience. Another example from the real world would be the Toddlers and Tiaras show. These parents are essentially sexualizing their toddlers by dressing them up in inappropriate attire and choreographing sensual moves up on stage for them to do. It is horrifying to me that they are doing this to their children. By doing this they are essentially corrupting the children’s innocence and challenging society’s morals. While neither of these shows are anywhere near the atrocity of having children murder each other, if society does not begin to realize the moral corruption of reality TV, that is where we are headed as a society. Both Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, and Gary Ross, director of the film, are purposefully highlighting this problematic message in the hopes that by bringing it to the audience’s attention, they will change the way people see reality TV. The intended audience range of 15-30 year old females is the same intended audience for most reality TV shows. By presenting this message to the audience of the film, the intent is to get the audience to change their views thereby leading to an improvement of society.
Most films today focus on the cliché of a movie because it is easily relatable and easy to tell in a plotline. What The Hunger Games did was put in an uplifting cliché, but got across a message for the betterment of society as a whole. The filmmakers purposefully put in a problematic message so that just maybe, the audience would learn something from it and think about adjusting the way they view television.

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