Catching up on some movies again. I’ve heard so much about The Hunger Games that it almost seems like I’d already seen it. Once I had I thought it lived up to its hype, which is a difficult feat. Especially these days, with movies constantly trying to one up each other more than ever before. The glut of big bang franchises makes it ever harder to grab enough spotlight to stand out, entertain, and be memorable. The Hunger Games managed to hit all three.

My favorite thing about this movie was the way the simplistic lifestyle of the regular people was constantly thrown visually against the sleek, modern way of life of the government seat. Particularly during the fight to the death in the wilderness, and the way it would cut to the high tech behind the scenes machinations. That was one of the most shocking  juxtapositions of the haves and have nots I can remember seeing in moviedom. As well as the contrast of the Tributes fighting with blades, bows and arrows, and bludgeons, while the techies sat at their consoles gleefully sending in predatory beasts and finding new ways to pit Tributes against each other. Add in the giant screens the folks back home were glued to throughout, and you have a crazy, relentless, brutal and primal version of The Truman Show, as a peripheral plot.

Some of the violence was shocking, edging into The Lord of the Flies territory. I thought it was very realistic. Take anybody, even children…perhaps especially children…and give them no choice but to fight, little hope of survival, and the promise of great spoils for the victor, and the flight or fight adrenaline rush becomes the driving force of their existence. On some level as well the celebrity status attainable by the victor would be an almost irresistible goal.

Enter Katniss Everdeen. A young girl who impulsively takes the place of her little sister. How unlikely is that? About as unlikely as her progress through the game using her wits, her courage, and her compassion, unlike her tooth and nail opponents. However unlikely, that too is realistic. In most groups of even the most down trodden, forced into ruthless brutality, desperate people, there lurks a hero. It would be easy to dismiss Katniss as a fictional device, but it happens in real life enough to make us proud to be human beings. The funny thing is that true heroes don’t usually set out some day intending to achieve something amazing. They fall into situations that lead them to rise above the circumstances… rise even above themselves.

That Katniss also managed to outsmart the system was the coolest part. Unlikely? Maybe. One James T. Kirk set an impressive precedent, though. That Katniss Everdeen Kobayashi Marued the Hunger Games a la  our beloved captain made her a hero for the ages. Okay, so maybe my enjoyment of the movie  skewed a bit Trekward. At least I didn’t place mental odds on who the Redshirts were. I have actual Star Trek movies for that.

The Hunger Games (2012) Official Movie Trailer

Kobayashi Maru