Analyzing the “social Work” of The Hunger Games
Analysis of “The Hunger Games”
Analysis of “The Hunger Games”
A significant improvement in technology has allowed film-makers to create highly futuristic and imaginative films, over the past few decades. The Hunger Games is one such film. Any good film that reflects on people’s way of life must be able to bring out the actual challenges that the people are facing or are probably going to face in future (Marshall, & Sensoy, 2015). The Hunger Games is an American science fiction dystopian and adventure film released in 2012. It is based on a book by the same name by Suzanne Collins written in 2008. Gary Ross was the director while Jon Kilik and Nina Jacobson were the co-producers. The film starred Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Josh Hutcherson, and Woody Harrelson among others. The film was a high-grossing film of the year both domestically and internationally.
The challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries are not that much different from those of the 19th century or those of centuries to come. However, changes in technology make it easier or difficult to deal with the challenges that humans face (Marshall, & Sensoy, 2015). For instance, in the early 19th centuries getting reliable water and power was much more difficult than it is today. In addition, in today’s world it is much easier to preserve food than was the case in the early 19th century due to changes and advancements in technology. It is easier to look at how “The Hunger Games” reflects on certain concerns such as fears, values, and anxieties that exist in a post-apocalyptic future by using this concept. Thus, the main concern here will be to look at how the film depicts social challenges of not only our current century but those of a future century too.
“The Hunger Games” is a film set in an imaginative and futuristic state of Panem. In this film the 12 districts of Panem, as punishment for a past rebellion, are forced to send two “tributes” that have to fight to death until there is one victor in a televised show. Social concerns of parentage, protection, and love appear early on as Katnisss (Jennifer Lawrence) offers to volunteer for the deadly games in place of her younger sister, Primrose, who has been chosen by lot. Love is also displayed soon after the games start as we notice that Katniss’s male partner from district 12 Peeta Mellark publicly expresses his love for Katniss. The contestants engage in various tasks that show that although the final intention or in order to be the winner you have to kill the other contestants. However, there are several episodes where we see contestants saving or helping their opponents when it would have been easier for them to kill their opponents in order to increase their chances of becoming victorious.
Just as is the case with our current situation, it is clear that issues of love and protection play an important role in the games. Additionally we see that the urge to win at all costs is a factor that many politicians will always thrive to achieve. For instance, President Snow of Panem decides to have the rules of the games changed just because he is not happy with the way his favorite participants from the Capitol are being eliminated. This is a clear reflection of today’s’ politicians who will stop at nothing in order to either stay in power or have their close allies get lucrative contracts. At the end, we also see that the President decides to have the head Game Maker, Crane thrown in a room with the poisonous Nightlock. This is an indication that the president does not value him any longer just as is the case with today’s politicians who will only stay true to their partners as long as they are gaining something from them (McChesney, 2000).
The greatest test represented in the film is that for survival. This is also one of the greatest challenges facing humans today. With massive industrialization, encroachment of protected habitats & ecosystems, and massive environmental pollution, the question is whether this generation will survive. This is also the biggest challenge facing contestants in the Hunger games because not only does a contestant have to protect him/herself from being killed but they also have to make sure that they find food to eat.
The issue of minority groups and cultural identities is also reflected in the film. The contestants from the Capitol appear to be better placed to win the games because they understand the terrain and understand what it takes to survive the games. However, when the other contestants start working together and cooperating with each other, it becomes apparent that they stand a bigger chance of surviving (Durham, Gigi, & Kellner, 2001). This is a clear depiction of what is happening in the world today. For instance, it is expected that the minority groups in the United States will increase to around 60% of the population by the turn of the century. The changes taking place on the social and political scene of the country is a clear indication of this.
“The Hunger Games” film succinctly portrays current social concerns although it is set in a futuristic society. The themes expressed in the film helps literature students to understand what we can expect in future given what they have learnt about current events and the history of literature development.
Durham, M., Gigi, D., & Kellner. (2001). Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell.
Marshall, E. & Sensoy, O. (2015). Rethinking Popular Culture in Media. Rethinking Schools. Retrieved on December 11, 2015 from http://www.rethinkingschools.org/publication/rpcm/rpcm_intro.shtml
McChesney, R. (2000). Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communications Politics in Dubious Times. New York: New Press.