America loves going to the movies. That is no secret. We get a thrill walking into the Cineplex, buying an over-priced but oh-so-yummy bag of calorie laden popcorn. The anticipation of the opening credits build while we munch on that popcorn and watch the endless bunch of advertisements. Then… the theater goes black and the HD screen lights up with the first frames. I am one of those people who don’t go to the theater much in comparison to average America but I love every second of it. For me, it’s an “innocent” afternoon out without being “extravagant”; basically it’s a fun activity that satisfies my need for an outing. But is that really “all” that an afternoon in a dark theater is?What does Entertainment Say About Us? #FWarchives Click To Tweet
How do our entertainment choices reflect on us?
Perhaps it’s pc or a mistaken mentality or maybe I’m just naïve, but I don’t feel that by seeing a movie I’m giving my stamp of approval. It never feels like this though I am, in essence supporting the movie at the box office. In fact, 99% of the time, I find something that I disagree with in a script. Sometimes it’s an ethical issue, other times it’s nothing more than disagreement with how a parental character raises their children.
One of the recent blockbusters that sparks this thought process was The Hunger Games. I was one of the (few) people who did not run out to see it at the theater. Even if you have not read the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins or seen the film, I suspect you know what the story is. But it not, the story is set in a futuristic, dystopian world and involves the makings of a love triangle with an unusually dull heroine. Oh, yeah! And did I mention Panem holds an annual “Hunger Games” where 24 randomly selected teens fight to survive? All while in a computer manipulated forest just to obtain the title of “winner”…all while killing each other?
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First, I read this book because of the major motion picture adaptation, which out everyone in twitter about how awesome the book was. Plain and simple, I was curious. That curiosity of mine wasn’t met as the book left me with more questions than answers about its draw. In writing my analysis of the film and book, my great (Twitter) friend, Amber also shared her conclusions and had this to say about the film in her movie review:
“[This is a] terrifying look at a futuristic world that forces people to face evil and then decide what – if anything – they are going to do about it. It honors sacrifice and condemns corruption. It depicts the power of hope and the quest for the definition and realization of safety.
Also like the book, the ending is ‘satisfying’ on some level, but still a sort of cliffhanger. The rebellion has only just begun. And while the movie illustrates growth through ‘fire’ and persevering inner strength, it doesn’t answer many of the questions it raises. In that way, it’s more beneficial for pointing out important issues (like the theme of true ‘safety’ vs. constant outward danger, and struggling awareness vs. uncaring oblivion) than for giving us set definitions and resolutions.”
I’d not thought of the story as she so eloquently describes but what an interesting way to look at it. Her opinions force me to look at the concept anew. I’m not sure that I agree this condemns evil or “corruption” but it certainly parallels an interesting thought about politics and our reality. The ensuing stories perhaps do (which I have not yet read) punish evil but The Hunger Games seems to care little for the good (little) guys glorifying the Capitol. The only reason the heroine, Katniss and her fellow tribute, Peeta are spared is for a purpose; the Capitol cannot afford to lose face and as such they were forced into allowing District 12 to return home.
Watching certain shows or films do leave me with a bad taste but I still don’t believe I’m giving approval to them. Am I contributing to their success? Absolutely. Does that mean the same thing? I don’t believe so. Should we demand more from our entertainment? Perhaps but I rarely feel as if it’s an insult to my intelligence after watching yet another scenario in which boy-meets-girl because the key is that I chose to watch the movie. No matter what, subconsciously, I “knew” that it not going to be anything different.
In specifically picking on The Hunger Games for its premise of corruption, perhaps what really “frightens” those of us who look beyond the “romanticism,” is how easily a country can slip away. Into a dictator like world in which we loose freedoms and our right of choice. And perhaps, what this troubling series does is confront us in ways entertainment never does. All to the discovery that it’s something we don’t like, which says a lot about the society we live is. One that is sadly, compliant.