I toook my 13 year old son to see the Hunger Games this weekend. I figured as it seems this is going to be the next world wide phenomenon hitting the big screen I should probaby figure out what all the hubbub is about. I must say, in the most humble way, this was really disturbing.
Hays read the book about a year ago, and I remember him saying, "Dad, you gotta read this book, it's awesome." He would try to describe it to me, "There's this world where there are districts, and they have this hunger competition, it's really great!" And I thought it was just another teen book he was reading for pleasure. Little did I know this was going to be the next Harry Potter.
So when the movie came out last week, my kids were literally begging to go see it. I'm usually a "If Dad sees it first" and all is well, I'll go with them to see something like the Hunger Games. But since Hays already downed the book, I figured it was probably ok.
We bought our tickets online, and headed to the theater.
When the opening scene came on after the mix of previews, I was in shock. This was going to be a movie about kids who were going to chase after one another and kill each other to survive. They would represent their districts at an all national wide olympic like survival game called The Hunger Games.
They are selected like an old army draft.
They're put through training like a military soldier.
They are paraded through the halls of commericalization for the benefit of the capitalists.
But in the end, they're given an open space to chase one another down until there's only one left standing...ALIVE!
When they started the game, initially there are 7 or 8 out of the 24 kids slaughtered by the hands of their peers, and as I peeked through my fingers I whispered to Hays, "This is really disturbing."
After the movie, I sat in awe as to how we've become more and more like the Roman barbarians of the Colosseum age, and I couldn't wrap my mind around why this is such a barnstorming franchise. And then my wife hit it..."This is what teenagers are going through everyday in the hallways of their high school. Sure they're not being killed, but they're being emotionally slaughtered as other kids call them names, put them down, and ridicule them in front of their friends."
The metaphor of the Hunger Games is simply a vehicle to show the hurt and the pain kids feel like when they are isolated together on display for parents, teams, coaches, and academics to parade them around to be what we want them to be.
I get it now.
This isn't a book about kids actually murdering each other.
It's not a book about the bloody survival games.
No, this is a book about survival!
Today's high school hallways don't look that different from the forest of the Hunger Games.
It's survive or be killed.
What an interesting way to tell that story!