The Hunger Games (2012)
I have never read the book or have been bothered to watch the trailer on YouTube even though people have been talking about this supposed literary marvel for years now. After all, still having remnants of the supposed Twilight fever in my brain, I was more than cautious not to be swept away by another roundabout of effective publicity.
I remember the first time I became aware of the Mockingjay or whatever it is called was when I saw National Bookstore display the books prominently with matching outdoor billboards at the SM Mall of Asia. Suzanne Collins was still unknown to me but I must admit the title hit me pretty hard. The Hunger Games. Genius, I thought. How I wish it wasn’t about dieting.
It has been a while since I posted anything about movies. The last blog post I had was about the Manila Kingpin. And no thanks to the failure of a horror flick that was Segunda Mano, I vowed never to force myself to write about movies especially if it pains me to do so. I would have posted something about ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,’ but my quick post about the 9/11 film while riding a taxi on the way home using my WordPress Blackberry application was unfortunately ‘lost in transmission.’ No need to specificy which telco was the usual culprit.
Fast forward into March 2012, I decided to catch one of the first few screenings of the movie after work amidst a busy schedule and a grueling headache with coughs and colds. Watching the Hunger Games was like a Magnum-esque experience for me. I watched it for the sake of being a part of the “in crowd.” A few moments into the dizzying cinematography of the film (which initially got me irritated because I never wanted to watch the likes of Chronicle or The Devil Inside ever again or risk throwing up inside the cinemas,) I was catapulted into a crazy world with a confused perspective of fashion, technology, and morals. It felt like I was about to watch a Lady Gaga concert with a bunch of Little Monsters with their parents in Eastwood Mall muttering every line straight from the book.
But rather than having an upset stomach, I fully understood why The Hunger Games could eclipse Twilight or even the Harry Potter series, maybe not in terms of revenues, but in importance, as the overshadowing of its plot became clearer and clearer. The movie and maybe, also the book, reminds me a lot of what Filipino actors woulds say about their latest project: it has all the elements that would astound you. Sans sex and nudity, it has the violence, the innocence, the romance, witty dialogue, and the social impact, that can open youthful eyes away from apathy. Although some say it is comparable to Battle Royale, it felt like the Olympics, Miss Universe, Romeo & Juliet, Survivor, the Truman Show, and Lord of the Flies combined, among others.
For sure, a few “movie critics” out there would still find fault with how Gary Ross directed the film. But coming from my inexperienced mind and taste, I must say he did wonders.
Woe the politician who still thinks he can still manipulate the mind of the new generation with a bunch of pictures released through Facebook and Twitter if books like these with underlying tones of resistance and critical thinking plays a bigger role into the plot than everything else. The critical and box-office acceptance of The Hunger Games gave me a renewed sense of happiness that kids these days may not be as shallow as what we think they are. Sure, sure, love and kissing would open the doors, but as soon as you had the attention of these iPad-trotting youngsters into burying their noses into books – into paper – I would like to thank Suzanne Collins for ensuring that the world of tomorrow would still not be as bleak as what the Mayans have predicted.
MTRCB has placed a stern warning to parents that the movie may shock certain sensitivities. No question about that! But at this time and age where freedom of expression, albeit sometimes used irresponsibly, is still being curtailed by a powerful few, censoring your kids from the real world is a
path step to the wrong direction.
Watching the Hunger Games was like a Magnum-esque experience for me. I watched it for the sake of being a part of the “in crowd.” But eve though I spent more for the ticket price than that supposedly overrated ice cream, plus the food and drinks that I failed to eat all 2 hours plus I was inside the cinema, I can proudly say The Hunger Games was worth more than the money. It was worth my time.