What’s Good – and Not – About ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

What’s Good – and Not – About ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ November 25, 2013

Last Friday, I published a piece on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at Christianity Today that garnered a ton of response. In it, I talk about not just the movies, but the merchandising:

I’m not just frustrated, I’m appalled: all this tie-in merchandise declaws the story of The Hunger Games, in much the same way that the actual affluent Capitol in the books declaws the seriousness of the “real” Hunger Games—a forced gladiatorial battle between teenagers—by staging flashy weeks-long television specials around it in order to distract from the horror of juvenile carnage by making it entertaining.

The movies (gratefully) violently counteract any attempt we might make to see them as fun escapism. To see The Hunger Games is not to be entertained. The films’ greatest redemptive feature is their pervasive sadness, from the faces of every character to the musical score to the bleak sets. Even during the biggest, most lavish celebrations at the Capitol, we know the ones who are enjoying themselves are being played for vapid fools. Everyone with half a brain is miserable and, increasingly, furious.

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