Monday, April 2, 2012

Where is the Hunger in The Hunger Games?

Try reading the Hunger Games trilogy while on a Holland America cruise of Alaska.  You’ll quickly understand there is an inescapable connection between the two - food!  All-you-can-eat buffets, restaurants, formal night dining.  The food is endless.  On Wednesday, June 29, 2011, despite wearing my most formal attire - an olive green suit - I lost all my manners as I devoured a chocolate mousse.  The 10:30pm DUTCH CHOCOLATE EXTRAVAGANZA surrounded the lighted outdoor pool on the Lido Deck.  The first thing I saw was a replica of the ship carved entirely from chocolate.  All the attendees were greeted with an entire castle, as tall as a pre-teen, made of marshmallow.  Fudge fish, dark chocolate swans, chocolate cake towers.  I had but one thought when loading my plate: “This is the Capitol.”

The greatest asset of the Hunger Games trilogy is the starvation in the districts juxtaposed against the Capitol’s elite who regurgitate their food so they can eat ever more.  The movie failed to give this juxtaposition.  Although I did get a sense of poverty in District 12, it fell short.  There’s a brief glimpse of pastries on the bullet train to the Capitol, and then there was that arrow through the apple while the game master wined and dined, but I couldn’t help but think after the movie, “Where was the Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza?”  The movie TOTALLY failed to give me that sense of starvation met with the Capitol’s cornucopia of carnal delights.

Suzanne Collins' genius is in making me feel the guilt for having so much when others in this world have so little.  Its social message stirs me to political action when the top one percent in the U.S. have a majority of the wealth while poverty increases.  The books are a dystopian reflection of our reality.  I treasure this trilogy.  I’m disappointed the movie adaptation did not give me the same feelings.

In sum, the movie was supposed to be about the HUNGER Games.  Where was the hunger?  I hope Lionsgate gets it right with the next installment, or an incredible trilogy will be wasted on the big screen.