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29 March 2012

A Review of *The Hunger Games*

Finally back from several days in New Orleans for Southerns and then a few days of vacation at Jekyll Island with my wife. Regular posting to resume.

My wife and I went to see The Hunger Games last night. Here is the trailer if you haven't seen it already:

We had both read and enjoyed the book. First, just some superficial sociological analysis of the film. It has a strong female lead and seems to pass the Bechdel test. The casting is quite racially diverse, so much so that some have been oddly angered that a prominent character is played by a black actor. The entire plot is centered on an exploitative political economy that has historic (cf. ancient Rome) and contemporary (cf. American capitalism) parallels. All around, it offers great fodder for sociological discussion.

I recommend both the book and the film, and I think that each has its strengths and weaknesses. The film does a better job at addressing social class, social movements, and collective action than the book. The film also corrects some of the more fantastical problems from the book (e.g. mutated wolves) which isn't what one might expect given the tendency for Hollywood to overdo the CGI effects recently. The book did a better job of developing the characters, addressing their individual motivations, and exploring back-stories, but this shouldn't be a surprise when nearly 400 pages get condensed to just under two and a half hours.

Overall, the film exceeded my expectations. I was emotionally engaged throughout and am excited about reading the two remaining books and seeing the next two films. I could imagine offering a course on the trilogies in the future.

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