'The Hunger Games': 5 scenes that send a progressive message
By Julie Booth / current.com
Almost as quickly as fans rushed to theaters for the first film of "The Hunger Games" trilogy, Fox News' Eric Bolling attempted Monday to claim that the movie has a conservative message about the dangers of a too-powerful government.
It warns of "an out of control government so powerful, they're able to demand fight to the death televised hunger games," according to Bolling.
The world author Suzanne Collins has created is a futuristic portrayal of American society filled with glam, greed and entertaining brutality at the expense of the poor district youth and their families.
Conservatives can stop short at the concept that an overreaching government results in kids being forced to kill each other, essentially, for entertainment. But that would be like saying "Driving Miss Daisy" is a movie about transportation.
"The Hunger Games" goes far deeper than that. It dives into the 1 percent/99 percent debate, with the ruling class serving as the elite -- and the operators of the Hunger Games -- in a world where the only way to move up is by killing your peers in a televised battle. It shows people's desire for democracy rather than money to be the driving force in government.
So we've put Bolling's theory to the test and discovered five moments that suggest "The Hunger Games" actually sends a prominently progressive message:
- Rue's Funeral - The nation of Panem is divided into 12 districts, each segregated with electrified fences. During the games, Katniss creates an alliance with a tribute named Rue from District 11, a poor, primarily black district. When Rue dies in the Hunger Games, Katniss places flowers around her body and sends a signal of respect to the citizens of District 11 who are watching on the big screen. Rue's death triggers a rebellion against the Capitol in District 11. The citizens there want a voice in how their government works; how they’re allowed to live their lives. Katniss makes the choice to speak out against the elite-run government, showing flashes of the uprisings seen in the last couple of years throughout the Middle East, and from the Occupy movement.
- Peeta's speech to Katniss before the games – Knowing he may not make it out alive, Peeta tells Katniss that if he was going to die in the games, he still wanted to be himself. Unlike the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, who are sprinting to the right to appease fringe elements in their party, Peeta refuses to change himself for the Capitol. He will not accept the idea that it’s OK to lie, steal and, in this case, kill in order to advance in society (or government). He wants out of their system and firmly states that the Capitol will not change the person that he is.
- Suicide Plan – In the middle of the games, the Capitol announces that there can be two winners of The Hunger Games if they are from the same District. After Cato from District 1 falls to his death, Katniss and Peeta are left standing as the winners. But when the Capitol announces they have revoked this rule and there can be only one winner, Katniss plans a double suicide by proposing that they both eat poisonous berries. The didn't choose to be part of a televised war with their peers. They didn't choose to have their names put in the reaping. In this scene, they finally make a choice of their own. They choose not to be pawns in the Capitol's game of control over the Districts. Just because a government says war is necessary to maintain peace and order -- doesn't mean it's true.
- Bull's Eye – Before the Hunger Games begin, each tribute is given a score based on their skills and the gamekeeper's stereotypes on gender, race and class. The gamekeepers rudely ignore Katniss during her skill evaluation because she is a woman from a poor, overlooked District. To gain their attention, she shoots an arrow straight into the apple inside a roasted pig's mouth, shocking a crowd of dining Capitol members. Rather than just accept the low score the Capitol plans to assign her, which would doom her chances of survival in the Hunger Games, Katniss makes her voice heard. Her arrow is a terrifying reminder to the gamekeepers the women can not be overlooked. Her outrage is reflected in the real life battle women are fighting with Republicans to protect their reproductive freedoms.
- "Girl on Fire" Concept – Cinna, the stylist assigned to the underdogs of District 12, crafted a non-traditional image for Katniss and Peeta. Instead of coal miners, Cinna dressed them in black and set their costumes on fire, creating a blazing chariot at the opening ceremony. But their act of rebellion in this scene is not their flaming outfits; it's that Katniss and Peeta hold hands. This simple act shows that they have rejected the role the Capitol planned out for them, which is to view each other as enemies. Instead of becoming propaganda the Capitol can use to control the Districts, they light the fire of rebellion.
See Bolling's commentary -- and a whole lot of odd attempts to explain Tumblr -- in this video from Mediaite:
(Photo: Getty Images)