Thank you book-reading soccer moms

April 7, 2012

So it turns out that, despite breaking all sorts of box office records, Hunger Games isn’t a very good movie. It presents a cleverly decorated dystopia without making any significantly thoughtful points about the explosive issues it attempts to delve into. It neither explores character issues about young people who are compelled to do violence, nor treats the action sequences in such a way that would compel the audience to draw their own conclusions as spectators to preteen gladiator matches. It’s clumsy filmmaking in the way that Paul Verhoeven turns satire into camp. But at least Verhoeven would have made you question whether he was trying to be funny.

If it weren’t for the fact that it was based on a popular book, Hunger Games would’ve faded away after the first weekend. I suppose this is a celebration of literacy, even if only in the Oprah’s Book Club sense of the word, but I wonder if it isn’t also a indictment of the filmmaking world, that a bad movie can make a mint based entirely on hype. Surely, many of the first week’s viewers were readers, but weren’t they also people who heard Hunger Games was going to be a big deal and jumped on board? And as the weeks go on, how many of new viewers are actually hearing positive word of mouth about the content of the film, rather than the sort of water cooler hysteria that comes with a blockbuster?