by Steve Dollar
As much a spectacle for Halftime in America as the GOP primary circus, if vastly more sober-minded, The Hunger Games
serves itself up as an Orwellian reality show in which a future parallel USA has ceded democracy to the totalitarian rule of the 1%, made recognizable by their goofy Ziggy Stardust
costumes with hair by Edward Scissorhands
. Nothing if not cross-reference-able, this adaptation of the Suzanne Collins' young-adult blockbuster is far too many movies in one to merely merit accusations of ripping off Battle Royale
. Unfortunately, that's one of the more entertaining things about it.
A pop-culture phenomenon that's had Hollywood salivating for years, apparently, to get a sure-fire film franchise in front of the Twittering masses, the movie is itself much of what it describes: a grandiose and ballyhooed display designed to turn an unvarnished performer (Jennifer Lawrence
/Katniss Everdeen) into a digital superstarâan inspiration, an icon, an ideal. That it succeeds, in spades, doesn't really mean that it's a success. The dystopian landscape and defiant, starving-class teen heroine would have been pure brain candy for my 14-year-old self, although in the 1970s, we fed our warped imaginations on Soylent Green
, The Omega Man
and A Boy and His Dog
âway weirder and racier fare with the unapologetic zest of exploitation. This squeaky-clean episode feels antiseptic in comparison: though the story pivots on a stage-managed romance, sexuality surfaces only in a symbolic rubbing of miracle salve on an open wound.
Continued reading Stay Hungry...