If you haven’t read the books. You need to. It may be a cliche to say that, but it is true. They are so enticing and engrossing that you literally do not stop reading. I read all three in two days, and then felt my life was empty. But it will definitely help to alleviate any questions this film may leave in your mind as, once again (and thankfully) it follows very closely to the TRUTH that is the book.
As any followers of my blog may have noticed, I have a habit of relating films back to what I am currently researching on my MA (Media and PR). The Hunger Games trilogy is a truly insightful expression of the potential devastating consequences of having state-control media. Has anyone else noticed that one of the defining features of any dystopian tale (take Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell as an example) is the media in its entirety being under the sole control of either one political leader (in this case, President Snow) or one ‘party’? Well you SHOULD.
In the case of Catching Fire (and the Hunger Games before it), President Snow and the game makers choose exactly what aspects of the tributes struggle in the games they want to show on the television broadcast. Likewise in the districts, the citizens have no clue as to the behaviour (i.e. rebellions) happening in other districts. Freedom of expression is punished, and cruelly. The word of the Capitol is law. It is ‘divine’. It is unquestionable. And they make sure that no one in the districts is ever given a dash of hope to fuel the fire of rebellion suppressed within them. Why do they want to rebel? Because they are unhappy. They are mistreated by the state. They are poor, starving, scared, cold, ill etc. Thanks to the unintentional defiance of Katniss Everdeen, it is time for revolution!
But how does this relate to us? Well there are certainly still parts of the world that, even today, that have aspects of the their media controlled, sanctioned, watched by the state. Even western civilisation isn’t exempt. Aside from entertainment and education, the media’s purpose should be to act as a WATCH DOG for the government, their actions, policies, decisions. But this is such an idealistic notion. The media takes hand-outs from the government and vice versa. Major media conglomerates are owned by one single person (*cough* Rupert Murdoch) and therefore exude their own political view. A balanced, detailed, impartial media system is what allows the population to make informed decision. Take this away, control it further, and the public are held essentially held hostage by their own ignorance (and, in the case of Hunger Games, fear).
There is so much more that I can say about this topic… including about Ceasar’s heavily constructed and ‘fake’ television show as ‘infotainment’, the Capitol’s obsession with a reality television show that is not too dissimilar to what we partake in these days, the creation of an ‘icon’ (therefore a celebrity) in the form of Katniss. Maybe I will sit down and fully articulate this…? Watch this space!