Wednesday, May 2, 2012

10 reasons why The Hunger Games is NOT the new Star Wars

This blog claims no ownership of these images.

1. Star Wars was a surprise success.  It almost went bankrupt because nobody believed in it before it happened.  The Hunger Games movie had huge expectations on its shoulders because of the immensely popular books.

2. The Hunger Games movie was a drastically abridged version of the book, leaving out many key details of the story, whereas Star Wars was written as a movie originally.  Star Wars embraced the story-telling medium of our day and found tremendous success that resonated with millions of fans.

By contrast, The Hunger Games is akin to Harry Potter in that it builds off of an existing fan base to capitalize on the popularity of a series of books.  This does not diminish the power of the story in the books, but rather it completely changes the way in which the movie is received and embraced.

3. The Force in Star Wars gives the audience a sense of mystery and wanting to believe in a higher power, but The Hunger Games relies on Katniss' human skills and luck.  While little girls might go out and learn to shoot a bow and arrow, they won't go home and attempt to levitate their beds with their minds.  This inherently limits the transcendence of the story of The Hunger Games.

4. Star Wars' appeal skews male, and The Hunger Games' appeal seems to skew mixed or female.  While this may seem unimportant, Star Wars launched in the middle of a gender role-reversal in our country.  It gave young boys hope for a brave, courageous, and autonomous future.

As we enter an age where women are on pace to out-earn men, a strong female heroin plays into the direction our society is heading, not against it, making it a consumable product, not a counter-cultural statement.

5. The Hunger Games exists in a less dualistic universe than Star Wars.  While the elements of good and evil are fairly easily identifiable in Star Wars, even the heroes in The Hunger Games have pretty significant demons, not the least of which being that some of them are former child killers.

6. The expansive universe of Star Wars leaves room for everyone to imagine him/herself in it.  Some choose to imagine embracing the unbridled power of the Sith, while others channel feelings of rebellion towards hoping to battle unjust oppressors.  Both rebels and imperial sympathizers come in nearly every shape, color, and size imaginable.  In The Hunger Games, out of shape and disabled characters don't usually last very long.

7. Star Wars has stood the test of time.  The Hunger Games series is very popular right now, but our society becomes attention-fatigued much more quickly these days.  It remains to be seen if people will be clamoring over Hunger Games lunchboxes and action figures at conventions in 30 years.  If anything, that possibility seems rather doubtful.

8. Luke Skywalker eagerly embraces his destiny early in his story, whereas Katniss bemoans hers for virtually the entire series.  Luke is a hero.  Katniss is a heroic survivor.

9. Darth Vader experiences redemption, but Snow and Coin both experience judgment.  This further reinforces the idea that The Hunger Games characters endured and survived a horror, whereas the Star Wars characters triumphed and made a bold statement about the nature of the universe in the process.

10. Having been set in the past in a distant galaxy, Star Wars serves as a reminder that good and right always win out over darkness.  The Hunger Games, set in a post-apocalyptic future, depict bleak times ahead, after which small seeds of hope might not get trampled.

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