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Thread: Can someone explain the Hunger Games appeal to me?

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Can someone explain the Hunger Games appeal to me?

    I am a sci fi fan, have been a long time, and I realize that its written for tweens, but I find the premise utterly ridiculous....even in sci fi. Kids fighting to the death on reality TV? Thats the solution to ending wars? Its just a juvenile version of the Running Man but absurd to the extreme. There was this movie back in the late 80's or early 90's that was similar but they had big robots that fought.

    I would rather watch Death Race again, but then again the Hunger Games isnt aimed at 45 year old men who rarely even goes to the movies anymore.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Perhaps it's well written? I admit I haven't read any of the series and only heard about it last week for the first time. Apparently the series aims to fill the gap left by Twilight and Harry Potter. But returning to the original point, maybe it just reads well. When you think about it there have been some very successful movies and books made over ridiculous or paper thin premises (e.g. Planet of the Apes, Ferris Bueler's Day off, etc.) that succeed simply because they are well rendered.
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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    How do people find out about these movies and books? Is it just through the TV commercials? I hadn't heard of this book/movie prior to seeing it on a commercial a week ago. A better question might be how do they market books to young girls with TV commercials? What makes a book a huge hit to this market?
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    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    NYTimes piece

    All about the pre-marketing effort

    "...the campaign’s centerpiece has been a phased, yearlong digital effort built around the content platforms cherished by young audiences: near-constant use of Facebook and Twitter, a YouTube channel, a Tumblr blog, iPhone games and live Yahoo streaming from the premiere.

    By carefully lighting online kindling (releasing a fiery logo to movie blogs) and controlling the Internet burn over the course of months (a Facebook contest here, a Twitter scavenger hunt there), Lionsgate’s chief marketing officer, Tim Palen, appears to have created a box office inferno."

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I read all three right after Christmas and really enjoyed them. I don't think that they are well written at all (not even by 14-year-old girl standards). To me it was just an interesting story. Of course, I always enjoy a good ole' dystopian story. I think part of the appeal for the teenage girl market was that it's a story with a kick-ass girl heroine and that it is such an easy read.

    My wife and I already have a babysitter lined up so we can go see the movie next weekend.

    If you want a good book about teenagers fighting to the death on TV, check Battle Royale and the corresponding movie.



    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    How do people find out about these movies and books? Is it just through the TV commercials? I hadn't heard of this book/movie prior to seeing it on a commercial a week ago. A better question might be how do they market books to young girls with TV commercials? What makes a book a huge hit to this market?
    I remember a few stories on NPR a couple of years ago and then some more stuff on Slate.com with some of the folks on their podcasts talking about how they were surprised by how good the books were so I decided to read them when I heard the movie was coming out this year.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    How do people find out about these movies and books? Is it just through the TV commercials? I hadn't heard of this book/movie prior to seeing it on a commercial a week ago. A better question might be how do they market books to young girls with TV commercials? What makes a book a huge hit to this market?
    My 12yo daughter got turned onto the books by one of her classmates. My daughter simply devoured the books (she's a huge reader anyway, but she flew through the series).

    Also, the actress playing Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is from hereabouts so we've had HG media blitz from the time she won the role.
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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    So its all about teen girls basically? Seems to be the big movie market these days. Do boys go to movies anymore? Maybe Wrath of the Titans?

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Do boys go to movies anymore?
    Sounds like that high school kid who invited the pron star to his prom (porm?) does or wants to.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    My 11 yo son really enjoyed this book. And he does go to movies (and is looking forward to this one).

    I think in general, there is a larger trend among these young adult novels that emphasize dystopian views of a not-too-distant future. Not sure if it says something about our times that this topic is so popular, but to me there is also a parallel with past styles that were popular among the same age group - The Hobbit, Harry Potter (though that's a little younger demographic maybe), Phantom Tollbooth, etc. All these books have a common theme of good and evil battling it out in another world similar to our own. In the books I mentioned, the world is similar to but out of time with our own. For the Hunger Games, its more about a future that could be. I think all these novels also create a scenario where the reader closely identifies with the main characters - that could be me! What would I do in that situation?

    I think there are many adult novel parallels as well: The Road, The Plot Against America, Lord of the Flies, 1984, Brave New World, Handmaid's Tale, Farenheit 451, etc.

    The writing is ok (its fairly sparse and lets you fill in a lot of detail), but I think in part because its a young adult novel, the way things are structured lends itself well to a screenplay, IMO.

    My son found out about these through firends and classmates. As for all that Lionsgate uber-digital promotional bullcrap, I never noticed any of that and my son doesn't have a facebook account or any other access where he would have been swamped with that advertising tripe.

    I'll also say that this story is a multi-part series and that seems to be an attractive quality for my son. He's definitely drawn to the book series' and that alone might make him pick up one book over another. He's a voracious reader, so it keeps him occupied.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    I heard the Hunger Games is simply the film adaptation of America's Next Top Model.





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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    How do people find out about these movies and books? Is it just through the TV commercials? I hadn't heard of this book/movie prior to seeing it on a commercial a week ago. A better question might be how do they market books to young girls with TV commercials? What makes a book a huge hit to this market?
    Marketing to young adult females is pretty natural for Hunger Games: a strong female protagonist that isn't obcessed with & relying upon her sparkling boyfriend. That attribute alone improved the appeal, and led to school libraries throughout the country placing it on recommended reading lists. As for the TV commercials, I don't think they target the young readers--they target the parents of the young readers. Veloise's comments on the Internet-/social media-based marketing is how they target teen readers, although even that is mainly word-of-mouth.

    I've read all three books in the series, mainly because I enjoy a distopian plot no matter how seemingly absurd it might be. I've quite enjoyed them--they have an addictive quality of storytelling that makes them difficult to put down. I read each book in two days. And really, the plot is no more absurd than any other distopian novel. Hunger Games reads & flows really well--an easy read, though don't go in expecting some incredible feat of authorship with prose requiring deep thought. Character development is better/less annoying compared to other books of similar genre and with similar target audiences. It does have some teen glurge in it (the standard love triangle seemingly required of all books targeting young readers), but I consider it much more of a secondary, minor storyline of the book, particularly compared to that Twilight crap.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Really getting alot of press around here with a majority of the filming done in these parts.

    Many of the outdorr scenes were shot about 30 minutes WSW of us.
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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    But thats just it, its not plausible at all, even in a Sci-Fi Sense. Logan's Run is more plausible. People having to die at 30 because of resources or whatever...a computer controlled society.

    Having Kids fight to the death to replace wars? Really? Really?

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    But thats just it, its not plausible at all, even in a Sci-Fi Sense. Logan's Run is more plausible. People having to die at 30 because of resources or whatever...a computer controlled society.

    Having Kids fight to the death to replace wars? Really? Really?
    If only plausible books made it to the top of the best sellers lists, we would have a completely different literary canon.
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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    But thats just it, its not plausible at all, even in a Sci-Fi Sense. Logan's Run is more plausible. People having to die at 30 because of resources or whatever...a computer controlled society.

    Having Kids fight to the death to replace wars? Really? Really?
    But the point of the Ruling Class making the underclass kids fight to the death is to keep their boots firmly on the throats of the underclasses, and remind them that they literally can do whatever they want because they are in power.

    Sorry man, I just look around at people and don't think it's that far-fetched. You read the books, the underclass people are horrified by it. It's not like they like it. Only the ruling class people are so jaded as to think it's some wonderful reality show. That's not what it is. It's like the Thousand Year Reich having been acheived and what they might have done to keep things the way they wanted them. Not implausible at all in my opinion. Horrifying, but not implausible. I liked the books.
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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    RT said the previews reminded her of the short story The Lottery.
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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    But thats just it, its not plausible at all, even in a Sci-Fi Sense. Logan's Run is more plausible. People having to die at 30 because of resources or whatever...a computer controlled society.

    Having Kids fight to the death to replace wars? Really? Really?
    Maybe you should read the books first...

    My wife described it well as a cross between North Korea and the Roman Empire. Or, think Rollerball or Soilent Green.

    Next you are going to tell me the Hobbit isn't believable. Or Brave New World or A Clockwork Orange. How about The Road? I think part of the strategy of setting the story in another place and time is to suspend the reader's disbelief or expectation that this is necessarily a plausible scenario. Isn't that what a lot of Sci Fi is about? I'm not sure plausibility is what any of those authors had in mind.
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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    The books have been huge since they came out. I'm sure it's word of mouth, recommendations by teachers/librarians, etc. I dismissed the Harry Potter books until Trail Nazi told me "You REALLY need to read these!". And I loved them; and when the kid was old enough to read them, we had some great discussions and enjoyed the movies together. Same with other YA books he heard about (especially Rick Riordan's "Olympians" books). I know there's a big marketing push for the movies, and kids who haven't read the books will go to the movies. But kids aren't reading the books based on a marketing ploy, it's their friends reading the books and recommending it.

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    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    The difference with the Hobbit is that it is presented as a total fantasy, with humans only being once set of characters in the story.

    I would compare the premise to Logan's Run or any of those grim future movies then aimed at a teen audience. Ok. I guess In that genre I find it lower on the probability scale just to clarify.

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    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    But the point of the Ruling Class making the underclass kids fight to the death is to keep their boots firmly on the throats of the underclasses, and remind them that they literally can do whatever they want because they are in power.
    Exactly, it's not to end wars, it is a punishment and distraction. A modern update of Minos forcing tribute from Athens. The totalitarian nature gets clearer later in the series when the gloves come off as far as trying to keep District 12 under control. Good lessons all through the books on dominating, capricious, arbitrary governments, and the ways of fighting them. And how the new goverment you fight to bring in may end up being effectively the same as the old one...

    I am definitely not the target audience, but I enjoyed the books very much and can see why they are popular. They are pretty quick to read. The movie is supposed to be a faithful retelling of the first book, with a lot of the detail cut for time. I'll be going to see it after a few weeks when the crowds have died down

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    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Did not read but all three females in my nuclear unit did.

    I think this and Twilight and a host of other phenoms are partly, simply the incidence of insidious mass mentality of which we are all, if not victims, at least unwilling participants and at most eager boosters. (I have been lassoed into going to a nearby Lebowskifest myself, and have mixed feelings about it)

    If you whittle away all our memberships in all mass mentality groups, (and those groups may involve numbers as small as two), you will find there is almost nothing left except that murky concept known as the "self".

    When I said something like this to a friend he asked me if I was a Buddhist or something.

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    This article from Slate might help explain the premise of the book a little better:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/...inflation.html

    I have not read the book so I am not sure this accurat.
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    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    This article from Slate might help explain the premise of the book a little better:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/...inflation.html
    I have not read the book so I am not sure this accurat.
    I don't think it is accurate, or at least it doesn't make a difference at the scales the book is operating on. You can only draw the tesserae welfare a certain number of times for your relatives, it wasn't like you could take 100 shares and resell them. Yglesias seems to think it is unintended that the result is the poor people's names more likely to be picked, but that is actually a beneficial result for the Capitol City lackeys at the top levels of each District, whose kids are less likely to be picked.

    By scale I mean that the population seems very very low in this scenario, so a few extra chances in the selection do make a difference. All the people of District 12 are described as fitting in the main square and a few streets of the fairly small town, so the population of teens is likely <1000.

    The better economic analysis of gaps in the books would be how such a small District apparently provides all the coal for the whole country.

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    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I watched the film this weekend. Granted, I have never read the books, but I thought it was pretty decent. Whenever I caught myself thinking "this is so unrealistic" I remembered two things: (1) this is science-fiction and (2) ancient Rome.

    Our ancestors did this, to a lesser extent. Can't exactly rule it out as within the realm of possibilities.
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    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Really getting alot of press around here with a majority of the filming done in these parts.

    Many of the outdorr scenes were shot about 30 minutes WSW of us.
    Here's a link to some local info:
    http://www.wcnc.com/entertainment/Sp...143878726.html

    The Henry River Mill village is a grouping of several buildings including the mill, a company store, workers homes (duplexes), supervisors homes and various outbuildings. These have been long abandoned but the property owner has kept the property cleaned. He is very protective and has a couple security cameras, so if you stop too long and look around, he comes down to investigate. The majority of the buildings are on a main road.
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