The second film in the Hunger Games franchise serves up a greatest hits medley of social commentary from the first installment, lessons that ring louder in the Age of Obama.
When The Hunger Games hit theaters last year, Americans didn’t know the extent of NSA domestic spying, that ObamaCare would wipe out health insurance plans for millions despite the president’s solemn promise or that a weaponized IRS was targeting Tea Party groups.
So watching a dystopian future in which reality television distracts the masses, the government fears a popular rebellion and dissent must be wiped out at all costs is a tad more chilling than usual.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire repeats these themes in new, darker shades, and while there’s certainly no overt connection to current events it’s impossible not to connect a dot or two while watching Fire. The diabolical President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is in no way a direct or indirect reference to President Barack Obama, nor are the more wicked deeds Snow commits connected to real events.
Yet Snow’s willingness to do whatever it takes to get his way certainly recalls this week’s “nuclear” decision by Senate Democrats. It’s also alarming to consider how Fire’s fearsome government manipulates the images broadcast to the huddle masses when the Obama administration is strong-arming the press to make sure its best side is constantly shown.
Will the franchise’s young viewers, who will scramble to see the new film this weekend, make the connection? It’s unclear, but the notion of a bullying, omnipresent government quaking in its boots that the people may rally to undermine its power is something even teens enamored with stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson can’t miss.