THE bombastic launch of two talent-hunting competitions – BBC’s The Voice and ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent – could not have been better timed with the opening weekend of The Hunger Games.
The film’s plotline is centred around a televised national tournament which calls upon “tributes” – an unlucky pair of teenagers who are picked at random to represent each town or “district” – to fight each other to the death, while gaining popularity points from the public.
Gary Ross’ film is a sophisticated package that poetically stabs at the dangerous fame-honeytrap reality TV shows set out for hopeful contestants, and the titillating pleasure audiences gorge on by watching desperate starlets fall on their own conceited swords live on television.
It does so by starkly contrasting woodland scenes of characters physically fighting for survival during the games, with the smoke, mirrors and circus tricks shown in shots of the TV studio that is manufacturing their celebrity survival in the lime light.
There is little gore to speak of, but the real horror comes from the callous producers who risk contenders’ lives to produce a better show for audiences watching at home.
A horrifying image of Cowell smugly adjusting his belt and pulling his trousers higher up his chest comes to mind.
In a game where life and death can rest on smiling for the cameras and creating gossip to ensure you’re remembered, there is a clear stab at the type of celebrities we are allowing ourselves to admire.
However, the film’s heroine Katniss, (Jennifer Lawrence) who refuses to play by the rules and risks her own life for weaker opponents, thankfully embodies the simpler desires in life.
It’s a film for all and there are stunning visual effects, interesting plot twists and a love story to keep even the biggest of X Factor fans happy.