Just returned from seeing the Hunger Games. I had thought that if I saw a late show on Monday night, I’d miss the crowds, but even though I got to the theater 10 minutes before the show was scheduled to start, only walked in the actual auditorium as the previews were starting. There were lines at the Grove. On a Monday night. After 10 PM.
I had assumed most of the people in line were there to see the Avengers. When I asked those in front of me — and around me, their responses confirmed my hypothesis. The Avengers already has the record for best opening weekend. It will soon join Hunger Games in the Top 100 all-time Box Office, adjusted for inflation — a real cultural milestone.
Movies that resonate as these do saw something condition about our times — or the human condition.
I had not heard of the Hunger Games books until the movie was released. A classmate of mine from graduate school, a fellow student of mythology, encouraged me not just to watch the movie, but also read the books. I determined to do just that — before seeing the films. It seems Suzanne Collins, the author, had been a big fan — or at least been fascinated by the phenomenon — of the TV series Survivor — and had had enough exposure to Greek myth to have more than a passing familiarity of the story of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur as well as that of hat of Iphigenia (sacrificed so her father could get favorable winds in order to sail to Troy to wreak vengeance on that city).
And there was even a Minotaur — several of them — in this movie.
At a later date, I hope to write further about this myth, but will note that some scholars (including yours truly) see the stories of Theseus and Iphegenia as cultural markers (not to mention the Binding of Isaac), signifying that they no longer sacrificed humans. And archeological, anecdotal and mythological evidence indicates that human sacrifice was prevalent in many cultures.