With the much-awaited opening of The Hunger Games in theaters, a movie in which the main character is a teenaged girl who hunts with a bow to provide for her family and ultimately to save her life, debate has raged on the blogosphere over whether the movie glorifies hunting or reflects the overall brutality of the futuristic society it portrays. In the movie, as it does in the book, hunting is portrayed as an admirable skill that promotes self-reliance, courage and respect for life — attributes many of today’s hunters will readily recognize in their own sporting lives. In fact, Katniss, the main character, exhibits more compassion and a reluctance to kill her fellow human than the city-dwelling Capitol residents who watch the games for fun.
The Hunger Games has garnered some positive press, particularly for women hunters, but may remain an oddity in that respect coming from Hollywood, for there remains abundant examples of movies and television programs that exhibit everything from total ignorance about hunting to a pointed effort to ridicule the tradition as being participated in by brutish louts bent on the destruction of every living thing in the forest. Here are some of the worst offenders.
Instead, the hunter who killed Bambi’s mother (who in real life would’ve coldly run him off soon anyway so she could get busy with other bucks) is ranked as one of the top 25 villains in movie history right along with Gordon Gekko, Hannibal Lecter, Nurse Ratched and the shark from Jaws. Former Beatle Paul McCartney says the movie is what turned him into an animal rights activist. The theme continues in other Disney animated blockbusters such as Beauty and the Beast, where the hunter, Gaston, is portrayed as a chauvinistic villain intent on killing the Beast.
First, the hunting scenes are depicted as they are in too many B-movies, with the hunters sprinting after deer just haphazardly throwing shots at them and then dashing after them to shoot again. Have you ever tried to run after a whitetail to get a second shot, and up and over a mountain to boot? Not gonna happen. The movie is set in Pennsylvania, but the hunting scenes are clearly not eastern mountains and were in fact shot in Washington. And the weirdest of all: These guys would be hunting whitetail deer in Pennsylvania, but most of the deer look like red stags running around. One was the same animal later used in the Hartford commercials. What did some prop guy do? “Um, I need a whitetail, but anything with antlers will do.” He should be slapped. For anyone who appreciates realism in their filmography, the hunting scenes are a discredit to this otherwise epic movie.