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.
- The scene in Bambi where the hunter (a.k.a. man) shoots the little deer’s mother set the stage for all future hunter-bashing. It is admittedly a touching scene since Bambi and his woodland pals all seem so darn lovable and smart and human-like, what with them talking, ice skating and falling in love in the spring and all -- never mind that most deer lovin’ takes place in the fall. Had the movie tried to even remotely represent what deer “love” is really like during the rut, Bambi would have been seen as a callous, womanizing buck, beating up the other bucks and then ditching his girl Faline to chase down and have his way with every willing floozy doe in the forest. Had it been portrayed more realistically, feminists would be screaming for Bambi’s rack. Heck, even Gloria Steinem would’ve snatched the rifle from “man’s” hands and smoked Bambi herself.
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.