Children of Men vs. The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel series, with film adaptations, and many people enjoyed reading and watching this troubling story. In Panem, society is surviving but it is far from thriving. People are at risk of starvation, beatings, and death if they do not fit into the regime. When the rebellion sparks, it is only breaking a system that was already set to self destruct. Haymitch informs Katniss, at one point, that the rebellion was brewing for a long time; they were simply waiting for the right face to lead it and the right conditions for success. However, it was by no means the first popular dystopian film in created in the modern day.
Children of Men was released in 2006, and it has a very different plot, but it is still a dystopian society that faces serious problems. In Children of Men, the world is facing a huge problem; humans have lost the ability to reproduce and humanity is a single generation away from extinction. At the start of the movie, the youngest person in the world dies at 18 years old, creating a hug sense of impossibility for recovery. Britain declares that all immigrants are illegal and will be deported, in order to preserve their own country and Theo, the main character, is nearly killed in a bombing. Theo is abducted by a group called the Fishes, including his ex-wife Julian, because they need him to help them get the papers required to travel. They are trying to transport Kee, a woman who managed to conceive in this world.
They are attacked on the road and Julian is killed. After Kee decides to stay with the Fishes until the birth, Theo is up late unable to sleep and petting the cat when he hears a commotion outside. Theo finds out that the Fishes orchestrated her death because the people who arrived were members of the group that killed Julian and his eavesdrops on their conversation. As a result, he leaves the Fishes with Kee and her nurse. Theo connects with an old friend, who agrees to help Kee get to the Human Project, a group that is trying to restore people’s ability to have children. However, the Fishes follow them and kill Theo’s friend.
They escape, but as they approach the detention center, Kee goes into labor and her nurse has to pretend to be crazy in order to prevent her from being caught. The nurse is hooded and dragged away, but Theo and Kee make it to Bexhill safely, and her daughter is born. They meet Syd and Marichka in Bexhill, but Syd wants to turn Theo in for a reward and the city is in chaos as the Fishes and the national guard are fighting. The Fishes find them, and Luke is killed and Theo shot, but Marichka helps them get to the water to go into the harbor to meet the people from the Human Project. At the end of the movie, Theo is either dead or at least unconscious and the boat from the Human Project has arrived. It kind of reminded me of the scene from the Titanic, where Rose is finally saved but her love is already dead in the water.
A State of Unrest
Overall, the basic plot of this story is very different from The Hunger Games. However, there are many similarities between the two stories as well. For one, many of the people are rebelling against the government in Britain, because it is discriminating against immigrants; much like how Snow discriminated against the people in the Districts. Further, the people need a figurehead or a reason to have hope. Katniss provides that in the Hunger Games, but when the people in Bexhill see Kee and her baby, many of them stop fighting to start praying and it helps Theo and Kee escape. Kee shows them that there may still be hope after all, although the fighting eventually continues in Bexhill.
Katniss as a Symbol
Kee as a Symbol
Also, much like the ending of the Hunger Games, Children of Men leaves the viewer with a lot of questions. In the Hunger Games, the reader really doesn’t know what kind of government is formed after the rebellion or if the Hunger Games is re-instated in the end. The reader knows life is at least somewhat better, based on the epilogue with Katniss’s children, but how much better the society actually is and if it is only a temporary fix is unclear. Children of Men is even more unclear in its ending. Does Kee manage to create a breakthrough that can restore the ability to reproduce? Does Theo even survive to see the outcome? If Kee and the Human Project do manage to have a significant breakthrough, how will the world survive? Will the population be able to recover or is it to late? What regulations will be put into place to restore the population, if only certain women can reproduce, how will they be treated? Will the people in the world revere them or the government turn them into slaves, like the women in The Handmaiden’s Tale.
Victory Tour: Travel Scene
A third similarity is how people are treated. In both cases, citizens who are out of favor with the government are starved, beaten, and generally mistreated. In Children of Men, Miriam is dragged off, hooded, and her fate is unknown. In the Hunger Games, Katniss remembers when a girl was captured for trying to run and later she finds out that the girl had her tongue cut out and was turned into a slave for the Capitol. Travelling between areas is restricted in both populations, although in Children of Men at least some people are able to get a permit to travel. In the Hunger Games, it is only during the Games Selection, Games, and Victory tour that anyone is given the opportunity to see other Districts; and then it is only the tributes, mentors, and then victors. Even in those cases, they are limited on where they can go in the other Districts. Who knows what other similarities we would find, if we had been able to get a more complete image of society?
PS: Not sure what I thought about the fake blood spatter on the scene in the fight scene in Bexhill or the bombing at the end….