Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hunger Games

Finally... I've found time to write my thoughts on the ever-in-no-one's-favor movie, The Hunger Games.

Why now? Because I've got my computer on, I'm waiting idly by for something work-related to be done, and I can't think of a more productive way of passing the time besides bloggin' mi thoughts away.

So, on to the insights!

First of, let me explain that I was not as obsessed with The Hunger Games trilogy as I was with ... The Bartimaeus Trilogy of Jonathan Stroud, The Mistborn Trilogy of Brandon Sanderson, The Harry Potter Series... heck I was admittedly more manic over Twilight.

By obsessed I mean I was not scouring the net for anything HG related after reading Book 1. (After I read Twilight, I got on Google, types Twilight+Stephenie Meyer and found Within the next few hours, I read ALL (and I mean ALL) of the outtakes posted on the site. Including Midnight Sun. I mean that kind of obsessed.) I didn't really feel the need to go digging for more information on the series. Probably because I already had books 2 and 3 with me, waiting to be read, but I also I think because the story is fairly straight forward.

Iron-fist rulers keep minions in line thru slavery and savagery. It's the dictator's dream come true: be so powerful that whatever you say, even when its as insane as "send me your kids to die," is set in stone. Given a few years of conditioning, the reasons behind the insanity blur out to become the accepted truth. It's like that cartoon of the monkeys, the ladder and the bananas. Simple enough really, even hits home on some aspects of modern day society. However, instead of beatings, what's been accepted is an annual massacre of children.

I guess that's where some non-readers got confused. It was the question I encountered the most: "Why in the world were they doing that?"

Besides to keep citizens in line... hunny, the movie came from a scifi fantasy novel. If it didn't start with the premise of murderous children, it wouldn't be different from any other Tom, Dick and Vampire Diaries. That's why.

So anyway... the movie. Let's start with the things I disliked (my blog, my voice):
1) Too long! Went in the cinema at 3:30. Came out at 6?!?! Where have all my afternoon gone!? My butt was aching by the time Foxface killed herself by eating the nightlock Peeta set aside.

2) Unclear backstory of how Katniss became the survivor that she is, even before she entered the arena. The struggles she went thru with the passing of her dad, the depression of her mom, and her "utang-na-loob" to Peeta. For me, that "utang-na-loob" (what the heck is it in English?!?!) (It's not gratitude. It's deeper than that. There should be this tinge of embarrassment somewhere...) was one of the main things that drove Katniss to be the best bet to win the 74th season of The Hunger Games.

3) Missing Madge. The mayor's quiet daughter, whom Katniss thought of as a true friend despite them barely having said anything to each other... Madge gave the Mockingjay pin to Katniss. I'm not sure why exactly this is important to me, but I find it deeply symbolic that the inspiration to topple a tyrannical government came from somewhere within it.

4) Rue's murder not bloody enough. And the spear (in my head) came from behind, while rue was still in the net. I just think that could've made her death more dramatic. Then again, i was crying enough with how it was made so I guess its fine.

5) No cabin in the woods with the lake. Nothing to represent escape... from District 12, from the games, from the soon to be revealed District 13... oops... have I said too much?

Then again, there were things I did like:
1) The concentration camp-esque feel of The Reaping. It was exactly how I pictured it in my head. Besides being a starkly compelling contrast to The Capitol's crazy-colors, the greys, browns and blues of the girls' dresses, and the boys' slicked-to-the-side hairstyles just compounded the dreariness of the situation. Therefore, adding only more drama to the three-fingered salute Katniss received when she got on stage instead of her sister. I was teary-eyed in this scene.

2) Seneca Crane's character development. The head of it all. Game master. He thought of every single evil thing in the games, but all with this twisted mentality of "it's only entertainment." Because, stupidly, that's really how the citizen of The Capitol saw the games. It was their annual season of Survivor: reality TV completely detached from reality. Seneca's character in the book was hardly touched. In fact, I was thinking they'd bring up Plutarch Heavensbee, since he's a key character in books 2 and 3. Was wondering where the punchbowl was when Katniss shot the arrow through the apple. The other part of Seneca that I appreciated was his connectedness with President Snow. How, despite being head of the 74th season of The Hunger Games, President Snow still controlled him as the neck of the entire operation. Kudos. Too bad he's dead. That development would've been a wonderful addition to the Rebellion.

Those are the things I can think of for now.

Overall, it was still a good movie. Hopefully though, Books 2 & 3 will be slightly shorter... but chances of that happening are slim to none.

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