Compare and Contrast: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire

Our latest guest post comes from the hilariously tag-named Caesar’s Scrunchy, who has a few awesome points about the relationship between Katniss and Peeta (with visuals!)

______________________________________

You know you’re desperate for more “Mockingjay” action when you’re willing to do a school writing assignment in the summertime, which wasn’t assigned and will never be graded! But we’ve got to do something to pass the time waiting for the next propo, right?

So I’ve done a “compare and contrast” assignment just like in school, where we take two different things – two poems, two books, two films, etc. – and see what is different and what is similar about them. These assignments aren’t always fun, but when we do them, we can learn a lot more about each one by looking more closely at them. And it can be especially fun if you compare “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire” movies (because what else are we going to do
besides watch these two fave movies, amiright?!) The books have these parallels as well, but that REALLY feels like a school assignment, and doing it this way, I got to watch the movies again as “research.”

In some cases, the exact opposite from what happened in HG happened in CF (I noted those with the arrows). I used to think the first two books were a bit similar, but the more I worked on this, I appreciated how hard the filmmakers worked to give us an amazing number of little details that created great symmetry between the two movies. Or, to quote Haymitch, “Genius!” When you look at the comparisons, I hope you agree.

If you like this, feel free to watch the movies again (as if anyone needs an invitation?) and see if you can find more contrasts and comparisons. I wonder what would happen if we added Gale to the mix? Or compared Seneca Crane vs. Plutarch? Or HG Buttercup vs. CF Buttercup? J

PS – I own none of the images here, they are just for illustration purposes to show each point. AND: this is the first thing I’ve ever written for VictorsVillage.com, and I hope you like it.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: THE HUNGER GAMES AND CATCHING FIRE
Katniss Peeta Chart 1
THE BALANCE BETWEEN THEM

Katniss Peeta Chart 2

Caesar’s Scrunchy

About these ads

Unity: President Snow’s Second Address

The second Mockingjay: Part 1 teaser trailer rolled out today, or more like this morning around 9am PST. We were better prepared this time I’d like to think, what with the rumors, and then the um, well this thing.

Unity

I like surprises as much as the next person, and face it surprises are few and far between on this wonderful thing called the Interwebz (yes… with a Z). Where it comes to promotional material however, especially promotional material for gigantic film franchises that have grossed a bazillion dollars world-wide– the element of surprise is as rare as a polar bear on a tropical island. In the case of this mega-huge franchise, surprise is really more of a game of cat and mouse between some movie theatre employees with loose morals, and perhaps under paid Lionsgate employees and/or contractors. Loose morals seem to mostly be what the Interwebz is based on though, so it really shouldn’t be so disappointing that snippets, or entire swaths of secreted promotional material keeps leaking out before it’s planned release date. Like I said, it’s a game of cat and mouse, but this time around I think Lionsgate won the round, and I’m not exactly sure who was the cat or the mouse anyway.

Who cares about all that though, jeeze! Let’s talk about the damn teaser trailer!

I hate saying this, who am I kidding– no I don’t! But, Peeta’s pats are very distracting, perhaps I was sleep watching the first teaser, or perhaps I was too busy being simultaneously creeped-out, and amazed at Josh’s turning his face to the camera, and looking down the lens like a soulless Child of the Corn. But, yeah– damn Peeta’s pants are on the screaming side of tight. Not painted on tight, more– “oh hey, I’m noticing things I don’t always want to notice on a person who’s supposed to be playing a character who is significantly younger than my self.” I digress though, ’cause even if my previous words sound a little Judge-y McJudgerson, I’m not complaining about the tightness of Peeta’s pants, I’m just noticing it like the heterosexual female that I am, and forever dubbing Josh the new carrier of the name Captain Tightpants.

Pants aside, the subtlety of these first two teasers is something I’ve been personally yearning for as a Hunger Games fan. The fact that the teasers themselves are based on content from Mockingjay the novel, or information from Mockingjay the novel, tickles my little booknerd heart. Because as much as Lionsgate has tried to play the audience as the Capitol and nothing else seemingly, what with its partnership with cosmetics companies, and fast food restaurants, I think they’ve finally realized that the series’ content its self was material enough for some killer concepts behind promotional material, and also that the audience is not solely the Capitol, we’re also the Districts. That’s why the teasers are augmented and/or altered versions of the propo addresses Snow conducted in the novel.

I brought up subtlety a bit ago, and I’m attesting that to the background players. Hats, shoes, socks off to Josh Hutcherson for either his choice, or Francis Lawrence’s direction to very slightly shake his head at certain points in President Snow’s address. Like when Snow says “never have we been more unified…” Peeta shakes his head. Or when Snow says “Panem is speaking with one voice.” Now, the head shaking can be interpreted several ways, one of which could be that he’s shaking his head to try to clear his foggy hijacked brain thing. Or two, that he’s disagreeing with what Snow is saying. Either way, the choice looks and feels like a good one from this particular fans point of view. There is a third possibility of what those head shakes mean however, they could mean nothing at all. As a fan of the series though, I’m hoping with every fiber of my being that they do mean more than head tremors, and that Josh can’t stand still to save his life!

Oh yeah, and then Beetee broke through the transmission, said his line, and the crowd went wild!

Is it November yet?

Them There Eyes

Teaser 2 Theories, Guesses, and Wishes

It’s confirmed. Another address by President Snow will be coming Wednesday!

Unity

 

Are we all shaking/dancing/or in any other ways making movements of joy! YES! The second teaser is coming tomorrow. And it’s in the form of another Capitol TV broadcast, which means -

Technical difficulties caused by some troublemakers in District 13.

YES YES YES. This is all looking very good. Let’s think about some fun scenarios here.

Since the graphic shows the hand of President Snow’s creepy statue (holding the chair with a tight grip), the beginning could look very similar to Teaser 1 with the white suit, white throne, white room look. But would Peeta be there to reinforce the idea of unity? Will he look rougher around the edges?

Or maybe they pull in one or a few of those District Heroes somehow? I wouldn’t mind seeing the “hero” from Seven again. Or tire pants guy. I really want to see how he walks in the tire pants.

Actually, including the heroes would probably be a bit too… distracting. So let’s return to the theory of creepy Snow saying scary things about One Panem and unity and then the message starts to break up a little, there’s some interference. The picture fades out, and then we get some District 13 propo action. Do we see Katniss, or is there other imagery? I really hope we do see Katniss as the Mockingjay, but at the very least I think Katniss would do the voiceover.  And then at the end, there’s a call to action to a new website for the rebels?

My mind is racing with ideas.  What do you think/want to see in this teaser? (The crazier, the better)

JJ

Books For Tributes: A Literacy Revolution

Books For Tributes Image NEW--USE THIS ONE

Three years ago, I started a blog to talk about this amazing book I read. You might have heard of it- it was called The Hunger Games. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, just me talking about my thoughts on things like video games and Finnick and Annie… until I wrote a post about the personal impact reading the series had on me, not only as a reader, but as a citizen of the world:

“It would be an understatement to say that I was a wreck. I like happy endings. I can deal with loss, and death, and sadness, as long as at the end good triumphs over evil. To me, no one won at the end of Mockingjay.

It felt so sad, so hopeless in those hours after I finished the book. I couldn’t let it end like that. I needed to give myself a happy ending.

The Hunger Games series is a book about many things, but for me the realistic depiction of how poverty and oppression go hand in hand was at the heart of the books. The districts were easily manipulated by the Capitol not only by a deprivation of resources, but also (and more importantly) by a deprivation of information. It is not until the Districts gain the ability to learn and communicate with one another that the Rebellion is born.

Education powers revolutions.”

I put my words into action and went to donorschoose.org. There I found a project from a teacher in New York City:

“My Students: My Latino and African-American students attend a high poverty school in New York City.

They are 13 going on 14, have a nose for injustice, and love to argue. I need The Hunger Games to give their voices a focus. After I discussed the book on the first day of school, they were hooked. They would love a chance to investigate a current social issue and try to solve it. As we will read this novel later in the year, they will also have a chance to apply their Social Studies lessons.

My Project: The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel full of social issues that the students will identify and define. For each issue, they will need to explain how external events shaped it, how it shapes a character’s choices and relationships with others, and how it inspires characters to act and change their social environments. At the end, they will choose a social issue we face (problem) and think of ways to change it (solution). The unit not only allows them to examine how literature reflects society, it helps them see the complexities of real social issues. By discussing the issues and thinking of creative solutions, they are laying the groundwork for a better future.

Unfortunately, my school does not have the money to purchase 35 books. Reading is fundamental to a good education. Please help me provide my students with the resources necessary to foster my students’ minds!”

I donated and then spammed my family and friends through social media until the project was fully funded. The teacher was thrilled, the students had access to books they were genuinely excited about reading, and I had that warm fuzzy feeling that only comes with helping someone else out… and I wanted more.

Through the support and help from Savanna and Adam of the Fireside Chat and DownWithTheCapitol, we started a small movement to fund more teachers looking to use the series in their classrooms. This was back in the early days of the fandom- the Fireside Chat was about a month old and DWTC less than a year with only a handful of other sites out there; but our small band of rebels was still able to help two classrooms get the books they needed.

Fast forward to now: the Hunger Games is a global phenomenon: there are dozens (if not hundreds of fan sites); the Fireside Chat logged 130 episodes, and there are almost 20,000,000 fans on The Hunger Games’ official Facebook page. I’d say it’s time to try this literacy revolution over again.

Let’s get Books For Tributes.

My goal is to fund teachers across the country looking to put The Hunger Games in their classrooms and libraries using donorschoose.org.

As of today, I have 45 projects queued up on this donorschoose campaign page, and every. single. one. of them is looking to place our favorite book series into the hands of kids across the US.

So, let’s do it.

Let’s stand with the Mockingjay and start a Literacy Revolution. Our goal is simple. As Hunger Games fans who believe in equity and empowerment, we will work to fund as many as possible of the requests for Hunger Games books posted on donorschoose.org.

We’ll take it one class at a time—just as Katniss and the Rebels worked District by District to overthrow the Capitol. Give as much or as little as you like, as often as you wish. When we fully fund a project, I’ll let you know on the Books For Tributes twitter and Facebook pages.

When you donate please place the following somewhere in your personal message:

“I gave to this project because I’m with the Mockingjay, and support a literacy revolution in American classrooms. #books4tributes”

When you tweet about donating please use #books4tributes

Let’s set a goal to fund these 45 projects before Mockingjay hits theaters this fall, so that when we see Katniss on screen, fighting the Capitol, we can know that we’ve done our part to fuel our own revolution in Panem.

Fire is catching, and we are the spark. And if we put our hearts and minds behind this effort, the Capitol doesn’t stand a chance.

*three finger salute*
Shylah

The Hunger Games Franchise: No Foodie In Sight

I like food, no I love food, and one joy I have in being a self-proclaimed Foodie is this– Foodie Movies. The Hunger Games franchise are not foodie movies however, and to say that I’m disappointed by this would be a mild understatement. The Hunger Games books were Foodie books though, what with Suzanne Collins’ pros about delicious dishes like lamb stew with dried plums, and back story that Katniss was named for the wild Katniss tuber (potato like plant). Safe to say it, but the book entire series is chock-a-block full of heavenly Foodie enticing material, right down to even the squirrels, and the unfortunate exposition that the people of District 12 sometimes had to prepare mice as food for themselves.

There are Foodie movies out there though, a lot actually. And thankfully you have me here to tell you about a select few, well– if you’re into that kind of thing. And face it, if you’re a Hunger Games fan you just might be if you think about it. Let’s start with the classics, no not Arsenic and Old Lace, ’cause believe it or not there are a lot of food references in that one– I do highly recommend that one however. Let’s go with the award-winning 1980s classic Babette’s Feast though, winner of the 1988 Oscar for best foreign language film, and there are several reasons why it won. One of them is most definitely the amazing food that’s cooked and displayed, one other is the comedy of culture, and cultural biased. Watch the movie, you’ll get what I mean, and also have a mad craving for French food afterwards. Oh, and the story was originally a novel, hmmm.

Like Water for Chocolate is a film that probably gets taught in a lot of film studies courses, because it’s a perfect example of surrealist film making. Think Pan’s Labyrinth only less scary, and a lot more funny. Like Water for Chocolate is a love story, a love story about people who can’t be together, and the food that’s made to quell the need to be together. It’s a sexy piece, but it’s a moving piece, so if you’re squeamish about nudity, oh and hate reading subtitles, steer clear. However, if you like to watch Mexican food being made expertly, watch it now, now, now. Or read the book! ‘Cause guess what?! The film was originally a novel and a cookbook in one!

Chocolat, like the last two films mentioned was also originally a novel, a delicious novel full of chocolate and the stories of an emotionally repressed town in France in the 1950s. The film version was released in the year 2000, it starred Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and my favorite cameo performance was from none other than Leslie Caron (An American in Paris). Stellar cast, right? Hell yeah. But the real star is you guessed it… the chocolate. The center focus of the entire story in the shocking opening of a chocolatier (chocolate shop), in this small very catholic town during seemingly the entire towns observance of lent. The shop owner however is not catholic and sees no problem with her opening her shop during a time of self deniance. Her food, her sweets become a subject of great contention amongst the townspeople, and it’s seriously great fodder for character development, and examinations on culture, as well as human nature. Also, did I mention there’s chocolate?

Lastly we have a recent film, one that may or may not be still playing in your own respective towns. It’s the Jon Favreau passion project called Chef. Chef is as clCHEF_OSose to a family film as you’re going to get in the Foodie movie category, it’s a gooey heartwarming story focused around the redevelopment of a stagnated relationship between a semi absentee father, and his prepubescent son. Favreau is a celebrity chef in the piece, and one that has reached a point in his career where he’s sort of backed into a corner creatively by obligations to the people who pay the bills. He shucks their yoke however, buys a food truck, and spends probably the best summer of his life driving from Miami to Los Angeles with his best friend, and sous chef John Leguizamo, and Favreau’s character’s son. They cook great food all across the south, and southwest of the United States, cultivating relationships together, and a great appreciation, and education in each other and of course food. It’s a sweet, modern film that utilizes some of today’s favorite social media tools, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram. Oh, also it’s got so many cameos from famous-y people, blink and you might miss ‘em! But that’s okay, ’cause you learn about Cuban sandwiches, and see the most delicious grilled cheese ever being made. I made noises watching this grilled cheese, lots of noises.

About The Hunger Games franchise though, it’s no great surprise that the food aspect of the series was seemingly omitted from the plot. The film makers took thematic stance, and they did choose wisely. Food is awesome, but we all know that it’s a niche audience they’d be pleasing if they’d focused on the stew, the focus they chose was right on many levels– oppression, war, social injustice.

I’m content with the message, but damn I did want to see Katniss going gaga over the food more.

Them There Eyes

A Real Life District 12?

It’s time for the first entry in our latest series of guest posts! Kait is in full-on wedding mode so you’ll be hearing from special guest writer over the course of the next few weeks. Remember, you can submit a guest post to thevictorsvillage@gmail.com anytime!

Our first entry comes from Justin, who thinks District 12 seems awfully familiar. Enjoy!

_____________________________________________

Hello! I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the curious parallels between the place where I am from and District 12. As the books state, Katniss hails from the region today known as Appalachia in the Eastern United States. I, however, am from the Forest of Dean District. It makes up the western portion of the county of Gloucestershire in south-west England. (Everdeen/evergreen/Dean? Get it?) Up until the mid 20th Century the area’s main local industries were coal and iron ore mining.

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

Forest of Dean: Harry Potter wuz here too!

One of the two main towns of the district is called Cinderford (pop: 8,116) which is right on the edge of the forest itself. You can walk straight out of it into the woods just as Katniss does when she goes hunting. And, of course, District 12 gets reduced to cinders. The other town is called Coleford, but ‘cole’ is derived from the Latin for ‘cabbage’, apparently. I guess The Capitol didn’t care enough about the Districts to recognize proper names for their individual settlements.

I have saved the best for last. For hundreds of years in the Forest of Dean there has been a tradition known as Freemining whereby private individuals can claim a parcel of land to mine for themselves. These personal plots are known as ‘gales‘. No, really.

This is an extract from the Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838:

“All male persons born or hereafter to be born and abiding within the said Hundred of St Briavels, of the age of twenty one years and upwards, who shall have worked a year and a day in a coal or iron mine within the said Hundred of St Briavels, shall be deemed and taken to be Free Miners.”

(There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether it is ‘Freeminers’ or ‘Free Miners’.)

Gale approved!

Gale approved!

I think there are some more links between the HG character of Gale and the FoD Freeminers:

“Amongst other places, Free Miners were frequently requested to fight in France and fought throughout the Hundred Years War, most famously at the famous battles at Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). Miners became used to being an essential part of the King’s armoury, Dean miners were sometimes called ‘The King’s Miners’ and ‘King’s Pyoneers’, known generally as ‘Sappers’ they undermined fortifications, created earthworks, trenches, building timber structures, installing stakes etc. As well as their renowned mining skills, the miners were also excellent archers and ferocious in hand to hand combat; they were hard men, used to operating in harsh conditions. By law from 1363 all English males from 7 – 60 years old were required to practise archery for at least two hours on Sundays and festival days…” Source.

In Mockingjay, Gale Hawthorne, the miner who wanted to be free, has a big hand in undermining the fortification known as the Nut. (Although, the Free Miners were, themselves, very much part of the establishment.)

So, if any of you out there gets an opportunity to talk with Suzanne Collins, do please ask her if there actually are any connections between The Hunger Games and the Forest of Dean.

Justin

Ready for Round 2

Almost as soon as everyone laid eyes on that Mockingjay Part 1 teaser, we were wondering WHERE ARE THE REBELS? What is Beetee doing and why isn’t he hacking this feed? It’s not a big leap to guess that the next Mockingjay teaser will be a piece of rebel propaganda in some form. Whether it starts out pro-Capitol and then gets hacked or is purely rebel propo throughout is the greater question. Though my preference would be the former, cause I want to see some hacking. It would be cool. And for non-book readers, a big surprise. (Maybe it can distract the dumb “evil Peeta” questions for a while.)

Fan art is amazing. But we'd love to see movie Katniss sometime very soon.

Fan art like this is amazing. But we’d love to see movie Katniss sometime very soon. (x)

I’m excited for this presumed teaser 2, because that means we finally get to see Katniss. Funny that the star of the movie, the actual MOCKINGJAY is sight unseen at this point. I blamed it on X-Men promotion for a while, but at this point it’s just weird. Release a character poster or something at least. She’s the title of the damn movie after all. We’re way past the point where it needs to be kept under wraps.

Speculation of WHEN all these things will occur makes me exhausted, because I have been speculating incorrectly for about the last 5 months about the timing of Mockingjay things. It’s depressing to have hope and then have it be squashed OVER and OVER again so I’m very tired. The Mockingjay First Look, the District Heroes posters, and the teaser have been AWESOME, but the delayed start and the slow pace have put a damper on all of it.  To maintain buzz about the movie, we need actual NEW CONTENT to pull fans out of this state of 99% “meh” and 1% “YEAH.” Cause while the quality of content is extraordinary, the start date was late compared to the fandom’s expectations, and so far, the pace of the promotional releases in May-June has been sluggish.

So, if this rebel propo doesn’t show up next week to accompany Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to then be followed by an FULL LENGTH TRAILER (with an actual montage of film footage!) and a ton of other things at San Diego Comic-Con, I don’t know what to think, other than WHY and WTF?!? And I think the most of the fandom will be right there with me.

Catching Fire‘s promotion started in January 2013 (or Nov 2012 with the logo if you want to be picky), so it was completely understandable to have month long breaks between promotional content releases.  Because the content in Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, and May added up to be pretty substantial by this point last year. You definitely can’t say that with Mockingjay.

Even the Capitol Complaints (er, I’m sorry, Capitol Concerns) inbox came too late. Sure people had some fun with it on Friday, but fans don’t want to scream, beg, or in any other ways vent about the lack of promotion anymore. They’ve been doing that hardcore for 3+ months. We’re so tired, Katniss.

Fire will catch, but you need to keep feeding the flame.

JJ

Capitol Concerns Gone Wild

ARE THEY, THOUGH?

ARE THEY, THOUGH?

We love Lionsgate, but sometimes these guys just set themselves up!

Behold, Capitol Concerns– an open forum on TheCapitol.PN for the questions and concerns of Hunger Games fans as the release of Mockingjay approaches. As if they didn’t know! As if they haven’t seeeeeen! Of course, the response was exactly what you’d expect.

In all fairness, a few fans tried to express their legitimate concerns about the movie:

Or made snarky commentary on the teaser:

But mainly, as @antovolko pointed out, this happened:

BrJ4dyPIAAAHppg

There was even one fan who avoided the “T” word in hopes that skirting around the topic may get a different result:

Maybe it’s just us, but we’re thinking that The Capitol knows what the concerns of the people are. The people are pretty singular-minded. The #FreePeeta trend was a lovely trend and will surely be a concern for some, but most of us have read the books and that worry for hijacked!Peeta will be quickly overridden by knowing what happens in the end.

Much like Plutarch says in the end of Mockingjay, people are fickle and soon forgot the past– including teasers released a few days ago that don’t contain actual film footage. Not that we don’t appreciate the first haunting peek at Peeta gone Capitol, but whetting our appetites has just made us more hungry than ever. And then they opened the floodgates!

We applaud the brave citizens who have made their concerns known, but maybe we should try should try a more subtlety? We need a secret code for trailer or something, right? We’re gonna go with SOCK MONKEY.

Maybe if we stop talking about it, it’ll reverse-psychology the fuck outta the marketing team and they’ll be like “They don’t care anyone! Release it, release it nooooow!”

Meanwhile, We’re All Like “WHERE THE HELL IS THE SOCK MONKEY?!”
The Girl With The Pearl

P.S. If you’ve got trailer thoughts (or any thoughts on The Hunger Games) and want to help me stay sane in the days leading up to my wedding, check out how you can contribute a guest post!

Show Me the Chair

This week we finally got the teaser trailer, and while everyone and their imaginary friend was having kittens over how creepy President Snow is, or how creepy Peeta’s turn of the head was, I was having a gay ol’ time deciphering the thing the President was sitting his creepy ass down in. Yep, I was doing my usual thing, analyzing the scenery, ’cause um– it’s fun! Also, nine times out of ten it tells us something insightful that otherwise we’d all just be ignorant of, which is fine if you’re into that whole ignorance being blissful thing.

chair.jpg

I like to call myself an amateur antique furniture expert, ’cause my stack of reference books only allow me to say amateur. Anyway, since a vast majority of the furniture President Snow surrounds himself with are antiques, or amalgamations of antique styles and designs– there’s a lot to explore! Fun stuff, huh? You’re damn right it is! Where would we be without history?! Oh yeah, Ikea. Sorry, if you’re into Swedish style furniture, it’s okay, I don’t judge! However, if the only tools you own are the tiny Allen wrenches that come with Ikea kits, then I have a problem– actually, you do.

The chair though, oh my– the chair! I saw a picture of it first of course, and quickly had a time taking out my books, and trying to find a match, or something that closely resembles the pristine, white chair. Second off, it’s not an exact replica of anything that’s still in existence from the past, it’s like I said above, an amalgamation of styles and designs. And the styles it is it this, William and Mary, with a dash of Charles II, the eras are at the tail end of the Baroque period, 1680s-90s in time frame– only you’d never ever find a white washed arm-chair like Snow’s gracing anyone’s rooms. And that my dear friends is what makes it so very Capitol. But what does it mean?! Why a William and Mary style arm-chair with sky-high -1finials?! Um,’cause they can. The thing about the Capitol is they like to take the commonplace, the fur shrug for example and give it a jab of crazy, and whammo– fashion personified times a million-zillion! In the case of their furniture however, the white washed armchair is another example of the Capitol taking what was once common, and turning it into something kind of sort of scary. And I don’t think for a second the choice of the thick white washing is an accident. Purity is one of the basic meanings behind the color, but I’m going to take it a few other steps down the line of meanings, “the Capitol are the good guys.” Why? ‘Cause the good guys where the white hats, and the bad guys where the black hats, this is what so many myths, folktales, and fairy tales have told us over the last millenia or more! Reverse psychology is such a good propaganda tool! And to top off my hypotheses, Snow is the King of Panem, only he’s titled himself “President”, he looks, at least to me, like a chess piece on the white end of the chessboard. And then there’s Peeta, well what else could he be but “a piece in their game”.

Peeta’s a Pawn, dressed in white, and standing at the ready to serve his King.

“Unlike other pieces, the pawn does not capture in the same direction as it otherwise moves. A pawn captures diagonally, one square forward and to the left or right. In the diagram to the left, the white pawn may capture either the black rook or the black knight.” – W

Them There Eyes

No, Mockingjay is Not a Super Hero Comic Book. Yes, It Will Still Make Great Movies

Amongst the generally positive reaction to the Mockingjay Part 1 teaser this week, was MTV’s backhanded compliment of an article about the teaser. I’m not going to link to it, because I don’t want to help the post with any more traffic, but it was titled ‘Mockingjay’ Teaser Proves The Movie Will Be Better Than The Book. The writer liked the tone of the teaser and has high hopes for the movies based off this 1 minute piece of propaganda. So in terms of movie marketing, a job well done at converting a naysayer to the movie, I suppose.

But what really irked us about the article was how the book was described.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the “Hunger Games” books. I’m a dyed-in-wool Tribute, through and through. But the book “Mockingjay” is a bizarre ending for the trilogy, spending the majority of its running time with a near catatonic Katniss refusing to step up and be the hero we want her to be.

She gets addicted to drugs, mostly engages in publicity ops rather than action and only does anything remotely heroic at the very end of the book; though even her eventual call to action is a move that feels very much like giving up.

Not the greatest fodder for a movie, let alone two movies…

 

We’ve got A LOT of problems with basically all of these statements. It’s “fodder” for several posts, actually. He’s way off base to summarize Mockingjay as Katniss being some doped up drug fiend who does nothing throughout the story due to some weakness of character. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of shallow synopsis of the story, either. There are definitely people out there who just DON’T GET Mockingjay.

Through the past several years, we’ve seen a creative resurgence in comic book movies. From Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to Joss Whedon’s Avengers, and a lot of other movies from the Marvel and DC universes. Many of these movies have been fantastic. Good story, characters, special effects, humor. Thanks to these movies, we’ve enjoyed lots and lots of heroic journeys for the past several years. And most of these movies have been hugely successful at the box office.

Brave. Talented. But not a super-hero, and we like it that way.

Brave. Talented. But not a super hero, and we like it that way.

So in this world of big comic book super hero movies comes the Hunger Games movies. Movies based on a book series about a corrupt society with vast wealth disparity. And a girl who does something brave to save her sister which sets off a chain of events that she never expected and by no means was prepared to deal with.  While Katniss Everdeen’s journey does share some thematic elements with those of comic book super heroes, SHE IS NOT A SUPER HERO. She has a big heart, great survival skills, and she’s good with a bow and arrow, but it is grossly unfair to judge her through a super-hero lens. I think a lot of people who view Mockingjay negatively do so because they were expecting Katniss to just dust off the trauma of Catching Fire and enthusiastically lead the rebels herself. Cause, you know, that’s what heroes do, evidently. Step aside Coin and Plutarch, this 17 year old introverted girl is ready to lead a rebellion!  How unrealistic is that? And even if you insist on judging her next to super-heroes, let’s remember that Nolan’s Batman got so depressed that he hid away in his mansion for 8 YEARS. Let’s let Katniss hide in some closets for a month or two and deal with the grief and guilt of losing Peeta. If she didn’t show such a level of despair over Peeta, Mockingjay’s critics would probably label her a cold bitch, so the girl just can’t win.

Yes, Katniss suffers from PTSD and it's a big part of Mockingjay. But it would be unrealistic to gloss over her trauma.

Yes, Katniss suffers from PTSD and it’s a big part of Mockingjay. But it would be unrealistic to gloss over her trauma.

To be clear, even though Katniss Everdeen is not a super hero, it doesn’t mean she’s not a hero. It means she’s not some larger-than-life character. Sure, Capitol propaganda in Catching Fire tries to make her seem that way, and the District 13 rebels try a similar approach in Mockingjay. But the REAL Katniss Everdeen, she doesn’t have any special powers or technology or money to make her super-humanly strong or powerful in other ways. SHE’S A GIRL WITH A BIG HEART WHO IS ALSO GOOD WITH A BOW AND ARROW. Her realness and relatability is what so many fans love about her.  It’s because of her heart that she undertakes the heroic journey that leads her to the events of Mockingjay.

What is Mockingjay? It’s dark, it’s challenging. It’s a psychological drama, political thriller, a story of war and sacrifice and death. It says that war is ugly and unfair and the damage done doesn’t get miraculously repaired at the end but takes years to heal.

Suzanne Collins did not write Mockingjay to become a super hero action movie. No one should go into either of the Mockingjay movies expecting to see a super hero action movie. But the plot, the characters, the dialogue, the depth of the themes DO INDEED make it fodder for two great movies.

Two movies with powerful themes that stay with you long after the credits roll.

JJ

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,487 other followers