A few months ago our very own Girl With The Pearl published this article here, and true to form, and/or the nature and purpose of this site, it was written entirely in humor. Today though the hypothesis has become a little, or a lot less of a silly, flippant idea– nope, now it may prove to be an honest to god real thing. There are a few things that The Hunger Games fandom have had to endure over the last several years, one of those things has most definitely been the unadulterated commercialization of the series. Sure, we know the series is successful, we don’t begrudge that, however sometimes I think we can all agree that the money-making schemes that use The Hunger Games as its draw have gone to places that don’t make a lot of us happy, or even comfortable. The Girl With The Pearl doesn’t like Trish Summerville’s partnership with Net-A-Porter and the Capitol Couture line, and I do, so even staff writers on the same site don’t agree on things, but I think today we can all resoundingly agree that the news of Lionsgate seriously considering building a theme park, or theme park ride around The Hunger Games is an extremely ill conceived of venture and idea.
Panem is not a happy place, this is why The Hunger Games trilogy is called Dystopian. So I’m just entirely confused as to how, or why anyone would want to walk through a park, or sit on a ride that glorifies the dystopic world that Suzanne Collins created. The Hunger Games trilogy is not Harry Potter, which was kind always a theme park waiting to happen if you think about it, I mean Diagon Alley was straight out of Dickens, and Hogwarts already looked like Shakespeare and Poe got drunk, and decided to go on a turn about The Haunted Mansion, and killed a few people along the way. In other words, the best time ever!
The Hunger Games has happy moments don’t get me wrong, but come on– those moments aren’t magical, you can’t gloss over the pain, there’s no giant spider named Aragog, and the horrors, you can’t build a movie theme park or ride, around a world that quite literally locks people up, whips them, starves children, forces children to fight to the death, and televises it! That’s just, well– insane, socially irresponsible, and um– sick. Sure, in a twisted sense this is all turning out to potentially be art imitating art, because Suzanne Collins did write that Capitol citizens love visiting arenas from past Hunger Games whilst on expensive package vacations, but that still doesn’t justify the as yet to be defined concept behind this “ride” or “park.” I’ve heard some ideas that it’s going to be something along the lines of Star Tours, the Star Wars ride that’s been running at Disney parks for decades, or like The Back to the Future Ride that has also been running for decades as well. But, those films don’t quite go to the same dark places as The Hunger Games– frankly comparison wise, those film franchises are a lot more tame. Sure, Star Wars has an empire ruling a galaxy, but you sure as hell don’t see Darth Vader killing kids on TV and selling, and packaging it as the entertainment highlight of the year. The galaxy in Star Wars wasn’t even
informed that an entire planet was destroyed to get information out of a scared girl, and Snow totally did the same thing– and used it for propaganda purposes later on. I don’t even know what could be plucked from The Hunger Games and condensed into a ride? What, the ride to the Capitol? It’s not exactly exciting, unless they want to throw in some intense imagery, evoking PTSD like feelings, which only masochists and sadists would be into.
There are some weird theme parks out there, I have to admit that. Like the Bible theme park in Florida, or a Christian evangelical museum where animatronic dinosaurs carry Jesus around, or something. And then there’s Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, which I don’t even like putting into the same category as the Christian themed things, ’cause yeah– dinosaurs did not carry humans around, not even Jesus. So, Powers That Be, please don’t make light of The Hunger Games, you can sell us clothes, and pins, and albums of music– but a theme park or ride based in a series about trauma, starvation, social upheaval, oppression, violence, oh and love– it’s not the best idea you’ve had, and it’s highly recommended that you reconsider.
I do kind of want to see Johanna Mason on a dinosaur.
Them There Eyes
I’m pretty up on current events, I watch both the local and the national news, I have the CNN app on my phone, I follow several news outlets on Twitter, and I listen to NPR, the BBC, and PRI almost daily, because I spend an unfortunate amount of time in my car. So, when I was making dinner for myself this evening (baked chicken, and green beans if you’re at all curious), and I heard this story being presented on CBS News’ evening broadcast, I stopped what I was doing, stood there in my kitchen and possibly said out loud something akin to, “you have got to be fucking with me?”
See, if you’re unwilling to click on the link above, this is the gist: professional athletes are or could now go public. If you don’t know what that means, this is what it means, professional athletes can now be considered like corporations or businesses that have stock options and the like, i.e. professional athletes can now be bought off in pieces– just like Tributes, or Victors. Sure pro athletes have seemingly always been sponsored by big corporations, think Tiger Woods and his Nike endorsement, or Shaun White with his
Burton endorsement. But, this is different, now you can buy shares in a specific athlete, and not have them shill for your company– because the shareholder can for all intents and purposes be your friendly high school gym teacher who happens to also like to trade in stocks. I’m both intrigued by this concept, and totally freaked out by it at the same time, because like what I said above, this makes our professional athletes seem even more like the Tributes from The Hunger Games. It also makes them seem even more like the gladiators of ancient Rome, whom Suzanne Collins was partially inspired by in the writing of The Hunger Games trilogy. Gladiators were commodities, just like Tributes and Victors, just like professional athletes are today, and they were sponsored usually by rich Roman citizens, supplying them with armor, food, and worldly pleasures. So, to me at least we as a society are one step closer to The Hunger Games not being a figment of a nice lady from Connecticut’s imagination. Go us!
I have the uncanny urge to rewatch Rome.
Them There Eyes
I’ve noticed this odd, but wholly predictable trend happening amongst the cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire– and it’s a fashion gap. This isn’t a big reveal-y topic mind you, it’s just a silly little observation, but there is definite favoritism where it comes to fashion and fashionable amongst the cast, and it’s seemingly split decisively down the middle between the males, and the females. I noticed it over the last few days, and mostly because members of the cast were very visible at the recently concluded Comic-Con 2013– the ladies were dressed to impress, but the men were dressed for comfort.
The Casual Vs. The Painfully Planned. There is no doubt about it that Jennifer Lawrence has stepped up to the fashion plate over the last couple of years. She’s had some hits, and she’s had some misses, but I think she’s come into her own– and knows what to say no, and what to say yes to. Last Saturday (July 20th), she showed up in the press-line preceding The Catching Fire panel at Comic-Con in a well planned, and fashionable out-fit. The color scheme was on trend (black and white), actually everything was, all the way down to her lace detailed opened toed black heels. She even stayed on trend later that day when she changed into a fitted white ruched dress for The X-Men: Days of Future Past panel. However, when you stood Jennifer next to her co-star, and good friend Josh Hutcherson, there was a fashion disconnect happening– and mostly on his part. True, Josh gets points for trying to color scheme his clothing (gray), but in all honesty he looks like he could be going out to hang out with his buddies, not network, and promote one of the biggest franchises in the modern world. I think this says less about Josh than it does about our own society though, because it’s simply right there for the taking. Women are expected to be on point at all times, have their hair coiffed, lipstick in place, and not a nipple out of place– but men, at least from an image stand point can show up to one of the biggest entertainment industry events of the year, and just seemingly not care what they look like at all.
The Unfairness of Fashion. It’s screamingly true that there is an uncomfortable unfairness happening in fashion, actually it’s an unfairness that seems to have been here since the dawn of fashion. The corset for example: Horrible thing that it is– it’s been around for centuries, and guess what, it’s still around, it’s still glamorized, and they’re built into prom dresses across the planet! It’s a perpetuated myth that women are supposed to be shaped a certain way, when frankly not one woman is shaped exactly alike. Uniqueness is also a contradictory trait that’s bombarded at every fashion conscious human being on this world, and I say contradictory, because we’re all told to be shaped a certain way, but also have something special about us, something enticing. So what happens? Easy, the same shade of lipstick, or same colored top, or shoes, or watch, or wallet, or sunglasses, or hair color is shoved down our collective throats– because that’s what will make us unique, yes– having the exact same lunchbox as your best friend in grade school is still the basic need we have in life. Well, at least according to the mass media. What does this have to do with The Hunger Games though? Simple– Suzanne Collins and the women in charge of visualizing the fashion styles she envisioned in the made up world of Panem, pulled from our own reality.
Unless you’re Lenny Kravitz.
Them There Eyes
Yeah, I know it’s a rumor. Yeah, I know it’s all unsubstantiated. And, yeah I know this has been covered about a million-trillion-billion different ways, evidenced by my inbox being flooded with Google alerts of articles, blurbs, and sky writing on the subject, but those millions-trillions-billions of ways are not my ways. Julianne Moore is rumored to be in talks for the coveted role of President Alma Coin, and for me this rumor is validation for all the ideas that have popped into my head, all the ones where I thought “that’ll never happen, Rebekah– go back to your corner, and think other things!” Nope, nuh uh, no sir-y, not this time, because this time an actress I personally fantasy cast in a substantial role, that I did not keep to myself, because I have kept many to myself– may actually get the part. At least that’s what I sacrificed my left toe for last week. Just kidding!
Yes, I know Julianne Moore was featured in a Campaigning for Coin article last week, but I’m gonna lay some behind the scenes info for you, she probably wouldn’t have made the line-up if I hadn’t put her name into the original pool of names that the fan-site contributors voted up or down on. See, I was the organizer of the preliminaries before the on going Campaigning for Coin articles were written up, and went live. I’d been collecting names, and photos, and ages on almost 100 actresses for months, and Julianne Moore was one of those women. And now I shall reveal more, because Julianne wasn’t even one of the most voted on actresses at any stage during the voting process, which lasted about two weeks if you’re at all curious, and Julianne in reality– sort of fell in the middle. Which pained me so, ’cause I’d already gotten on the Julianne Moore Train to District 13 or Bust Tour a long ass time ago! Naturally, I’m talking about that I had written a fan-casting article about Julianne Moore, along with Annette Bening, being a good choices for Coin– seven months ago. Sadly Annette Bening didn’t make the cut in that extensive voting process. Julianne did though, and for that I am grateful, also because many of the people who I also think would make totally kick-ass Alma Coins didn’t make the cut, like– not even slightly. However, many people that I don’t think would make awesome Alma Coins did make the cut, so– Even Steven as is said in some circles, right?
Yeah, I know I’m “tooting my own horn” here, but seriously, how often do fandom members get to do that at all, especially where it comes to something positive, like an Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe winning actress being cast in a role that brings more prestige, and respect to a franchise that’s allegedly geared at a certain base audience that many of us haven’t been a part of for several years? I’ll answer that question easily for you all, because the answer is NEVER. So, what do I say to all this? Just lemme have this one guys, just let it go, let this be a happy thing, a happy rumor, a happy moment for this franchise, let the ragging, and the “she’s not who I pictured… she’s not so and so, or such and such…” No she’s not, she’s Julianne Moore, and she’s one of the top actresses in her age bracket, and face it– in her field. The lady has played every kind of person imaginable; from drug addict, to house wife, to porn star, to performance artist, to painter, to doctor, to the potential vice president of the United States of America. If her dossier doesn’t pique your confidence in her abilities, then I don’t know what will– because the lady is not just the annoying pregnant woman from Nine Months. And, if you see Alma Coin as a crone in her 60s or 70s, then I’d suggest you stop that ASAP, because clearly the casting director, Francis Lawrence, Suzanne Collins, and well– Katniss Everdeen are not on the same page as you. So, get with the fancy times, and envision Alma Coin as a woman in her early 50s, who may possibly be a natural red-head.
Oh, if Lionsgate and/or Debra Zane wants to pull from any of my other casting ideas, Michael Cudlitz is available.
Them There Eyes
It was a small blurb in USA Today, but it definitely caught our attention. During the Book Expo America, Suzanne Collins said that she plans to write another young adult series after she’s done consulting on the scripts for Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 (bonus confirmation that she’ll be involved with those scripts as well!).
It makes us excited but a little nervous to look beyond The Hunger Games, even though we’ve still got plenty of movies to go. Suzanne released a children’s book last fall, Year of the Jungle, but hasn’t released anything in the YA genre since Mockingjay. She said nothing else about her plans, so it opens up a lot of questions. Is she going to stick with the dystopian genre or go for something else? Will she stick with a female heroine? Will she even keep her first person writing style? Suzanne Collins is also known for writing The Underland Chronicles, which, while hitting on themes of war that exist in her other works, deviates in genre and point of view and has a male protagonist.
One of the pitfalls for her to avoid is the expectation that she’ll be writing another Hunger Games. It’s a lot of pressure for her to come back with another cultural phenomenon, but also, no one wants a re-hash of an already beloved series.
We’re looking forward to what’s next from Suzanne Collins. She’s a great voice to have in the young adult genre. What we like about her writing is that she helps start the conversation about tough issues like war for young people without coddling them or dumbing it down, and that’s important. There’s an intelligence in her writing that we are certain will be there in her upcoming future project.
Sorry for the rhyming title guys
Sometimes, when hearing unconfirmed rumors regarding the Hunger Games movies, we’re so wrapped up in wanting confirmation at the time, but then, we don’t even realize it when we get it if it comes with other, shinier treasures like the first movie stills. In the Entertainment Weekly article that came out last week, there was a lot of that going around, but what really jumped out at me was the news about just why Michael Arndt was tapped for the screenplay.
To refresh your memory, here is the quote:
Originally Simon Beaufoy was hired to write the adaptation under Ross’ supervision. When Ross left, so did Beaufoy.
Huge news for us since we had NOT heard a thing before this saying that Beaufoy actually backed out completely; we just assumed that Arndt was doing rewrites. Rather unfortunate, but that’s Hollywood for you.
But that’s not all. It continues with:
Director [Francis] Lawrence and author Suzanne Collins holed up for three days in her publisher’s office with take-out food and chocolate. Together they drafted the film’s outline.
Again REALLY big news. One of the biggest questions we had about Catching Fire prior to this article was just how involved has Suzanne Collins been this time around. We all knew about how well she and Gary Ross worked together, but there was a huge question mark about her and Francis Lawrence. So ten or so months down the line, when the inevitable grumbling about why such and such was changed or left out of the movie, we will know that Suzanne Collins had a say.
And then of course Michael Arndt was brought on to pretty much fill in the outline with his undoubtedly smart dialogue. If you’ve seen Little Miss Sunshine, you know what I’m talking about.
So in case you missed this little revelation, you’re welcome. It’s easy to miss since it wasn’t even in the main article.
Now let’s talk about Plutarch’s pajamas
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out this weekend, and I can’t be more psyched! I’ve got my midnight showing tickets and everything.
When I was in high school, the Lord of the Rings movies came out, and I was very much in one of my first real fandoms, in tandem with Harry Potter of course. I owe a lot to the Lord of the Rings, the way I owe a lot to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games as well.
While The Hunger Games is grounded very much in a possible future reality (as in several hundred years in the future, the Hunger Games could happen), Tolkien’s books are more a fantasy story disguised as a (fictional) history. There are tons of differences between the two, but at the heart of it, they are very similar.
Keep in mind, The Hobbit is very much about an adventure whereas The Lord of the Rings is a tale of war and good vs. evil. While they are of the same universe and by the same author, they are distinct in tone. The Hobbit is often called a children’s book because of this (that is something I would contest, though).
Themes very important to both The Hunger Games and Tolkien’s books, mainly the Lord of the Rings trilogy, are war and loss. While Suzanne Collins drew inspiration from her father’s time in the Vietnam War and the affects it had on both of them, Tolkien served in the British Army during World War I, spending time in the trenches and losing some of his closest friends. The Dead Marshes in particular were his interpretation of the effects of trench warfare.
As movies, The Lord of the Rings trilogy – and likely The Hobbit trilogy will follow in its footsteps – is a cinematic masterpiece, what I like to refer to as THE Standard for all book-to-movie adaptations. It’s what I hope The Hunger Games movies aspire to be like. We hope that, like with Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations, the changes from book to movie make the story better. We hope that the technical aspects, from direction to editing to effects to score and everything in between are of LOTR quality. If done correctly, The Lord of the Rings could have opened some doors for The Hunger Games (especially when Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 come out) to be accepted with similar critical acclaim, despite prejudices against its genre.
Not very many of the folks reading this blog (including the writers themselves) were alive when Tolkien’s books were released. We don’t really know first hand what that phenomenon was like. But I do have my dad’s old Lord of the Rings books (he lent his Hobbit book to his brother who never gave it back) in my possession so I can imagine it. It makes you appreciate the Hunger Games fandom even more, since as The Hunger Games became quite the phenomenon, The Lord of the Rings came before and helped pave the way.
After continuously discussing (and sometimes poking fun at) all the dark themes in The Hunger Games trilogy, we sometimes forget that Suzanne Collins has spent the majority of her career writing for children and middle grade audiences.
From Little Bear to Clarissa Explains it All to The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne has done a lot to educate and connect with younger generations. Now, she’s at it again with the autobiographical picture book Year of the Jungle, which will be released in Fall 2013.
Some people are disappointed, to say the least. They were hoping to get more Hunger Games-esque writing that they could spend several nights soaking in, but Suzanne went the children’s book route this time, meaning they’ll have to wait another couple years before the possibility of another YA book from Suzanne even pops up.
What these people don’t realize is that Year of the Jungle could be a pretty damn important book! Here’s why:
The Hunger Games trilogy and Year of the Jungle were both inspired by the same event in Suzanne’s life: Her father’s deployment to Vietnam when she was just seven years old. While The Hunger Games covers the life of the soldier whose choice to go into battle isn’t necessarily his or her own, Year of the Jungle promises to do something you almost never see in popular media. It gets down on children’s levels and talks to them about what it means to have a parent go to war. Without getting into the gore of physical or psychological warfare, it tells kids that it’s okay to be curious and concerned and scared about war. It admits that there’s a possibility that there will be very big changes in their lives, but they are not the reason for these changes. Above all, it gives them hope that despite the worry and changes and scary bits, they’ll still be okay in the end.
It’s something that many children can relate to these days. Though if they were the ones writing the book several years down the line, they’d probably call it Year of the Desert.
Remember all that time when we wondered where the hell Suzanne went? Looks like she was diving into this, at least for a chunk of it. To that, we say BRAVO! Suzanne is one of not-very-many authors qualified to discuss a child’s take on war on a personal level, so she can reach out to these children and lift up their spirits in ways that others can’t. Whether it was intentional or not, it’s great to see her use the experience to help.
I Kept Writing “Yeah of the Jungle”… I Blame My Accent,
The Girl With The Pearl
Admission: We fangirl stalk authors. Sure, the characters are fascinating and the movies are (usually) pretty great and the actors are charming. But the authors… AHHH! To be the person who created that whole world we love so much! They are the real rockstars!
We know that many of you readers out there feel the same way. You, like us, have watched every Suzanne Collins interview, taken in every bit of writing advice she gives, tried to figure out her EXACT birthday, looked over the very few photos of her from the premiere, and hoped that you could somehow absorbed all that genius.
Which is why we’re kind of bummed that we don’t have more Suzanne Collins in our lives.
Don’t get us wrong! Suzanne has her right to privacy. We don’t want her getting stalked by paparazzi or forcing her own image out all over the Internet. She has her own private life and freedoms and that is fabulous! The woman doesn’t owe us anything, obviously. We just miss her!
Since the first movie started filming, Suzanne Collins has essentially disappeared into the woodwork. There’s been a couple interviews with carefully selected sources (because if you can decide to only discuss your series with the New York Times and the like, good on ya!) She’s been to the movie premiere and she’s been spotted on set, but Hunger Games related sightings are at a minimum.
We understand that book tours or even book events a la JK Rowling aren’t her thing. And while some great authors are on Tumblr and seem to manage the chaos rather successfully, we wouldn’t want Suzanne to put up with the pure idiocy that rages in their ask boxes or the hate blogs that pop up. But why not discuss the creation of the series on the DVD special features, instead of having others tell their interpretation of HER story? Did she not want to discuss any initial reservations in selling the movie rights or the script writing process or watching the film blossom from casting to the final product?
Then there’s interviews. Surely, there’s a few more reputable sources that can ask Suzanne intelligent, in-depth questions about her career and the series if she’s willing to answer them. It’s not because she needs the promotion– she certainly does not– but it’s a fascinating thing for us fangirl stalker types to read and read again!
Which leads us to this question: Is Suzanne Collins totally over it? Not the Hunger Games on the whole, mind you! We imagine she’s immensely proud of the series and will forever love it. But is she over discussing it? When something you’ve created becomes one of the most talked about topics in entertainment, maybe discussing it more feels like beating a dead horse? She’s probably answered the same questions a thousand times over, like a never-ending press junket from hell. Maybe Suzanne is so shy and modest that she doesn’t want to make a big deal out of this phenomenon, even while everybody else does. Maybe she really does just want to get some privacy while she raises her kids (and hopefully writes her next novel.) We’ve never been responsible for a phenomenon, so we can’t really tell you.
All we know is that we miss you, Suzanne! We respect your privacy, but girl, we love it when you briefly step out into the spotlight to promote your personal brand of spectacular!
Unless You’re Writing Another Book, In Which Case.. BACK TO WORK!
The Girl With The Pearl
It’s Twiffidy’s turn for a nice little vacation and in her absence, we present the debut of a NEW Hunger Games blogger! ..Well, Satsuma here is a guest blogger, but she know her stuff!
Satsuma has got some strong, insightful opinions for all you readers who think the film should simply be fan service. Read and be enlightened!
Well, if the VV admins accept this post, then I guess I might be starting off my official THG blogging career by ticking off many of my readers. But hopefully I’ll make you think a little.
I actually have two major points in this post. One is, as the title states, The Movies Are Not Made for You. The other is, as a related point, really, The Movies Are Not Books On Tape with Pictures.
Okay, back to The Movies Are Not Made for You. What do I mean? I mean, that the lovely producers, directors, screenwriters, casting coordinators, etc. that are in charge of creating the movies do NOT have you in mind when deciding who to cast, what scenes and dialogue to include, etc. They are NOT interested in who you, personally, dream about at night playing Finnick Odair, or what dialogue you’ve memorized so well that you can repeat it in your sleep. Or what costumes you might have doodled on a piece of lined, 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper when you’re supposed to be taking notes in class or in some business meeting. And so, if they don’t grant your every wish when it comes to the CF movie, they are NOT trying to make you cry and stomp your feet. Or throw the eventual Blu-Ray/DVD of the movie across your living room.
I can predict, for example, that CF is not going to have Peeta trip on a ice cube, fall down the stairs, and sustain a compound fracture of his left leg requiring amputation. Movie!Peeta is, officially, NOT bereft of any limbs, and this is NOT meant to be a personal insult to you. Also, I find this common complaint extremely ironic, and almost hypocritical, in light of the many examples of THG fanart I’ve seen that shows post-THG Peeta with either the most realistic-looking prosthesis ever invented, or with legs that are both composed of flesh and blood. I can also predict that, quite likely, the Avox story will NEVER make it into the movies. Well, at least, the CF movie. MJ being two movies, might give them room to slip them in. But again, if the introduction of the Avoxes is delayed until then, that’s not meant as a diabolical plan to make you pace the floor in frustrated anticipation.
Now, does this mean that I think there’s no point in discussing what we either wanted in the THG movie, or hope to see in the CF movie? No, not at all, and I’d be a hypocrite if I said that. I’ve made my displeasure at parts of THG, as well as hopes for what I want to see (or don’t want to see) in the CF movie, known on both Victor’s Village and other fansites. But at the end of the day, do I let thoughts of memorable Peeta lines that I wish, really wish, were included in the movie, keep me tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep? No. (My next-door neighbor’s stereo system, on the other hand…) That’s because I realize that in the end, I really shouldn’t let decisions made by people who live hundreds of miles from me, some of whom make hundred times the money I do, and who have likely had hundreds of people already tell them what they want from the movie, even though it’s impossible to meet every single one of their demands, actually cause me angst and agitation. Well, not beyond a few minutes worth, anyway.
The corollary to my premise, that movie-makers really aren’t trying to either fulfill every personal fantasy of every Hunger Games fan regarding casting, screenwriting, and directing, OR deliberately frustrate such fantasies, is that many of the differences between the books and the movies are simply due to there being, you know, a difference between a book and a movie. Some of the comments I’ve noticed, really make me wonder, do fans of this franchise want to see a movie, or a book-on-tape with cool pictures?
There is simply no way a movie with a run time of, say, two hours and 30 minutes, can include everything from a 400-page book. Not even TWO movies with run times of two hours and 30 minutes each. Yes, I even anticipate there will be some actual CUTS (oh, the humanity), made to the Mockingjay story; such as, I really don’t expect to see every single Katniss nightmare shown in agonizing detail. No way can a movie include every single syllable of dialogue, every single scene, even every single character from a book. (I know, the HUMANITY, again.) And, you know, there is much more to a successful movie adaptation, than exactly how many check boxes the avid THG fans can check off while using the light from their cell phones to follow along in the book they brought in with the popcorn, while scribbling notations in the margins to capture every supposed inconsistency.
I’m assuming most of you have seen actual movies that were based on original concepts and screenplays, not adaptations of books, cartoons, cancelled TV shows, or black-and-white old movie. (I know, such movies seem to be getting scarcer by the day, but they’re not completely extinct yet!) And the truth is that IS a difference between showing something in a visual medium, without a constant stream of words providing continuous narration, and reading a book that relies on words, not pictures. For example, the lack of Katniss voice-over in THG, which some people have criticized. But let’s take the scene where Katniss finds out that Peeta is with the Career Pack. In the book, she goes into bitter, angry detail about how she thinks he was just playing another game with her with his noble statements on the rooftop, and details her wish to see his face in the sky. Which, you know, is the same as wishing him dead.
So, let’s say that the screenwriters decide to have J-Law narrate a voice-over of this. Well, if we have her just sitting in a tree glaring down at the Careers while this voice-over unfolds, that’s probably at least a minute we devote to just this voice-over. As opposed to, you know, actual advancement of the story. In a 2hr 40 min, or 160 min, movie, one minute is 1/160th of the time. Which is the same, proportionally, as almost 3 pages of a 400 page book. Much more than the original few paragraphs. Now, I’m not saying voice-over should be completely banned, but overuse of it will turn a movie into, as I mentioned before, simply a book-on-tape with pretty pictures.
Suzanne Collins herself has stated that she sees the movies as *complementing* the books, not simply *complimenting* them with a sluggish word-by-word carbon copy of an adaptation. And the THG movie, while it deprived us of some parts of the book, such as Katniss’s narration, also showed us parts of Panem that we didn’t get to see (or, okay visualize, unless you’re withdrawing from white liquor, I hope you didn’t actually SEE scenes from a fictional book come to life in front of you). Such as the actual Game control room, Snow’s reaction, the D11 riot, and the ironic fate of Seneca Crane. Did I find it perfect? No. The lack of signature Bread Boy lines really does bother me, even if it doesn’t deprive me of beauty sleep. Mostly because Movie!Peeta winds up being such a different character, really, than Book!Peeta, much more than how Movie!Katniss is different from Book!Katniss. And I’m not talking about their eye color, or how “built” either of them are.
But that’s really more a complaint about something I see part of the essence of the book. And I guess I didn’t find the existence of Madge Undersee, the pronouncement of Effie Trinket’s name, or the mention of what you’re called after the Capitol cuts out your tongue for being a traitor, to be essential to the story. And I found enough of the essence of the tale to be present, that I really did find the movie to be a great ADAPTATION of the book. (Not perfect, but I also realize that a movie I saw as perfect would likely be horrible to at least a dozen other people.) I hope for the same for Catching Fire.
Again, I don’t mean to suggest that people should stop discussing issues of what they liked/didn’t like about THG, and what they hope/expect for CF (okay, to be exact, THG:CF). Just that, maybe, some of us might enjoy this ride a little more if we stopped taking things so personally, and realized that no book-to-movie adaptation is going to be a complete replica in terms of dialogue, character presentation, and overall story-line. And that taking a check-list approach to the movies is going to result in a much more diminished experience, than, well, to try to see it as a movie first, and as a book adaptation second.
Just a thought,