Friday, March 23, 2012

What March 23rd Means To Me: The Hunger Games Opens

Clearly, I'm very excited.  And if the lines around the corner of your local movie theater are any indication, a decent sized percentage of the public is too.

I've kept my head out of most of the reviews, though I know word has been good, and yes, I'm fully aware the movie will not be as good as the book. And though the trailer provides hints of the storytelling, I am excited to see how director Gary Ross handled one certain aspect of the book.

Katniss's POV/POV of Panem

For those who don't know, the Hunger Games itself is a televised fight to the death in an enormous arena.  Cameras are omnipresent (and hidden), but every single one of their moves is captured for all of Panem to witness.  Since the book is written in first person style (from Katniss's point of view), the author allowed us to plunge into the arena with Katniss and, though the fact that it was a TV show wasn't forgotten, the author never really dealt with the logistics because she didn't need to.  And we never saw how the public reacted to the events in the arena, though we could infer here and there. 

But movies, unfortunately, cannot truly be told in the first person.  Within the world of the book, our minds can fill in the blanks, allowing us to imagine how, for example, District 11 reacts after Katniss's swan song to Rue.  But since movies fill in the blanks for you, and we need to be constantly reminded of the power of the television show, handling this dichotomy was probably one of the major challenges to the director.  My best guess is that he jumps back and forth, and does so in a way that provides an intimate look into Katniss's time within the arena, while still displaying the power of the games to the Panem public. I imagine cuts to district wide viewing parties in large public squares.  Cheering sections and tears. Stuff like that.  Also, since, I assume, Prim will be character throughout the movie, we'll see glimpses of her watching Katniss in the arena from her home in District 12.  It'll be interesting to see how Ross pullsthis all off. 

Other thoughts...

The Love Triangle

I keep hearing people claiming things like, "I'm so glad they didn't pull a Twilight and concentrate on the love triangle (between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale)."  Every time I hear this, I wonder if they read the same book as I did.  While Collins's kind of forcefeeds us the love triangle in the second two books, it's not really all that existent in the first.  There's so much that needs to be established about the world and games, that the "love triangle" mainly exists in the background.  I can't imagine a movie version of this that features a love triangle considering Gale really isn't in the book all that much (save for in Katniss's thoughts from time to time).

The Money Scene

The scene in which Katniss and the other tributes first enter the arena has the potential to be the most intense, coolest scene in the movie.  Can't wait to see this one.

Social Commentary

Much has been made of the social commentary behind The Hunger Games, though I'm not sure of how much of it was intended to go beyond a surface level.  Though it certainly touches on the idea of totalitarianism (bad!), class warfare (badder!), oppression (baddest!), the book only lightly broached the subject and mostly concentrated on Katniss's personal story.  Sure, there are discussion points that can be created from the text, but the book doesn't really dwell on making some grand statement and never hints of any intention to do so.  I hope the movie doesn't either, as it would be a poor platform for it.

Lookin forward to tonight!

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