Friday, April 6, 2012

so about the hunger games...


To those of you who love them forever and ever amen...read on.
To those of you who are sick of hearing about them (oh, can I relate)...read on.

Let's start at the very beginning--a very good place to start (Sound of Music, anyone?).

caution: spoiler alert.  sorry.

I read the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy on the way to/from Florida during my spring break.  Yes, I went into them with a rather cynical attitude--I had heard so much about them (and yeah, too many people gave away spoilers) that I wondered if it would really stack up to its reputation.  But I also dove into it fully expecting to be convinced of its incredibleness and to be a totally converted fan by the end.

So, I finished it.  Aaaand I had to process it for awhile afterward.  I was in the van with some definite Hunger Games fans who were all eager to know what I thought.  My honest answer at that point?  It was weird.  I didn't really know what to think of it.  I didn't care for the way it ended with Katniss being all indecisive with Peeta, for one thing.  But honestly, I wasn't emotionally involved at all.  It made me sad when Rue died, yeah.  And somewhere in my brain I thought, "Hey, kids are killing and being killed.  This is bothersome."  But it didn't bother me, not personally.  I didn't get wrapped up in it.  Which, when I actually thought about it, is kinda bothersome in and of itself--that I wasn't bothered more by the horrific plotline.

All in all though, I didn't dislike the book.  I really didn't.  I just thought it was...weird, and interesting.  And after getting through it, I honestly could not understand where the huge obsession came from.  It wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't spectacular.

So what was I to do?  I saw the movie.  I was excited to see it.  I thought that here at least, something would impress me.  People who love books don't rave about movies made from them if they stink, right?  Wrong.  I didn't even care for the book that much, and I'm still a book purist.  There were just little things I didn't appreciate that had been changed--where the mockingjay pin came from, Katniss not screaming Peeta's name when she finds out they both can live, the way the ending was so awfully incomplete.  And before we even get into my real thoughts about the movie, what the heck was going on with the shaky, close-up cinematography?  I didn't care for that at all.

But.  But.  It was a good movie, as far as standards go.  And I guess that's what I'm really wanting to write about.  Standards.

I really don't mean to hate on anyone who liked it--just...think about this.  I know there were people that sobbed during the whole movie.  I, once again, was not emotionally involved at all.  I was sickened by what I saw onscreen, but I wasn't...touched.  I gathered no message, I saw no redeeming points, and--blasphemy, I know--even Peeta himself did absolutely nothing for me.  The only part that remotely made me want to cry was when Katniss volunteers for Prim, and that I'm pretty sure only because I can relate to the whole sister thing.  The rest--nothing.  Sure, it was sad when Rue died, once again.  But what about the rest of the deaths?

Are we supposed to be somehow happy when Thresh beats that girl against the Cornucopia, killing her, sparing Katniss?  Should we be glad that there's "one more down" when Cato snaps the boy's neck or Foxface is poisoned?  Should we be rejoicing when Cato gets mauled to death (and oh, thank you to whatever movie makers decided to cut that part short)?  Why are we entertained by this?

Now please--don't think it's just that I "can't stomach blood" or "get freaked out easily" or even that I never watch movies where killing takes place.  I can, I don't, and I do.  But should I be okay with this?

There's this sick sense of irony in fanship of The Hunger Games.  I've heard the argument, "Hey, Katniss and Peeta didn't agree with the Games.  All the districts had to watch them and they didn't like them either.  We're not saying it's good--we know the Capitol is evil."  Well first of all--the districts, watching the games...they are fictional.  Okay, glad we got that straight.  But we are real, we are really watching this, and we're not even being the districts.  We're being those colorful people in the Capitol with their ridiculous attire and insane love for the "fun" which is the Games.  We say how awful it is that the Capitol would force the Games plus make people watch them, and yet we're the ones in real life out supporting it and watching it for entertainment.  And obsessing over it and not caring that 22 children had to kill each other out there.  But it's okay because the only characters we care about survived.

Bah, the more I think about it, the more disgusted I am.  Seriously, America?  This is what we're obsessing over?  This is the only taste we have?  This is what we enjoy seeing on screen?  Are we so desensitized that this no longer bothers us?  What is wrong with us?

To summarize how I put it on facebook:


I read the book and was not impressed and enthralled like everyone said I would be. I was hardly emotionally involved at all.
the movie (the style of which I actually found kinda obnoxious with the whole shaky, out-of-focus, way close up deal) just took it to a whole different level and the more I think about it, the less I like it. it's not the killing itself...goodness knows I've read/seen enough of that on screen. I just think there's a strange irony in the fact that in the movie, they say "what if everyone rebelled & didn't watch the games" and watching it we're all like "yeah, how sick it is that they do that"...and yet in real life, we're the ones actually watching it for entertainment. ugh. so messed up.
I gave it the benefit of the doubt, guys. I went in thinking I would like the hunger games just like everyone else. in the end it's rather sickening, and it just doesn't stack up to real, good literature.


So that's my opinion.  It's rather strong, I know, compared to all the love the story gets.  I know there's two more books, including a revolution against the evil Capitol.  Argue with me.  Tell me if there's some redeeming quality I missed.  Because dang, the only thing I caught was a sense of sick, sad irony.

47 comments:

  1. THANK YOU. I thought I was the only person in the world who had this conclusion. I haven't seen the movie, but after (several months!) of reflection over the first book, I had the same thoughts as those you expressed in your post.
    I'm not sure I'll see the movie - I'm exceedingly annoyed with all the fangirling, and that's really turned me off.
    But thank you for posting - thank you sooo much. I don't feel like an isolated idiot anymore. :)

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    1. haha, I know--I went and saw it with a bunch of friends and was so glad that a few of them came to the same conclusion & I wasn't alone. but don't watch the movie...it's not worth it. if you already felt that way about the book, the movie just amplifies it tenfold.

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  2. okayyy....I just read the first book, and I've been attempting to process it, but it's hard to look at it objectively when all my friends (most, I should say!) and people I admire are raving about it. I am sickened by the plot line--I mean, seriously! Kids killing kids, and we're supposed to think it's bad, but then again not really. (If that made any sense.) A big point in the book is about how the people of the Capitol were desensitized against watching this, but think about it: people are flocking to the theaters to watch...teens killing other teens. That's worse than ironic.
    That said, I also did enjoy certain parts of the book...the love between Katniss and Prim, how she took on the role of provider for her family, and her relationship with Peeta.
    Enough of my ramblings...to sum up my thoughts, I thought the book was interesting and definitely made me think, but something about it is just wrong.
    xx// the soul sistah :)

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    1. it totally makes sense. and yeah, if you felt like something was a little off with the book, even if you did like parts (like I said, I did find the book interesting)--the movie isn't worth it. it's not something I'd recommend.

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  3. I haven't read or watched The Hunger Games, so I've avoided saying anything negative. (or anything at all)
    But I love it that you pointed out the irony. Finally! Someone else sees it.

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  4. I haven't read the books or watched the movie, and honestly, I don't want to. Even listening to everyone who's in love with it, I still cannot see the big deal. There's nothing cool or cute about gladiatorial battles. Like you, I've seen killing in books and movies, but this is just....sick. Anyways, that's my opinion.

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  5. I agree with you! While I "liked" the book, I wasn't emotionally attached. I didn't cry when Rue died in the book or the movie. I just didn't feel connected. And, yes, I wasn't really bothered by it, which is scary, actually. I don't know. We're reading it for my literature class, so I'm looking forward to the conversations that we have.

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    1. yeah, I'm glad I'm not the only "heartless" one! hahah. it sounds like we're kinda on the same page for this, as far as the book goes. and yeah, talking about it should be cool! I think people should stop praising it to the skies and consider other opinions at least. ;p

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  6. Um. okay, you're basically one of my favorite people right now and we've never even met! Every person I know who has read the books loved them. I made it through one and 1/2, but I didn't finish the rest because it just felt wrong to me. This post definitely pointed out why. Very well said.

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  7. I love the pictures! I didn't read about your 'review'(I guess that's what I can call it) because we plan on watching that movie and I don't want to know what happens!! But I bet you did a good job! :)

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  8. So, I agree with you mostly. That is exactly how I felt when I watched the movie. The irony of it was definitely not lost on me.

    When I read the books, it was before all this hullaballoo (which I thought was rather silly). It was before the directors even dreamed of directing this movie. I read it without the cynicism I'm sure I would have if I had just read it now. If I read it now, my mind would already be comparing it with junk literature like Twilight (which I haven't read, really). I definitely could not come on it with an clear, analytical mind.

    So, I liked it. The books had more than just about killing people. To me, I didn't become the capitol. I was Katniss when I read it. And there was more to it than just her romance, and killing people. The themes in my opinion were a lot more complex in the books than the movies.

    I still have trouble saying I liked the books around a procession of fangirls who are raving about Peeta and etc, but I will admit to you, that I did like them. They do not have the depth of say, Tale of Two Cities, or Jane Eyre (it cannot compare), but they had more meaning than I think the movie made them out to have.

    Love,
    Rebekah

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    1. I think you're right--I would have come at the books very differently if there hadn't been so much obsession over them. because I think it's the obsession that makes it so ironic. and I also agree about what you said concerning the books having more depth (though I still don't get any redeeming "themes")--the movie is what really turned me off, and I think that's a shame.

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  9. In the movie, Thresh kills that girl by bashing her against the cornucopia? That's not correct.
    Haven't seen the movie, but books will always be better, irregardless of the topic. And I liked the books fairly well. Still, Les Miserable triumphs.

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    1. no. no, it isn't. yeah, don't see the movie--not worth watching.
      and yes, Les Mis basically triumphs anything. (:

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    2. I don't usually watch book to film adaptations anyways (except Lord of the Rings, of course), but I'll definitely be staying away from it. The books are a trickier subject, but I know I was confused/ emotionally bewildered when I finished the first one. How much of that had to do with finishing them at two in the morning, I don't know, but I felt like the emotional impact was similar to that of reading 1984 or the like. Still, I'm glad you're willing to form an opinion on it. And I'm glad you told me to read Les Mis.

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  10. Jenn,

    It was good to hear your insight about The Hunger Games. I personally have not read the books or seen the movie but I have heard a lot about them! Wondering why it was the "buzz", I checked into the storyline {by reading blog posts, etc.} and was like, "Wow, why would this be popular." It is amazing what people will support {like you said}. And yes, it's not making since that someone would watch the movie for entertainment they themselves mirroring the characters of the Capitol...and the thrill of killing. It is so twisted.

    Ah, what a world we live in. I pray that those of us who are Christians will use discernment in what we choose to read or watch...because it will make some sort of an impact on us. God's Word is the ultimate "filter".

    Blessings on your Easter!
    ~Moriah

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  11. Yes, totally agree. I mean, I haven't seen it, but I really don't want to now. I don't want to watch a movie where kids get killed as a game. Somehow that just doesn't seem right. Thanks for going against this major trend and standing up for what is right, Jenn!
    Happy Easter!!
    Love,
    Kathryn
    http://chattykathy-kathryn.blogspot.com/

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  12. Thank you so much for this post! I almost didn't read it because I am sick of hearing about the Hunger Games, but I am glad that I did. My sister compared the games to the Roman gladiators fighting each other and Christians being killed just so people could watch the killing. It is sickening. Thank you sooo much!

    Blessings,
    Emily.

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    1. Complete dittos.

      SOLI DEO GLORIA!

      -K<><

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  14. I totally respect your opinion, and I agree with you -- to a degree. It's definitely got a disturbing theme. But I also some of what you said is a little unfair, no offense!

    Point #1. We are so not like the Capitol when we watch it. For one thing, the Hunger Games is fictional. Kids are not actually in an arena actually slaughtering each other while we read or watch it happen. It's fake. For another, while reading it we're in the arena with Katniss, not in the Capitol. Everything is written from Katniss's point of view, and we kind of become her when we read it, which is obviously why we want her and Peeta to survive. ...Which brings me to my second point:

    Point #2.
    Yes, we want Peeta and Katniss to win. But no, of course we're not supposed to be HAPPY when Cato, Clove, Glimmer, etc. etc. die! The killing is horrible. I wasn't happy when Cato died, although I wasn't mourning him either. He was a complete sadistic maniac before he was even in the games, as was Clove. Katniss was sad about Thresh dying, she was sad about killing the boy that murdered Rue, even. It disturbed her, of course. I don't think the books are trying to glorify killing, or make light of it. No one says you're supposed to be happy when the other tributes die.

    Point #3. On Katniss being indecisive with Peeta: sure, we all knew that Peeta wasn't faking it, and she was perhaps a little stupid not to pick up on all the signals. But since she WAS oblivious to the fact that he loved her for real, I think her being indecisive totally makes sense. He put the idea of playing at being lovers in her head in the first place, along with Haymitch. She never would have done so otherwise. So she was doing what Haymitch wanted her to, and -- she thought -- going along with the plan that he and Peeta had devised. Why would Peeta think she automatically started loving him for real when he is the one who told her his confession of love was fake?! Plus think about it: She didn't think she was going to make it out of the arena. She's literally just been through hell, and then Peeta wants to start a relationship with her for real. I'm sure her emotions were all over the place. That would be so confusing.

    All that being said, I am NOT a die-hard Hunger Games fan, nor do I really understand the HUGE hype about it. It was interesting, and I liked it. But I did not love it. Compared to Les Misèrables, Jane Eyre, and Phantom of the Opera -- my top three favourite books -- it was really just MEH.

    Anyhow, that's just my opinion, and I can tend to be long-winded! I'm sorry if I offended you in any way, believe me, that is so not my intention. :)

    Blessings,

    Alisah K.

    [P.S. Sorry about the previous deleted comment! I accidentally published it before I was finished. Whoops! :-)]

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    1. first of all, you have so not offended me. that's why I said, talk to me! tell me if I've missed something! I'm awfully sorry if I came off differently...I'm just opinionated, that's all. ;)
      1: hmm, here's the thing. I'm not saying we're condoning killing like the capitol just by watching the movie. I'm just pointing out that the capitol watched it as entertainment, and hey, so are we. that's what I find ironic.
      2: good! haha, I'm glad we agree on this--not being happy about the other deaths. but for me anyway (I'm not saying everyone, but personally), I wasn't hugely bothered when tribute after tribute died, until I actually sat back and thought about it. and while I don't believe the books or movie intend to make light of killing, they also don't particularly make you care when someone was killed. and I find that bothersome--that I wasn't bothered more...like I've been desensitized to it. does that makes sense?
      3: this...oh, I think you misunderstood me. of course she'd be indecisive-- my reaction was just coming from finishing the first book in a series and being anxious because not all things had concluded yet, and I had heard so much about them that I knew DUH gale wasn't the one for her...go with peeta, girl! ;)
      anyhoo, thanks for your thoughts--really. (: I'm really and truly not offended...I just believe this is something worth thinking about. oh and can I say--Les Mis, Jane Eyre, & Phantom? you have good taste in literature, my friend. :)

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    2. Thanks for replying to me, Jenn! I'm sorry if I came across a little harsh the first time; I'm extremely opinionated too, and I get defensive easily. Probably not always a good thing... :)
      You are definitely right in that it is something worth thinking about, I can see what you mean about not being bothered more by the deaths; by being desensitized.
      Oh, and thanks! Yeah, I love the classics. :) That's how I found your blog -- I follow a lot of people that love Les Mis, and you commented on one of their posts gushing about it as well. That's when I was like: "Okay, so checking out her blog!" Les Mis is my favourite thing ever. :D

      Hope you're having a good day!

      Alisah K.

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  15. Thank you for this very honest post with your thoughts on The Hunger Games, Jenn. While I've read many reviews on it, this is the first time I've seen this "side" of the opinions. I haven't read the books yet, but I was planning to borrow them from a friend to see what all the "fuss" over The Hunger Games is all about. I've heard so much about it, probably even too much. And although from this post it seems like it's not worth calling excellent, good literature, I'd still like to read them and see for myself.

    I watched the movie, however--even if I swore not to watch it before reading the books--and I really have mixed emotions towards it. I know the movie is slightly different from the book, so I'll try not to let that cloud my judgement. In my opinion, the movie wasn't that violent. There were some scenes that seemed very cruel, though. What really is violent is the idea that kids are killing kids and all that. But isn't that the point of the story? Still, I'm not that happy about it. And like you, I wasn't "touched" by the film. The morality of the story is quite twisted, a bit confusing. It greatly lacked something "deeper," if you get what I mean. Truly, there is a lack of great quality in this story.

    I like and agree with what you said about us, being the real spectators. That sure got my brain cells working. You're so right about that. We're the ones who are watching, cheering on the main characters as they survive till the end--even if it means killing on the way. Sick, sad irony. So true. I think there's a lot better literature than The Hunger Games out there, waiting to be read. I would rather read a good, worthy piece of literature than The Hunger Games. Any day.

    PS. I love the photos in this post. Yeah, totally unrelated to what I've been rambling about. But really, your photos are amazing!

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    1. yes, like you said--I think it's worth looking at the other "side" even if you don't strictly agree with me/it. about the books...I mean, if you've seen the movie, you've seen the worst...I personally think the book was better (of course) even though it definitely wasn't my favorite book in the world either.

      I don't think the movie was overly-violent in what it actually portrayed on-screen--goodness knows I've seen worse. it was just the idea that got to me. and lots of movies have battles, sure, but they're good-versus-evil battles, and they (hopefully) have that something "deeper" that I felt the hunger games lacked. if there had been a greater theme (and maybe this will come if they make movies of the rest of the trilogy), it may have been better, but as it was I just felt empty and sickened after watching it.

      and while it's true that we know that the killing is evil, and that the capitol is evil, I still find it ironic that we're the ones watching it as entertainment--which you seem to agree with.

      anyway, yeah...I feel like we're coming from the same basic viewpoint, except you haven't read the book yet. thanks for your thoughts! I'd be interested to know what you think once you've read the book. :)

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  16. I LOVE this post. And I completely agree with you. That's one of the reasons I didn't go to see this movie - I don't want to be entertained in that way. I mean... we get all in a tizzy about ancient Rome and their gladiatorial lust for blood... but then, we have films like this which seem only a few steps away from providing the same yucky 'rush.' I haven't even read the books, which may seem narrow of me. But I can't make myself want to read about kids killing kids. It happens too much on the news, and it says too much about where our society is going - that we approve so much of this sort of thing, even in fiction, scares me.

    GREAT post.

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    1. Joseph,

      Exactly, my point. If we read in the news of the horrors of kids killing each other we are disgusted, yet we put it in a book or movie and call it entertainment and it is acceptable?

      Ugg.

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  17. I haven’t read or watched the book/movie, so I haven’t really made any comments pertaining to them… But I’d have to say, I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with your point of view. It seems to make a lot of sense to me, from what I’ve heard. Thanks!
    ~Aidyl
    www.aidylewoh.blogspot.com

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  18. This was refreshing to read. As a mother of young adults and teens and beyond, I am horrified at this trend. I have not read, nor will I the series and perhaps that nullifies my opinion. But I am truly saddened at how Christians have becomes as enamored with violence as the world we are supposed to be reaching. How can we possibly be the light when we blend in with the darkness?

    It is nice to know there is at least one young person out there who sees things as I do.

    A discerning reader,

    Kat

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  19. I read all three books. I hated the way the first book ended - so I read on. Hoping for CLOSURE and hoping that "good" would win. (That the capitol would be totally disolved.) The the society would go back to a society with power of the people and morals.

    When I finished the third book I was SO upset and disturbed that I went around for three days ranting about what a horrid ending it had. What a disgusting waste of time... The ending of the third book was SO awful that I just was disgusted. I told EVERYONE I know that these were "feel BAD" books and not to read them.

    I had HOPE - and all my hope was dashed.

    I only read the first book because I niece recommended the first book to me. After the first book left me hanging - I just decided to read on for closure. What a total waste of my time. I WANT THOSE HOURS BACK.

    You couldn't pay me to see the movie. Honestly - on principle I will NEVER watch it. I am disgusted that our culture hails this as something worthy of our obsessive attention. And it makes me sad that a BUNCH of people that I love, actually do not see the degeneration of our society that is reflected by our obsession over this story. It is an awful story and it just gets WORSE as the series goes on.

    Stop now. I wish someone had told me to put away my hope and stop while I was ahead.

    Great Blog post! Thanks for your clear vision of this subject.

    Dawn

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  20. Okay. Thoughts:

    I loved the books. I loved the movie. However, I read the books this past fall, before the hype exploded. Don't get me wrong - there was hype, but it wasn't super huge and it wasn't from everyone in the universe.

    Also, here is why I loved these, and I look at these similarly to the way I look at Harry Potter: while I approve neither of violence nor of witchcraft, central themes of these two series, these books, through their heroes {Harry & Katniss, and secondarily, Ron & Hermione, Peeta & Gale} show us something about the human condition, something about bravery and courage and strength in the face of violently oppressive situations and circumstances, and in so doing, something about ourselves. Katniss's experience is a coming of age, in a sense, too, because at first, she does what she does simply to survive, simply to save her sister from the Games. She doesn't understand what Peeta means when he says he wants to show the Capitol they don't own him, and it's not until Rue dies that she understands that, understands that it isn't just about surviving but about doing so with dignity and with integrity. And she, erroneously at times, but quite brilliantly at others, spends the rest of the book and the rest of the series trying to live that way. Katniss is a character who also fits some of the characteristics of the antihero, and it would be interesting to see what analysis will come of her character in that respect {I suppose rather than waiting for it to appear, I could just do it myself ;] }.

    I think the fangirl, obsessive, the-Hunger-Games-is-my-life thing needs to end, mostly because it mirrors the hype around Twilight {which is in and of itself an issue, and that Team Peeta and Team Gale crap just needs to go}, and also because it ignores the greater issues that it raises, some of which you've mentioned here, and also the surrounding political dialogue which I touched on in a post of mine from January about this book.

    Collins writes this, not only as a mirror of Rome, but also as a picture of what our society is. And you hit that nail right on the head - that's exactly what we're doing. Someone else - I can't remember who, or I would refer you to their post - mentioned that we're raising up Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in just the same way that the Capitol raises up their tributes - and yet we're denouncing that, or so we think, in our love of this series. We need to use The Hunger Games the way I think Collins intended it: as a gateway to a deeper dialogue of the politics of our society, of the ways that we laud public figures and then cut them down. Ours is not a physical arena, and we don't draw real lifeblood, but figuratively, we do all that Collins portrays the Capitol as doing.

    My thoughts on the movie: I wish there had been more panoramic scenes, just so I could better ground the scenes in some context, but I think the shaking of the camera was an interesting way of sharing Katniss's thoughts, distress, and disorientation without soliloquy or voiceover. I actually liked that technique, because it's hard if not impossible to maintain the first person perspective in a movie without voiceover, and the camera's reflection of Katniss's disorientation helped recover that. I did think it was done a little too much, though, but not every movie is going to be perfect. And I think the movie is the visual gateway to the same discussion I mention the books ought to be, and it also opens the discussion up to a different audience. Some people just aren't readers or don't have time to read, but they will go see a movie. My brother and I, for instance, told my parents they had to see it, so we will, and I imagine we'll spend time after the movie discussing the political implications for our society. That's what we need - the discussion - and more importantly, the action motivated from those discussions.

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    1. Did I love these? Yes. While I think the story could have been far stronger in the second and third books, I think the first, at least, will stand as a literary testament and may possibly enter the literary canon {and to be honest, I think it should, much akin to Jonathan Swift's work}. I think it is a good story, by which I mean it has a self-driven plot, is well-written, and also opens itself up to and invites comparisons to other works, other times, other historical contexts, and if not for that, I think The Hunger Games will remain important as political commentary.

      What would break my heart is if a hundred years from now, anthropologists and historians and literary critics were reading these, tracking our behavior from it, and saw that all that came from it was a bunch of stupid movie hype and taking sides on who Katniss should end up with. The Hunger Games is about so much more than that.

      {My apologies for what may well be the longest comment I have left or ever will leave on a blog post, ever.}

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    2. first off, I don't have a problem with you or anyone because they liked the books/movie. I don't really get it, but that's okay. goodness knows I've liked things that others haven't understood. the obsessiveness of...everyone--yeah, that's what gets me. hah, agreed with the whole twilight teams deal.

      but as to it being good literature...I don't think so. that's just my opinion & only time will tell, but I've read a good bit of classic literature in my time, and I don't think so at all.

      as to it telling about what you call the human condition with bravery and strength and dignity...I don't know. you see, I was expecting that when I read the book, but I didn't catch it. I truly thought I would find those overall redeeming themes in it, but they weren't there, not as far as I could see. it felt like they talked about having them rather than actually having them, if that makes any sense at all. I feel like--and forgive me for being blunt--I feel like those who wanted to find something greater in the series did, but it was lost on so many others who couldn't get past the atrocity of the main plotline and the fact that it felt so wrong without any rationalizing or redeeming points.

      I totally see where it can come in as a political commentary, and I do know that Collins more or less intended it as such. that's not what's happening though--not with any of the many, many fans I have come across. it's a shame if that's really what she intended, and like I said, that's where the irony comes in--that in reality people are flocking to this merely as a source of entertainment rather than gathering something greater from it, if indeed something greater is to be gathered.

      I think we're basically agreeing about the fans & the irony there, but I'm afraid we'll have to disagree on the quality of the work. I'm just not impressed, and it's not something I would recommend to anyone.

      hehe, don't apologize...thanks for your thoughts! I'm more than happy to talk about it. (:

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    3. I never thought for a minute you had a problem with me or anyone else who liked The Hunger Games! I hope my comment didn't come across that way!

      I should clarify what I meant by good literature. I mean this as good literature akin to Animal Farm, not necessarily classic, à la Brontë or Austen. I see this as more cautionary, more historically telling, more political than what we generally consider classic literature. It's much more Orwellian, as my father put it.

      I definitely see what you mean. I think it's key that you zero in on The Hunger Games' lack of rationalizing or redeeming points, because of course, this is oh so reminding that there is no redemption without Christ. If this seems meaningless and bloodthirsty and sick, that's because it is. And it sickens me, too. I can't imagine having to watch twenty-four young people fight to the death every year. The more I study history, the most pacifist I've become, because I don't care who did what and who's fighting for whom and for what cause or country, life is still life, and taking life is taking life, no matters whose life it is. Even Katniss, which is where I think we could analyze her as the antihero - Katniss, even in self-defense, still takes life. And I don't really know how to reconcile a Jesus of peace and a God who sent the Israelites to war. I believe absolutely that that same Jesus is that same God, and that They - well, He, really - is totally and absolutely good, but that juxtaposition is something I don't understand and don't anticipate understanding, either, which is fine. He is so much wiser than I; He knows how it all works out.

      I love that we're able to have this conversation. I think it's such a critical one. My dad and I brought up literary parallels to The Hunger Games all the way home after seeing the movie, and discussed the strong potentiality of such a thing happening here, in this society, when morality is questioned and often subverted for individual inclination.

      I'm seeing a vision of my own post on this. Because like I said, without the discussion that follows The Hunger Games, there is no point to the series itself. And shame on us for cheering Katniss on as we read and yet functioning as the very Capitol that forces her to fight to the death afterwards, as if we hadn't read the books at all.

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    4. I'm sorry I didn't reply to this earlier. I so, so agree with you here. the violence is sickening, the lack of rational conversation is sad, and mostly--there is no redemption without Christ. it's true. I'm so glad we could have this conversation as well, Annie. I wish everyone thought about this and formed as intelligent of an opinion on it as you have. (:

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  21. I enjoyed reading the first book (I haven't read the other two yet). They really have some room for good discussion. It was an engrossing plot and I couldn't put it down. Plus, the author gave the readers a lot to think about.

    Although... I can't help but wonder if kids are noticing all the things that lie underneath the storyline--what the author is trying to say about where our country is headed. And I also have noticed within my own crowd of friends, that this story can desensitize (I know I spelled that wrong--it seems to have slipped my mind :/) people about killing. Which is the opposite of what the book was supposed to do.

    I've also wondered about why we would be reading this story for entertainment--the book was against that and it seemed strangely ironic. But not everyone is reading it for entertainment. My mom and I read the book together so we could discuss it (our book club broke up). There's a lot to think about in the book, and it's also a little bit of a reminder that our culture seems to be slidding backwards. I thought it was really interesting how she likened the Capitol to Rome.

    Whew! Sorry for the super long comment :) I enjoyed your review!

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  22. I just finished reading the first Hunger Game book. And it was something that made me sit and process it for a long time. Which, I think is definitely a good thing. If we just read books where right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no grey shadows that keep us from completely understanding within the first minute, we are keeping ourselves in an unrealistic world. The world, even the Christian world is not black and white-there are so many things that make us have to stop and think every day, whether it be in the Bible or the entertainment media.
    However, I completely agree about watching the movie. As soon as I finished the book I knew without a doubt that I could NOT watch the movie. Because it would not strike me in any tangible way, like the book did. It would not make me think. It would simply be a form of mindless entertainment that could not capture any of the hard issues. I think that by allowing ourselves to be entertained by a "reenactment" of the Hunger Games is allowing ourselves to slowly, SLOWLY slip into the apathy of the Capitol.
    But, I cannot agree with you about the book. If you've ever read A Brave New World, 1984, The Shadow Children or any other dystopian fiction you will know that the Hunger Games hasn't opened up any new kettle of fish. Reading this book made me NOT want to be apathetic. It made me NEVER want to be like the Capitol, in any way. It made me see the way people now hang on to the media like a lifeline. The killings hit me strongly. Instead of seeing them as entertainment, I saw them as a way to put myself in someone else's shoes. Would I have killed someone just to escape the hell I had been put in? Does killing sadists make killing right? I saw Katniss' pain at having to watch 22 people fall and wondered how I would handle it.
    I hate that people have turned this into a big hype thing. If people were reading for the right reasons, and asking themselves questions and thinking about the issues posed in the books I would have no trouble that every person in the world had read it. But all of these people are reading it for some form of entertainment. Most teenage girls read it for the romance. Guys read it for the violence. Parents read it to be "cool" like their kids. Not many people are reading this to pose questions to themselves and their way of life.
    Sorry if I've preached too much, but I feel strongly about this. :)

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    1. thanks for your thoughts, Sam. yeah...don't see the movie. ;)
      I totally get where you're coming from with the book, but I also think you're a rare person to have come away with that perspective. the majority of people who I have encountered that are fans of the book have not put any thought into it besides the hype that I think we both agree is ridiculous. and that's what I think is the sad part.

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  23. My sister and I have done a lot of research on this. We think the book and the movie was making a point. You are supposed to be sickened by it. anyone in their right mind would be. So about the whole kids killing kids thing. Kids kill other kids in real life. Nothing new. Parents send their kids to school. One kid gets mad because another kid is with girlfriend and he kills the other kid. I think The Hunger Games is trying to make a point. Saying "Hey, this is us," look at how messed up the world is. I mean the capital for examlpe: I was looking at a style magazine and the things they were wearing were exactly like what the capital in The Hunger Games wore.
    You should read about the author of the the book. It will help.
    I hope you understand what I mean :)I dont mind if you disagree,just think about what I wrote. :)

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  24. just one more thing. I think yall are missing the point. But I totally understand, I was a little iffy about it at first but then I discovered the real meaning of the book.
    Please read my comment above for more details :)

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    1. I agree, it was most likely written to make a point. the saddest thing, in my opinion, is that's not the reason people are reading/watching it. they're doing it for the romance, or the thrill, or whatever, and not taking something deeper away if indeed something deeper exists. the reaction to it (or rather, the lack thereof) is what's most ironic to me.
      don't worry, I've talked and read and thought a lot about this, and it's not like I'm not understanding. I don't think we should make an excuse for something that's pretty abhorrent just because it wasn't meant to be if we came at it a different way.

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    2. I totally agree with you. You're right people are reading and watching for the entertainment,romance, or the thrill, which is ironic because the that's exactly what the capital did. Sick.
      But I wish people knew what the real point of the books is. I think the author meant it to be ironic. But not everyone's getting the point. So I totally agree with for not liking it. Because to other people it's like "oh this so awesome." I'm like "this is so true in a bad way." The world is so much like the book is.

      "I don't think we should make an excuse for something that's pretty abhorrent just because it wasn't meant to be if we came at it a different way." I totally agree with this. And if you thought I was trying to make an excuse for it, I wasn't. I just want to help people see the real point.

      I think what you said in your reply to me is very good. Thanks for replying so quickly. :)

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  25. I have the same concern about people not getting the point,especially with the books but the movie was VERY well done. They did a great job in making it more about the value of life, there was very little romance in it, and the scenes they added in with Haymitch was perfect. Suzanne Collins helped write the screen play which is why I think they did it the way they did, she herself wasn't really into the romance and she wrote it! I am also looking forward to them making the next two movies Catching Fire and Mocking jay, because they help bring out the point and hopefully then people will get it, but people are so blinded in todays world and like to call evil okay, we are just like the capital!( well, duh, where do ya think she got the idea!). Perhaps we can help people understand the real meaning of the hunger games by talking about it on facebook. I am even working on a blog right now where I am going to write reviews on movies like this, I have already done one on the hunger games.

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  26. Hey, I just wanted to put in thet if you didn't finnish Catching fire and Mocking Jay, I really recommend that you do, I felt the same way you (Jennoelle) did. It took me a long time to decide to even read the next to books myself after I read the first one. But they really do help and I appreciated the story a whole lot more once I did. :)

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  27. I honestly have to say that I disagree with this post-- but to get my argument, I'd have to refer you to my post: http://godlygirlz.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-open-letter-to-christian-media.html

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  28. Thank you Jennoelle for writing such an amazing piece. I agree with every word you wrote. My wife and her 15 year old daughter are obsessed with the book and the movie. For weeks it was the only thing that they would talk about. The story in itself was bad enough but the shaky cinematography made the movie unwatchable.

    Hunger Games is the biggest piece of trash ever exposed to the world!!

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  29. Thank you Jennoelle for writing such an amazing piece. I agree with every word you wrote. My wife and her 15 year old daughter are obsessed with the book and the movie. For weeks it was the only thing that they would talk about. The story in itself was bad enough but the shaky cinematography made the movie unwatchable.

    Hunger Games is the biggest piece of trash ever exposed to the world!!

    ReplyDelete

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