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.