Wednesday, April 04, 2012

2008 All Over Again


Because of the movie and the fact that a bunch of my 30-something peers had read the series, I finally broke down and started them. My goodness, I was completely sucked in! It had a world that intrigued me, characters that engaged, enraged, and broke my heart. Objectively, the writing style is decent but I do admit skimming over the endless descriptions of clothing. Katniss' mother was an infuriating non-entity and she totally deserves not getting named the entire series. Shallowly, Gale would be more my speed looks-wise but man Peeta has the heart and soul of an artist so count me solidly on Team Peeta.

Maybe it's because I am at the point where I debate between groceries or seeing the doctor, and I have several family members living below the poverty line; the main draw of the books for me is the social commentary. The Occupy movement was basically street theater for most Americans because they don't have to worry where their next meal comes from. I worked at an investment bank and got to hear my co-workers chuckling over the homeless and making fun of the poor. So the leap of today's "not my problem"attitude to let's see these worthless poor kids kill each other isn't too wide in my opinion.

It is rare that a sequel is just as good if not better than the original but wow, Catching Fire ratchets up the stakes so much I had a knot of tension in my stomach from President Snow's visit to the end of the book! The description of Snow was so vivid I had a visceral reaction every time he showed up in Catching Fire. Also, the introduction of new characters was seamless and it was hard to remember that we didn't know Johanna or Finnick from the beginning! I'm glad that the Quarter Quell wasn't as drawn out as the 74th Hunger Games because the masochistic torture of the Quell was off the charts. I have no idea how readers could stand the wait after the cliffhanger ending.

This was a bit of a let-down. Katniss was less kick ass and more broken, lovesick mopey like other typical young adult heroines (not naming names). The entire revolution was so removed from the main characters it kinda felt like a magic wand was waved. Also, the entire series is like a list of exquisite ways to torture Peeta. He's like Job and it got a bit ridiculous in this book. I still have trouble deciphering what the hell happened in the attack on the Capitol. It was way too rushed and some deaths were glossed over that shouldn't have been. Did Suzanne Collins have a page limit for this book? As hokey as it is, I do like the epilogue because I'm a glass half full gal.

I saw the movie this weekend and I was very impressed. I loved the overall feeling of dread and Jennifer Lawrence made a perfect Katniss. I'm okay with the changes like no Madge giving the Mockingjay pin. I also thought the use of Caesar Flickman during the Game was an ingenious way to explain details to newbies. Seneca's bigger role was pretty good too. Damn that beard was impressive, wasn't it? I did cry when District 11 saluted Katniss after Rue's death. Pulling in the political upheaval elements from Catching Fire was a really smart move. Woody Harrelson's Haymitch was a complete gem and perfectly matched what I imagined. My one big complaint is that Peeta really did not get defined as a character. A lot of his pivotal scenes weren't in the movie. He was the blonde guy who liked Katniss in the movie. Maybe I can hope for some deleted scenes extras on the DVD? I have no words for the race casting issue. Apparently the youth of America have reading comprehension problems. Also, this weight kerfuffle is beyond dumb. Jennifer Lawrence is skinnier than most American women and she owned the Katniss role.

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