Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hunger Games: Blog #4

Question/Subject: Compare and contrast the second book with the film. You can either focus on a few similarities and differences between the book and the film or on one aspect of both, either storyline, characters, staging, portrayal of capitol and district 12, etc.

In my opinion, the second movie was more engaging than the first. I felt that the time spent outside of the arena was just as interesting as the time spent inside. The political intrigue was well represented and I enjoyed watching it unfold. In the book, the reader was always stuck inside Katniss's head and so, they were relatively unaware of what was happening beyond what she was experiencing. The movie didn't necessarily move the audience away from the protagonist, but it played to the advantages of the medium, which was allowing the viewers to know more than the characters on screen. We were privy to meetings between President Snow and other political figures that Katniss and Peeta were never aware of. This helped to make the audience understand what was at stake, and it helped move the slower parts of the book, such as the tedious process of being back in the capitol and revisiting old stomping grounds like the training rooms and receiving scores.

Also, I feel like the arena was presented differently in the movie than I had imagined it in the book. Of course, this is probably due to image differentiation in my ideas and those of the creators of the film, which is fine. However, I imagined the arena as much bigger. In the first book and movie, they gave the audience a feeling of vast open space, and I had expected the same amount of space in the second film. While this didn't necessarily detract from the overall experience, this wasn't exactly as I had expected. For me, individually, it made the idea that the tributes were too scattered to actively skirmish during the Quarter Quell less plausible. It seemed to me that because the beach was the only really safe place within the arena, that everybody should have been there and resulted in more fighting. In my head, when I was reading the book, I imagined the arena big enough that it was quite possible that the tributes couldn't find each other in the thick jungle and massive beach that I envisioned.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hunger Games: Blog #3

Question/Subject: Compare and contrast the first book with the film. You can either focus on a few similarities and differences between the book and the film or on one aspect of both, either storyline, characters, staging, portrayal of capitol and district 12, etc.

First of all, I just want to let it be known that I deeply enjoyed the first book of The Hunger Games. I've dappled in the art of writing myself a few times and the way that Suzanne Collins presented her world is exactly how I like to do it. The stream of consciousness is a fascinating way of portraying a character's thoughts and emotions and I enjoyed it immensely. The movie, while well done, was not as good as I think it could have been. It did an exceptional job of sticking to the book, which I'm sure many a fan-girl appreciated, but I feel like this actually harmed the film. See, the book was engaging and enjoyable because it brought us into Katniss's thoughts and emotions flawlessly. We knew her fears and her plans, her loves and anxieties all throughout the journey. The reader didn't know or see anything that Katniss herself didn't see or know. This type of format is impossible to replicate within the confines of a movie. Maybe there could've been endless voice-overs, or something tedious like that, but without that the movie couldn't be as suspenseful and enjoyable as the book because we aren't in the protagonists head, we're watching her from afar. I just never felt as immersed and as apart of the action while I was watching the movie.

 This is simply a consequence of the difference in the medium. There's nothing that the creators could have done, really. In fact, I'd see it as a nod of respect to the author's skill as a writer. Her work was so exceptional, that it could only really work to the level that it did in the medium that she originally intended. The Mona Lisa wouldn't be as exceptional if it existed as a statue, just to create a dramatically more important and exaggerated parallel. So, basically, what I'm trying to say is that the book was good enough that I think it just simply couldn't be as good as a movie, no matter how well the creators worked to translate it from the written word to the silver screen. I thought that the actors did well as their characters, I thought that the vision of the Capitol was successfully gaudy and shiny. I thought that Cato looked just insane enough to work as a crazed 18 year old who's trained his whole life to kill children in an arena. It was all smashing stuff, but in the end it wasn't Suzanne Collins's book.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hunger Games: Blog #2

Question/Subject: Write an analysis of the parallels between the tributes in the arena and the gladiators in old Rome. How can we apply the notion of “panem et circenses” to The Hunger GamesOR Discuss the similarities and differences between The Hunger Games and the Theseus-Minotaur story.

Suzanne Collins cited the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur as one of her inspirations for The Hunger Games. It's a remarkably similar tale, although there are some important differences. For instance, Theseus stood to gain by volunteering to face the Minotaur: A kingdom, courtesy of his Father the King. Katniss, on the other hand, gained almost nothing from her victory in the arena. Apart from saving her sister, she seemed to come out worse than before because she was forced to be with Peeta when she had no feelings for him, and she gained the animosity of President Snow, which made her life even more difficult. Furthermore, Katniss was forced to fight and work against the people she arrived at the Capitol with, while Theseus had nothing to fear from the other slaves that were thrown into the Labyrinth with him. Finally there's the obvious difference: The fact that Theseus faced one opponent, while Katniss faced many, and the fact that they were all human, which adds an element of remorse and guilt for her, while Theseus killed an inhuman monster.

In addition, there are similarities between these two stories. For example, there's the important detail that both protagonists volunteered for their place as a sacrifice. They weren't forced into their situation, but they both decided to take the risk. Also, they both gained the animosity of a powerful person for their troubles. For Katniss, it was President Snow and for Theseus it was the Queen of Athens, who didn't like the fact that an illegitimate son was going to inherit his Father's throne. This adds a layer of complexity to each situation, because it isn't a cut and dry win the games/kill the monster and go home type of scenario. It means that they have continued problems even after their victory. Finally,the conflict is originally created due to the oppression of a large and powerful government. As part of a peace treaty and to ensure fear existed in the populace, the government required the annual sacrifice of youths to keep the citizens subservient.