Saturday, March 24, 2012

"The Hunger Games" movie analysis (warning: contains SPOILERS)

In class right now, my students are working on "comparing and contrasting" as a way to deepen their thinking. In the spirit of this learning, I would like to do the same with "The Hunger Games" - movie vs. book.

We all know most novels are superior to their movie companions and "The Hunger Games" did not waiver in this regard. It was excellent, and certain scenes displayed flashes of brilliance, but it could not hold a torch to the original.

Here are the things I wish would have been included in the movie (warning- spoilers):

- The hob should have been featured for longer than one minute. The set designers did an incredible job depicting it and I felt it warranted more air time.

- The MOCKINGJAY pin! AHHH... so annoyed with how this correspondence took place. I get they had to show the love Katniss had for her sister but I feel this may cause issues with later movie adaptations (where Madge plays a more significant role). Also, the significance of the MockingJay was NEVER explained in the movie. So, while readers of the book would know, other viewers would not. But, I guess this is their problem as they should have probably read the book first.

- The cornucopia is looked way too "star wars-y" and silver. Also the whole cornucopia scene with Cato and the mutts at the climax??! I know they needed to speed things up... but they left out some important details (like the mutts having the eyes of the dead tributes- a passage in the book that left me with goosebumps).

- No bread from District 11. Instead they show a riot/rebellion. While this does aid in the picture the trilogy makes later on, I think it would have been fairly easy to add the bread in.

- Peeta was TOO nice and caring in the movie. In the book, Katniss does not trust him for quite some time and he is a bit more "sneaky and mysterious." Also, when he joins the careers, there are only those kids from districts 1 and 2, when district FOUR is also supposed to be a career district.

- Lastly, while I get the shaky camera was to make us feel we were moving with Katniss, I think it might make some people feel nauseous and dizzy. Very "Blair Witchish"

What was OUTSTANDING in the movie and did justice to the novel:

- All of the clothing worn by the Capital citizens... I am already getting some Halloween costume ideas!

- Jennifer Lawerence did an amazing job playing the protagonist (Katniss). She seemed bad-ass, yet also like able and modest at the same time.

- Woody Harrelson's "Haymitch" was spot on! Exactly how I pictured the mentor of District 12. Although, I would have made him add a few dozen lbs or wear padding.

- District 12 was also just has I envisioned it to look. Very much like the current state of the Appalachian Mountain towns are today.

- The use of the game makers and Caesar Flickerman to explain things going on in the games. In the book, this all is done through Katniss' monologue and I was wondering how they would convey these ideas in the movie.

All in all, this movie earns 4 out of 5 stars from this viewer for its stellar acting, costume/set design and likeness to the novel. However, I strongly recommend reading the book (all three) before watching the movie. Whenever I attempt the reverse (move, then book) I am not able to create the images of what I see in writing in my own mind. Instead, I allow the movie version to take over during the reading- making it a less enjoyable experience.

Also... I already have my "Effie Trinket" costume planned out for Halloween this year!
Happy Hunger Games... and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm back...sort of

For all of you (by ALL I mean two)wondering "hey, Allison has not posted anything for a while" allow me to fill you in with my whereabouts. I have been in my den. Working on my classes for my Master's degree in Literacy. Not the most exciting excuse in the world, but it does zap a majority of my energy for writing.

Every so often, an idea for a blog entry pops into my mind... and then I realize I have a paper due or a discussion post to write. What I present to you today is a mishmash of random thoughts, questions and happenings that have been entering my mind as of late:

1) In a desperate attempt to hold on to my youth, I have been a faithful viewer of the show "Pretty Little Liars" on ABC family. Tomorrow, "A" will be revealed! I have not been this excited for a season final since Beverly Hills 90210 (the REAL one) featuring Mel and Jackie's wedding. So excited that I have even joined the Facebook group for the show, along with the other (mostly teenage) fans.

2) This is my 2nd year doing Crossfit and I decided to enter the "Crossfit Games" which is open to all athletes. Each week there is a new workout and scores are posted online. Currently I am ranked 2000 something in the world which I thought was fairly decent... until I discovered a woman who is THIRTY WEEKS pregnant is way ahead of me! Still though, I have surprised myself with my strength and ability over the last few weeks, especially during one workout where I had to "snatch" 75lbs!

3) I have a new reading obsession that began back when it snowed in January... The Hunger Games Trilogy. I actually finished the books in three consecutive days and I did not want the third one to end. Unlike the Twilight books, these feature a STRONG female protagonist with an actual personality.

Usually I am not a fan of Sci-Fi/Dystopian literature and gravitate toward historical or realistic-fiction, but these books have converted me temporarily. Hopefully the movie (which I plan to see this Friday) does the books justice.

4) Even though it snowed today, I am very much looking forward to spring. Sandals and open-toed shoes, bright printed skirts, colorful pants and new sunglasses. I love spring and summer fashion, no matter how briefly the seasons may last here in Washington. Not to mention the outdoor happy hours, taking Teddy on walks in the late evening (when it is still light out) and running outside without a fleece on!

5)Since heading back to school (well, virtually anyways)I have come to appreciate the easy time I had when in high school and college. It is clear to me know that I took this all for granted when I was younger. Working 50 hours per week and THEN having to do homework directly relating to said job is not my idea of a good time. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end when I earn my pay raise...

I would love to write more, but I have been starring at the computer screen for over four hours today to write a paper on incorporating vocabulary into Instruction. Riveting, I know.