The inevitable Hunger Games thread

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in the book, the District citizens are forced to watch the Hunger Games telecast in order to further grind them down; when they talk about "ratings" i think they're just talking about the Capitol viewers. some people have said (and i agree) that it kind of doesn't make sense that "you sit there and watch your children die" = a cowed populace, because if anything is going to inspire you to rebel, it's your children dying, right? idk.

it's also a little cheap that these Games have been going on for 74 years, but no tribute has ever tried to kill the assholes sitting ten feet away judging their use of weaponry, and apparently there's no contingency plan in place for tributes becoming suicidal. in the book they were like "don't do anything stupid or they'll kill your whole family," but even with that caveat i have to believe SOMEONE has tried it in the past 74 years.

techno pink (reddening), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol I was sitting there thinking, yeah this whole teaching the populace a lesson for rebelling by killing their children every year has got to bite them on the ass eventually.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm two chapters in, and apparently they're kept obedient by the constant threat of having their whole district obliterated, though you'd think that'd be enough already without the hunger games.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

also dear god suzanne collins' writing style is the worst

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

I couldn't hang

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 25 March 2012 01:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Doesn't Donald Sutherland offer some blather about giving the people some hope being better than simply executing a few kids every year? Regardless, didn't buy for a sec that anyone would stand for this silly arrangement for more than a year or two, sci-fi dystopia or not. Maybe the movie needed a more explicit show of government force to demonstrate the power of The Man?

Also agreed that I wish that one other team wasn't composed entirely of dicks and bullies. It would have added a bit more moral ambiguity had they been at least a little sympathetic, and not, you know, actively encouraged you to root for their deaths.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 02:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Some things from the book that may have given context - I was lead to believe that the games were more or less mandatory viewing for the citizens - the people in the Capitol never have entrants, so it's all fun for them, but punishment for the other districts because of the rebellion.

I thought that losing Katniss' narration did mean that the movie would be more confusing for those who hadn't read the book. Katniss' salute to Prue's district happens in the second(?) book - that was a bit out of place. It *does* raise a scandal among the game makers that she places all the flowers on Rue - she thinks they'll edit it out for reminding the viewers that they are people, children, etc.

The sponsorships they receive during the games are said to be quite expensive. We saw Haumitch schmooze but it might have been more helpful to hear Jim pushing for donations! A big thing in the book is that after Rue and Thrush died, the people from their district sent Katniss a loaf of bread (which was distinct enough she knew it came from them). This touches her a great deal because she knows that must have been a great expense and an unheard of cross-district sign of support.

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Sunday, 25 March 2012 02:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sorry - Jim=him, I plead autocorrect.

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Sunday, 25 March 2012 02:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

Got the salute. One of the cooler moments

Number None, Sunday, 25 March 2012 05:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

so this flopped big time huh

Large Sack (Empty) (latebloomer), Sunday, 25 March 2012 05:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

I thought it would be more interesting if Katniss had to, at some point in the story, fight someone who wasn't obviously a "bad guy" (ie those 1st-2nd district peeps). Seemed the relatively good or morally neutral people were killed off by some combination of nature/show manipulation/bad guys.

yeah i did think a lot of the deaths were very convenient for katniss to retain her moral high ground - she only outright kills the dude who killed rue and that's presented as purely reactive self-defence. (and i think the bad guy at the end, but he's being torn apart by hounds anyway.) even in her only one-on-one fight, someone else handily shows up to kill the girl who attacks her.

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 06:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

The great thing about sci-fi is that it can show us stuff like a reality TV program being manipulative with the situation it's presenting and viewers learning to take less than entirely trusting view of this, when in reality it would take thousands of years for this to evolve.

Andrew Farrell, Sunday, 25 March 2012 07:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

also isn't the point the multiple allegories - we might throw our hands up and say "how can they possibly accept this barbarity" but almost every aspect of the hunger games society is a direct reflection of stuff that has happened or is happening in real human history - just smooshed together to magnify the horror

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 07:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

so this flopped big time huh

Sarcasm? It was the biggest single-day non-sequel opening.

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Sunday, 25 March 2012 07:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

so it flopped then

Large Sack (Empty) (latebloomer), Sunday, 25 March 2012 08:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

sorry but with John Carter tearing up the box office, this movie just doesn't have any chance.

Large Sack (Empty) (latebloomer), Sunday, 25 March 2012 08:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh, wait i flipped on my alternate universe browser.

Large Sack (Empty) (latebloomer), Sunday, 25 March 2012 08:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

One thing that the film I think drops is the fact that the district that wins gets like double its food rations for the next year, so for the subsidence districts, that's nearly life-or-death for a lot of them. Peeta's talk about how if no-one watched, that would really fuck'em up is veering close to "Workers Control the Means of Production!" - which is obviously one of the things I love about the film, that since the book has been written, the OWS has brought particular topicality to it.

One thing I'm curious about is what else the people at home watch - like is the rest of the programming Panem's Next Top Garishly Coloured Model, or Food Tips for Bark and Small Rodents? Or is that the only thing actually broadcast all year?

I was pretty certain (but maybe wrong) that they dealt with the sponsorships? You have Woody Harrelson in the train car talking about how you have to get sponsors to get you stuff like fire and cover, and you have to be likable to get them (the scene where he advises Katniss to keep the knife, as Peeta is much better at glad-handing than her), and later you have that Woody looking worried / Woody slapping backs and shaking hands / package for Peeta montage.

Also agreed that I wish that one other team wasn't composed entirely of dicks and bullies.

Team 11 = Rue and Thrash (the big guy who offs the knife-thrower) did alright, and you could imagine that some of the dudes who last ~10 secs were nice if you met them in a social setting.

But yeah, I think Katniss gets her chance in the early-game scene where she meets Foxface in the forest and they just run in separate directions - her plan is much more "Survive with my appalachian skills" than "kill everyone".

Or she gets her high moral ground from her high district number :)

Just because it was depicted subtly doesn't mean anyone would miss the gist of viscous blood spraying across the screen or bloody weapons being bashed about.

This was the weird thing - I think the scene where Rue dies is pretty much the only bloody weapon!

Andrew Farrell, Sunday, 25 March 2012 08:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

nah there's bloody weapons elsewhere. Katniss isn't wielding them though

Number None, Sunday, 25 March 2012 09:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ah though, that might just be the UK

Andrew Farrell, Sunday, 25 March 2012 09:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

from that article: Could that grim and gritty Baby-sitters Club revamp be far behind?

oh my god i would be the happiest person if they did this. speaking of, whatever happened to the diablo cody-helmed Sweet Valley High movie? or did she give up on it and write Young Adult instead?

techno pink (reddening), Sunday, 25 March 2012 09:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

they covered the sponsorships - i guess i'd have just enjoyed seeing a rich capitol sponsor being ~moved~ by the showmance and deciding to send them medicine because of it - could've been a pretty effective scene.

they covered why some of the kids were "baddies" too, ie the ones from the richer districts are trained for it from an early age (hence "careers") and traditionally ally with each other at the start. obviously it suits suzanne collins' purpose that katniss is only ever put in a position of having to fight the careers, rather than eg if she and rue had succeeded in eliminating them first and were left as the last two themselves.

i was reading ahead and some of the winning tributes who crop up later in the series have pretty interesting strategies - eg there's one who spends her time in training weeping and acting weak and deliberately gets a low score so no one thinks she's a threat (which is why katniss was targeted more than foxface in this film) - then hides for most of the games then reveals herself to be fairly good at killing right at the end.

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 09:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

i love the fact that you're really into this lex

Number None, Sunday, 25 March 2012 12:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

All I know is that the Hunger Games, the TV show, must be the most boring required viewing ever. Like when Katniss is asleep for two days? Or Team Asshole is just camping by the river or whatever? Not riveting.

So my wife told me that when things like the killer dogs and whatnot happen in the book, you don't know they're the TV show's doing, since it's all Katniss POV.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hey, look, it's "The Running Man," condensed to 11 minutes!

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm sure if katniss and rue were the last two katniss would kill herself though. it never really deals with the moment allies have to turn into enemies -- that would've been real interesting from the baddie crowd. (and again, if cato and the rest of them were turned into roy batty figures instead of just that disposable "this is all i know how to do!!" line, they would've gotten some humanity to them. maybe the book humanizes them more.)

one thing i liked is that katniss isn't some magical hero-who-sees-the-light figure (in this book at least). i'm always prepared for the young hero to make silly "CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT THEY'RE DOING TO US!?!?" monologues and then destroying the system, but nope. no matter how heroic and goodhearted she is, she's still just another kid playing their game.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

All I know is that the Hunger Games, the TV show, must be the most boring required viewing ever. Like when Katniss is asleep for two days? Or Team Asshole is just camping by the river or whatever? Not riveting.

lol josh you can easily sub in big brother w/r/t this complaint and yet that era happened to us!

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

(and again, if cato and the rest of them were turned into roy batty figures instead of just that disposable "this is all i know how to do!!" line, they would've gotten some humanity to them. maybe the book humanizes them more.)

i understand the sequels feature former "career" tributes in more depth, so maybe that happens then

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 13:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol josh you can easily sub in big brother w/r/t this complaint and yet that era happened to us!

But Big Brother is not required viewing! If our dystopian future included mandatory Big Brother viewing, the entire population would either be up in arms after a season or two or suicidal.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 14:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

One thing I'm curious about is what else the people at home watch - like is the rest of the programming Panem's Next Top Garishly Coloured Model, or Food Tips for Bark and Small Rodents? Or is that the only thing actually broadcast all year?

(MILD SPOILER)
There's a whole thing in Mockingjay about the propaganda aired regarding District 13.

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Sunday, 25 March 2012 15:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

BTW, I'm kind of fascinated that Jennifer Lawrence has become this lightning rod for body politics. Like, people calling her too "big boned" or whatever for this role. And then I just read (and maybe this is old news) that the reason she did that skeezy Esquire spread was to prove to apparently many doubters that she could be sexual post-"Winter's Bone," which is what got her the "X-Men" role, which surely helped her land this tentpole opportunity. Just weird all around, and kind of cruel, this oddly Zeitgeisty debate. Lawrence does "Winter's Bone" and people say she can't be hot. Then she does "Hunger Games," and people call her fat. I'm worried she's either going to be a tough as nails adult or go off the deep end.

Does the book specify Katniss as model-thin?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Almost all of the boys and at least half of the girls are bigger than I am, even though many of the tributes have never been fed properly. ... I may be smaller naturally, but overall my family's resourcefulness has given me an edge in that area. I stand straight, and while I'm thin, I"m strong. The meat and plants from the woods combined with the exertion it took to get them have given me a healthier body than most of those I see around me."

Cuba Pudding, Jr. (jaymc), Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Xp I feel there was some mention of fat people=rich, thin people=poor, but Katniss is also a hunter! She/her family get by fairly well between that and the many extra times her name is in the draw for grain, so her (very tiny, model thin with boobs) size is pretty reasonable. Of course I'm a fat old lady so what do I know. She runs pretty well for Hollywood Obese :*(

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Too bad I can't see what gets posted when I'm typing in Zing! Well quoted jaymc.

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

holy shit that's some awkward prose

Number None, Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

MILD BUT VAGUE SPOILER
Book readers - what will they do with Rue's district's riot now that they pulled it out of her tour? I hope they won't skip that altogether - I wanted to see all the districts.

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Sunday, 25 March 2012 16:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

basically any discussion about a woman's body is going to be cruel iirc

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 17:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

and the "fat people rich thin people poor" idea is so antiquated i can't defend any story taking place in the present or future using it.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 17:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Okay, wtf is actually "awkward" about that prose?

Andrew Farrell, Sunday, 25 March 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

So basically Katniss in the book is a typical late bloomer girl, sort of skinny and awkward? Regardless, it's not like she looks like some hulk in the movie. Maybe they should have given her mountain teeth again?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Never read the book, but there's a literal-mindedness of that paragraph that does scan weird. "My family's resourcefulness has given me an edge in that area" just doesn't sound like anything anyone would ever say or think. It's like what someone pointed out way upthread with some character exclaiming "OMG, killer mutant bees genetically engineered by the government!" Like, everyone would know what they are so they don't need to be described except for the sake of the reader. Same with that "I am thin but stand straight, for I have foraged and eaten healthily" stuff.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 18:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just an observation, why someone would find it awkward.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 March 2012 18:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

the whole book is like that. just plain, lifeless, over-explanatory prose. collins seems like the type of writer who would have to be convinced not to write exact mathematical measurements of things in lieu of actually describing them.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 18:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/hunger-games-movie_n_1314053.html

you'll have to overlook the "high schooler writing for huffpo" thing, but this is a pretty interesting article. i was joking before about "making katniss white" but i had no idea that there's been a lot of debate over her race within the fandom. lawrence was great, but it would've been good to see a POC in that role.

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 19:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

what sucks isn't that they cast jennifer lawrence, who is absolutely fantastic, but that they limited the casting call to white actresses. wtf.

iirc i read somewhere that JL is from appalachia (ie where district 12 is supposed to be)? you might see that as positive representation, or maybe a reason she could capture the character so well.

(i wasn't familiar with JL prior to the film, didn't know what she "really" looked at, and would not necessarily have guessed she was 100% caucasian.)

lex pretend, Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

some coverage from when the debate happened:

http://www.racebending.com/v4/featured/media-takes-note-of-the-hunger-games-casting/

rayuela, Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

the scene if the opening f the hunger games was legit jarring and then the Steve reich music came in and I was like c'mon are u tryina hit all my emotional buttons

arsenio and old ma$e (m bison), Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

i had no idea it was steve reich! that was the best bit of the film, gave me high hopes about the rest of the Games scenes, but alas.

xp to lex: i'm not sure it's relevant to mention the actual geography in relation to today's demographics. i don't know what year the book takes place in but it sounds like centuries have passed since north america was a thing. following current trends you'd expect there to be much much fewer white people throughout the entire country regardless of where different racial demos are concentrated (though you'd expect that to change too).

JIM THOMETHEUS (zachlyon), Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

can't believe I'm writing this, but... denby is OTM. surely the end is nigh.

But the rest of “The Hunger Games” is pretty much a disaster—disjointed, muffled, and even, at times, boring. Collins herself labored on the script, along with Gary Ross and Billy Ray, and Ross (“Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit”) directed. Working with the cinematographer Tom Stern, Ross shoots in a style that I have come to despise. A handheld camera whips nervously from one angle to another; the fragments are then jammed together without any regard for space. You feel like you’ve been tossed into a washing machine (don’t sit in the front rows without Dramamine). Even when two people are just talking calmly, Ross jerks the camera around. Why? As the sense of danger increases, he has nothing to build toward. Visually, he’s already gone over the top. And the action itself is a thrashing, incoherent blur—kids tumbling on the ground or wrestling with each other. Katniss stalks various kids with her bow and arrow, but she kills only one intentionally—a domineering sadist—and you don’t see the arrow hit him; you don’t even see him fall. Ross consistently drains away all the tensions built into the grisly story—the growing wariness and suspicion that each teen-ager must feel as the number of those still alive begins to diminish, or the horror (or glee) that some of them experience as they commit murder. The camera rushes through the wilderness, but, in the end, the movie looks less like a fight to the death than like a scavenger hunt. Katniss is always finding something useful in a tree or lying on the ground.

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 22:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

this was good, jerky camera aside, and j-lawr is a total movie star, she's amazing

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 23:03 (2 years ago) Permalink


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