I love The Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve listened to the audiobooks, read all three books, and I was one of those nerds at the midnight premier of The Hunger Games. I dyed my hair blue, put on my blue tailcoat and every other finery I could think of until I looked like a citizen of the Capital.
So, now Catching Fire is set to come out. I’m not going to get tickets for the midnight showing, nor do I think I’ll actually go to the theatres to see it. Might not even RedBox it. If enough people tell me it’s worth seeing, then I might borrow it or check it out from a library.
The biggest reason I’m not interested in the sequel to The Hunger Games is two-fold.
1. Watching the first movie was almost painful, and
2. Catching Fire already looks like it has been drastically changed.
So… why was watching the first movie so painful? Because director Gary Ross decided that to avoid showing blood and violence, which would lose the PG-13 rating, he decided to shake the camera. A lot. If it weren’t for the fact that I had read the books and knew how it ended, I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone because I spend the end of the movie trying not to throw up from motion sickness. A little cinema verite, the technical term for using a hand held camera to produce a shaky effect, can add a sense of life to the movie. Scenes from Les Miserables, Chronicle, and the Bourne trilogy were shot in cinema verite and those movies were immensely well put together. But when you’re talking about a movie that’s centered around a teenaged death match, shaking the camera shouldn’t be an option.
2. The trailer for Catching Fire is already flooding the internet. In the trailer, there’s a conversation between President Snow, president of the post-war country of Panam, and an unknown member of the Capital. They talk about how they have to kill Katniss Everdeen, who has become a symbol of hope to the impoverished Districts. They come to the conclusion that they must not only kill her, but “her kind.” All the victors. My brain was screaming that’s wrong. And, unfortunately, I think I know why they made that change.
In the book, President Snow announced that the seventy fifth Hunger Games (the above mentioned deathmatch) is a special one called a quarter quell. After the war that established the Capital and the Districts, every twenty-fifth Hunger Games would be a quarter quell. This year, President Snow opens a sealed envelope and reads that the tributes would be chosen from the pool of victors from each district, to remind them that even the victors are under the mercy of the Capital.
I think Hollywood’s trying to send us a message, or at least their reflection of the way things are. If it had been a long-standing corrupt system like in the book, then I think people could accept it as a work of fiction and solely for entertainment. If the President conspires and makes a public example of all heroes, then there’s been a breakdown in the system and the focus will be on the quick-spreading corruption. That’s something that the American population
can relate to. Left wing or right wing, we’re seeing our own president do a lot of things that should be outside his bounds and oath of office. I’m not going to name them. Just watch the news or check Facebook, you’ll find them.
Normally, I’m all for a correct view of the way things are, and an inspiration to move. So why does finding it in Catching Fire bug me? Because that’s a huge deviation from the book. If Hollywood wants to present an idea for that kind of change, come up with something original. I know there are talented writers out there. I have to wonder what Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games series, would think of so drastic a change being made to her book.