Secrets, Pawns, and a Handful of Berries

Like every other literary-inclined-slash-hipster teenager in America, I was outside the theater at eight o’clock on Thursday with my hiking boots and caffeine. And all the other hipsters will tell you that they read the Hunger Games before it was cool, but I’m telling you the truth. Working as a student aide for the librarians had its perks…. One being that, before they trusted me to actually shelve books, I could just do my homework and sleep. But once I was allowed in the sacred realm of young adult lit, I shelved all the new books as they came in, and frequently checked them out myself before anybody else, if the synopsis sounded interesting. (And I got to read three books at a time, instead of the standard two. Except the librarians were kind of creepy, and once the one with a mustache told me that if anything happened to my parents, she’d adopt me. I’ve never slept quite as soundly after that.)

Moving on. So I’ve been a fan of the Hunger Games series for two and a half or three years now, and it kind of feels like the rest of the world’s just catching on. But my glasses are still from an optometrist, not from seeing Avatar in 3D, so I think I’m okay.

Back to Thursday night. It was a lot of sitting, a lot of doodling, a lot of talking about Finnick Odair with two dozen other people who blush at the sound of his name. I didn’t end up getting my mockingjay pin in time, so I didn’t dress up, but I saw several girls who tried to replicate Katniss’ arena digs. Then there was a Peeta (blonde guy with a loaf of bread), and an Effie (looked really, really cool, but a bit out of place), as well.

My butt got really sore, but the crowds weren’t nearly as bad as either of the Deathly Hallows, so we got to sit inside the entire time. At about ten, they let us inside the actual theater rooms. My friends, my sister’s friends, and I took up the entire back row and half of the row in front of it. A few people initiated a popcorn fight, some brought the books to read, and others tried to fall asleep. Okay, I was the only one trying to fall asleep.

When the movie started, everyone in the theater fell silent. Our attempt at a Three-Fingered Salute Flash Mob failed, but it was okay, because A) we were in the back row, and B) nobody cared about anything but the movie at that point.

I WILL REMAIN SPOILER-FREE. All I will say about the actual movie is that it remained delightfully true to the book, all the actors were brilliant, and while the camera direction was jarring and, at times, painful, it helped give the illusion that you were inside Katniss’ head. Transitioning from a first-person, present-tense book to a third-person, omnipotent movie is not easy. Ross, Collins, and everyone else involved did a wonderful job. (I still feel that, after my second time seeing it just an hour ago.)

In fact, the only thing I can criticize is that Peeta and Katniss both referred to the redheaded tribute as Foxface from the time they met up, without any discussion or agreement. I’m guessing it was either in one of the deleted scenes, or everyone involved in production was so invested into the book that it didn’t occur to them. It was pretty obvious who they were referring to, though, and it didn’t make any difference to the plot.

I reread The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and part of Mockingjay between the first time I saw the movie and the second, just to refresh my memory of the books. I could picture, vividly, almost every scene in the first book based on the movie. There were things that I wish had been kept, but ultimately it was the best adaption I’ve ever seen. Even tiny details like the “little duck” bit were kept to maintain the feel of the book.

Now I’m excited to see where they’ll take us with Catching Fire, and ultimately Mockingjay. First and foremost, they need to give us the perfect Finnick. If he’s not absolutely everything that the fans want, Catching Fire isn’t going to do well. But I have confidence in Ross and Collins, and based on their casting of the first book, I’m trusting them to deliver.

Then, they need to acknowledge that Catching Fire comes in three distinct parts: after the Games, before the Quell, and The Quell itself. Giving each part its own movie would be ideal, but splitting Mockingjay into two movies is probably the best we can hope for. Balancing Katniss’ lack of knowledge with their omnipresent viewpoint is going to be difficult. In the book, Katniss just goes her merry way and then everybody else’s actions are explained later, through flashbacks. The filmmakers don’t have that luxury.

Mockingjay is going to be the final test. Can they balance action, character development, and romance soundly?

There’s only one way to find out. May the odds be ever in their favor.

About Aloha

A teen writer and future world ruler. Llamas make me happy.
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15 Responses to Secrets, Pawns, and a Handful of Berries

  1. Alice Hutcherson Mellark says:

    I was there :]
    I don’t know if you count this as a spoiler for the movie, but it might count, so *spoiler alert.*
    I wasn’t happy with the romance. There was one kiss. But I’m just thankful they didn’t overdo the romance, I’d rather have them have less than more.
    Can’t wait for the second!

  2. Autumn says:

    May the odds be ever in your favour!!!! I went to see it with my Mum. We both love the books soooo much!!!!
    ~
    Autumn

  3. Haven’t seen the movie, and I’m determined not to say the words H—– G—– until at least a month has passed. I’m also determined to reread the first book before I watch the movie, and be brutally critical in my review. I really have no idea why I’m determined about either of these two things, but when you’re partially insane you can bypass these things. *raises hand for high-five and is disappointed*

    • The. Same. Our library has about ten people (not exaggerating – it was twenty when I first requested it, but I’m sure the number has dropped down since then) in front of me requesting a copy, so I’m waiting for a friend’s Dad to finish reading HG so I can borrow it. The suspense is terrible! I actually have my hands on a library copy of Mockingjay, and I took a peek. Only a single random page, don’t kill me! The writing seemed amazing. And the peek that was supposed to sate my appetite only made it worse. *fail*

      I can give a reason you want to be “brutally critical!” You’re like me and hoping you can evaluate a book properly without being influenced by massive mobs yelling “IT’S THE BEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF WRITTEN WORD AND POSSIBLY BEFORE!”

      • There’s a bit of a difference there, though: I’ve already read it and joined in with that massive mob. But now I’ve got this feeling like I don’t want to seem shallow and just the same as all the other people. That’s why I won’t say the two words and that’s why I’ll be overly critical.
        When I requested Mockingjay, there were 38 people waiting. You were right; a reason I’m being overly critical is that mob. Someone needs to knock some sense into them.

    • Heh. Mobs of almost any sort could use some sense-knocking. As a rule, hype scares me away from books. It’s a lovely world where uper-popular books have mobs of readers who offer critique. I suppose, tho, for a book to reach Harry-Potter-esque levels, people who do not usually read books have to get involved. I read an article about this a while ago on this (and promptly lost the link). People one could call Readers only make up a percentage of the population. To get a book to a point where everyone has heard of it and most everyone had read it, people outside that regular percentage have to be reading it. What do they hear about it? “It’s really good.” What would they be able to compare it to? Nothing much else, because they aren’t usually what you would call a reader. My guess is that is where at least many of the enthusiastic, non-critical reviews come from.

      Oh. I believe I failed to meet your high-five in my first comment. *hive-fives*

      • That’s true. But it is also good for we mere Readers to read popular things, because that way we learn what’s popular, and don’t sound like complete morons whenever we get into a literary conversation. For instance, I’ve never read Harry Potter. Whenever HP comes up in a conversation, I have to say “I’ve never read it.” From that point, the conversation peters out into nothing. So it’s good to read popular things, but not always to get sucked into the aforementioned mob.
        Well, I said I was disappointed about the high-five in the first comment, so I didn’t mind. And it was for partially insane people. But now that you mention it… *holds up hand for another high five, now that he’s had one success*

  4. Skye says:

    Two things:
    1 – You posted!!!!!
    2 – I’m going on Thursday! Really, really, really excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

  5. Tangy says:

    You got to see it twice? I’m jealous. I feel like I missed something so I really want to watch it again but me and my friends went to Denny’s after we saw it so now I’m broke.

    So anyways. My favorite part was at the end with Seneca in the room… I hope you know what I’m talking about.

  6. I went and saw it Night-Of too, and thought it was pretty good. They cut out stuff of course but I think they did it well enough. I didn’t dress up either, but there were *lots* of Effie’s were we were, and braids. Everyone had a braid. It was pretty exciting.

  7. Kirsten says:

    I totally agree with your review. All my friends hated it because they left out all the “best parts”. I told them it’s a movie. When I went, I didn’t see too many costumes, though I almost wore two blouses, three skirts, and crazy makeup to be a Capitol citizen. Also, Finnick must NOT disappoint me (or anyone else). We know what we were promised.

  8. hithere298 says:

    I began to wonder why I’ve been having restless nights. I’ve been waking up at 3 in the morning countless times with a horrible nightmare, but within a few minutes the memory faded, each time and every time. I only knew one thing, that the nightmare seemed to be the same thing each time. Knowing that the answer to this mighty conundrum could very sell save the universe from a horrid and utter doom, I decided to keep a paper and pencil nearby my bed each night, and jot down as much as I can remember from each dream, but only one or two words came to mind each time before I forgot them. After 14 long nights I figured it out. The problem was that Aloha hasn’t posted anything in over a month!!! This is the worst catastrophe to ever strike mankind, and it’s a mystery as of why a black hole hasn’t formed from inside the blogosphere and wiped out every blog in existence yet. Please, Aloha, I- and the rest of the people who want to survive this horrible disaster, beg you to start posting again!!!!
    The fate of the world depends on you.
    Plus every day you don’t post a baby zebra gets punched in the mouth.
    Same with dolphins. And llamas. And whatever your favorite type of puppy may be.

  9. Paulina Czarnecki says:

    Haha… I love the Hunger Games too!!! And I also read it way before it was cool…My friend was reading it, and I asked her what it was about. She said, “Twenty-four kids have to go into an arena and fight to the death.” I pictured a boxing ring-arena… Anyways, I read them two years ago and have been hooked ever since! 🙂

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