Thursday, February 27, 2014

The World of the Hunger Games is set within what seems to be a post-apocalyptic realm in North America, where a centralized, highly-oppressive government grips it's people- the people of the Districts- within it's iron fist.

In a sense, this should seem or feel familiar, yes?

The element is Dystopia. That is basically the polar opposite of utopia, where human depression, enslavement, and rigid control are emphasized over free thought, quality of life for all, and happiness over order. The Capitol government is what represents this overbearing leadership, and at it's head, President Snow, creating an almost Big Brother-ish feel.

There is a heavy haze created in the book which hangs low over the characters' heads, where the mere mention of anything outside of a certain boundary could lead to death, if worse, the nightmare of being trapped within the Hunger Games for the rest of their lives.

As Haymitch always said: "You never win the Hunger Games."

It would take an arrow-through-the-force-field-with-lightning-and-blow-everything-the-crap-up epic in order to break free of the regime. I mean, come on. If you wanted to leave Panem, where would you go? No other place existed in the time of this novel.

Especially as seen within the book Catching Fire, President definately gives the appearance of Big Brother, seeing as he was able to watch almost every move Katniss made, in public and in private. Spooky, huh?

One would not want to live in this world due to the power of the Capitol, but that is the point. It is a dystopia!

Even moreso, this seems to be supported by Tom Henthorne, someone who analyzed the Hunger Games series. He notes on how there is a lack of information on how Katniss, the voice of the story, has almost no clue about the true history of the Capitol and of Panem overall. On top of that, the reality that Katniss faces in Panem causes her to reject the idea of bringing any children into the world, so she may not subject any more human beings to the living torture that she faces.

Apart from Katniss, Henthorne mentions something crucial: the ability of the mass media to control others. This is done primarily through the televising of the Hunger Games. That gives people something to hope for, for the glory and prizes of their district to win, rather than the emptiness to focus on and think about their overall welfare, and how unjust it is.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

With each work Suzanne Collins brings to life, a new world is opened, one expanding from the previous adventures of our favourite little rebel girl, Katniss Everdeen (a.k.a the Girl on Fire; a.k.a the Mockingjay; a.k.a the protagonist). However, do I believe that one of them reigns supreme?

The battle of the books (in certain cases, movies) was well fought, yet the final two contenders of the Mockingjay triad were Catching Fire and the Hunger Games.

Ultimately in the end, the first book took the prize. It had the amazing exposition, which when stretched throughout the novel did a fantastic job of setting the scene for the bloody rebellion that was to follow, and the freedom won from it. On top of that, we really get to see the process of Katniss' growth, instead of just the result seen in Catching Fire.

But even better... We see Haymitch in his prime as he takes a face plant on the stage.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

Right, the old cat was much cuter, too.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Once again we are brought to the supposed bridge of the cinema, from the literature to your imagination. Yet once again, we are brought to some disparities or additions that may have changed the inflection the movie has produced on the words of the novel.

Once again, Haymitch takes center stage, where he is meant to be. There is nothing that he doesn't do in this case. Rather, an addition would stir the dust of mystery and add to the tension leading up to the grim climax of Catching Fire.

What he does is throw his glass.

Now, why is this significant? This is in response to President Snow announcing that the 'tributes this year shall be reaped from the existing pool of victors.' Once again, a simple angry reaction may not seem significant at a glance, but there are quite a few implications in regards to what he does.

One of his primary goals is to keep Katniss alive, due to primarily assumed planning between himself and Plutarch Heavensbee, the head gamemaker within the book and film, to use her as the figurehead of the rebellion against the Capitol, as seen in Mockingjay. However, there is another view to this anger. Despite the fact that Katniss will go back into the arena regardless of what happens (as she is the only female victor of 12), Haymitch also has a chance of going back into the Hunger Games. He has taken up drinking and a careless attitude towards most of the people with whom he interacts, but could this mask a true mental and emotional scarring brought on by the second Quarter Quell, which he won? Could this be out of anger for Katniss? Selfish anger for himself? Potentially both?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

   From pen on paper, to the clicking of a keyboard, to the whir of
printers amidst a massive factory, to a man on a set yelling "ACTION!" The vision Suzanne Collins has is now brought to life on the big screen for all to see her story of Katniss visually represented. Although, one can sense a game of telephone as the story gets interpreted farther from the original. The first movie, 'The Hunger Games,' has some clear instances of these deviations.

   The first to look at is the absence of drunken antics within the beginning of the movie, where the Reaping occurs. One can see a morose Peeta Mellark, and an almost-shattered Katniss Everdeen (stepping in for her sister) as they take the stage, but something is missing....

Where is Haymitch?

No stumbling across the stage, no cursing at the nerve of the Capitol, no nothing. We fail to get a glimpse into the life of the man who holds the Mockingjay's life in his hands until the third book. We fail to get a moment of comedic relief within the shadow of the storm that is to come. Ultimately, we fail to see a man in his moment of shining glory. Lesson learned, never. Never. Never. Never. Exclude Haymitch.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

(Above and Below) See the similarity?
   When one thinks of the Hunger Games, they imagine the groups of emaciated children forced into an arena to fight to the death for the entertainment of the Capitol, and to remind the districts of Panem that the power of the Capitol is supreme. There is; however, more than meets the eye. Collins drew her inspiration from multiple places, not just gladiators within an arena or dystopian masterpieces by previous authors. One of which was Greek Mythology. More specifically, Theseus and the Minotaur.

   The story of Theseus starts with the origins of the Minotaur, created when a bull (sent by Zeus) mated with a Greek Queen, then trapped into a winding labyrinth when Minos, the King of Crete (and husband of the Queen) discovered the creature. After Minos captured Athens, he then vowed to destroy the beast. Thus, instead of sacrificing his own men and women, he decided he would sacrifice seven boys and girls from Athens every nine year, who would be thrown into the labyrinth to fight

the minotaur. One time, a young man named Theseus stepped up to offer himself as a tribute, intending to kill the Minotaur. He succeeds, ultimately becoming the King of Athens after a while.

   Does any of this seem familiar? Theseus basically "volunteers as tribute," albeit not to protect his little sister named after a flower. He participates in what is essentially an ancient Greek Hunger Games, where children are forced into an arena in order to fight to the death. Theseus also succeeds, essentially beating the 'Hunger Games,' which mirrors Katniss and her victory over the system within Catching Fire. Theseus and the daughter of Minos also mirror Katniss and Peeta within the arena, minus the fact that Minos' daughter even started genuinely loving Theseus (and that she could not participate within the arena).