Saturday, March 31, 2012

Noshing on Milk Duds: The Hunger Games

Last week, I read 3 books:  The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mocking Jay.  I didn't know much about The Hunger Games, but when I saw that I could "borrow" it for free on my Kindle via Amazon Prime I decided to check it out.  At the time, I didn't know that it was written for teens.  I did notice that it was written quite simply.  Straight forward.  No big vocabulary words.  Kinda like this blog.

I thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy.  As I read the last book, Mocking Jay, I was surprised to find that I was enrapt by a book that was basically about war and politics.  That is so unlike me.  But, I couldn't put the books down because the author kept dangling the carrot of Peeta VS Gale.  Yup.  Like those vampire movies, the story line involves a girl with a choice between two great guys.  So, I read.  And read.  And read.  I won't spoil the outcome for you other than to say that my reaction to Katniss' default "choice" was a big, fat "Hmm."

Alan and I went to see the movie yesterday at 5:00 (to beat the crowds).  The tickets were $11 each because the movie was showing in the Xtra special XD theatre.  We shared our usual movie snack, a box of Milk Duds chased down with mediocre movie theatre Diet Coke.  As soon as the movie started, I knew that there would be a problem.  The movie is filmed in a very realistic manner.  The camera must have been balanced on the top of someone's head.  Some of the shots were so shaky, I had to close my eyes.  [think Blair Witch and Area 51]  Chase scenes?  Foe-gid aboud it.  Ever since I saw the "Chevy Show" at Six Flags in the '70's, I get motion sickness during films involving high speed chases, scenic helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon or just a plain old shaky shot of someone eating a bowl of Cheerios.  I can't even watch kids playing videogames.  I spent most of the movie looking down at my lap with my hand "shading" my eyes while taking slow, deep breaths. 

Was the movie as good as the book?  Nope.  I'm not just saying that because I didn't have to look away from my Kindle not one time to keep from feeling sea sick.  There are many important details in the book that fill out the fascinating story of how Panem developed and what the Districts were all about.  I did, however, enjoy seeing the Capital and its colorful citizenry.  The contrast to District 12 was as dramatic as going from black and white to color in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy peers out a Munchkin Land.  Also, the tables laden with fantastical foods were a treat for the eyes.  The absolute best part of the movie was being able to see the Hunger Games "control room."  Bring on the fire!  BAM!  Bring on the tracker-jackers!  BUZZ!  That place was the dream room of parents with teens.  Oh no!  A hot, sexy 14 year old vixen has my son in her line of fire.  Make all of her teeth fall out!  Boo Yah!  Aha!  Little Sammy is skippin' Wednesday Night Youth at church, and he's heading for the House of Hidden Parents!!!!  Make the church keep popping up in front of his every move!  Kazaaaaam!  But, I digress.

You've probably already seen or heard about the cult-like following that The Hunger Games has developed.  Our theatre was void of costumed fans, but the unkempt 20-something, bearded, plaid-shirt-and-khaki-shorts clad guy with the bucket of popcorn, big box o' candy , and gallon of Coke that sat just down the row from us was definitely a "follower."  He laughed inappropriately loudly at things that wouldn't be funny to anyone who hadn't read the book and knew the "back story" of the line.  This I know because his HA-HA-HA-s were in sync with my own mild chuckles.   Every now and then he blurted out little unintelligible remarks.  I kept looking as far as I could in his direction with my peripheral vision to see if there was, indeed, a tiny person sitting on the other side of him.  Nope.  He was talking to Katniss.

I think that The Hunger Games is an important book for teens to read.  It brings up many modern day issues that merit overdue deep discussion.   Our addiction to voyeurism is at an all time high.  (I plead guilty.  Yes, I saw Teresa Giudice flip the table.)  We are already playing "hunger games" on a world-wide stage.  Seeing dozens of starving children clad in filthy, torn clothing on TV has the same effect on us that that viewing District 12 did on the lucky residents of the Capital.  "Oh my goodness.  Look at them.  Pity."  (Again, I plead guilty and feel guilty about being guilty.)  Then there's the issue of the minority having control of the vast majority of wealth.  And on.  And on.

The other day I heard that The Hunger Games merchandise was hitting the shelves.  Whut?!  One man on TV said that because of the popularity of the books and the movie, "franchising" was going to be huge.  Seriously?  Peeta posters?  Starvation simulation games? Action figures with special skills and weapons?  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself.  Your children and grandchildren can re-enact Hunger Games in their very own rooms with a Duplo-bucket-turned-on-it's-side "Cornucopia" filled with GI Joe weapons and Barbie beauty products.  Walking past their doors with an armful of folded towels, you will hear them chirping, "Quick!  Set off da bombs!"  "Kiwl huh!  Kiwl huh!"  "Oh, no!  Wun fast!  The wittle gween ahmy guys arh comin' to life an' day ah shootin' at us!!!"  

Toys-R-Us is "on it."
I'm not sure what I think about this.  What do you think?

Will I go see the upcoming Hunger Games movies?  Not in a theatre.  Unless they make a Non-Drowsy Dramamine that doesn't make me sleepy.  I'll probably wait until "Catching Fire" and "Mocking Jay" go to Netflix (in the year 2016) and watch on a small screen noshing on a movie-sized box of Milk Duds in my luxurious home on my cushy leather couch in my soft, comfy pajamas.

I leave you with this:  May the odds be ever in your favor.


Barker Crew said...

i love your perspective...and you may have persuaded me to spend the every so seldom "date night" another way! I've read the trilogy and Caleb thought he'd catch up by watching the movie. I think I'll hand him my Kindle! :) {{HUGS}}

Carolyn Lackey said...

Kristi, I think that you should go see the movie!! Unless of course, you get "see sick."


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