I’ve been lying low recently, trying to get more writing done, and the good news is that I’ve finished a short story that will be out in an anthology of SF and F soon, a Cassie (Caledonian Sprite) short story, also to be included in an anthology, and, for loyal readers here, a free gift once it’s released, plus several more chapters of The Prince’s Son.
I’ve also been laid low, forcibly, by a virus, which doesn’t happen to me often, as with the outdoor life and work I have, I’m in general disgustingly healthy.
But, hey ho, it afforded me time to catch up on a few movies I’ve been storing up.
THE HUNGER GAMES
Now, I know I’m a long way behind the times with this one, but I’ve been rather hesitant to watch it as I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the subject matter. A story that forces 24 teens to kill each other in a battle to survive is a pretty grim idea, don’t you think? There have been many versions of this sort of dystopian cruelty before, but generally featuring adults, which I find a bit easier to stomach.
So, it has been sitting there on my Sky box, looking at me accusingly since I taped it many months ago. I kept putting it off, but finally I had no more excuses.
Deciding to at the least start it, and then erase it if it didn’t capture me, I clicked ‘select’.
And oh boy, was I in for a ride!
I LOVED it!
First, the gentle introduction to Katniss, her family, their situation and the fear they all live with. The obvious poverty and struggle to get by was accentuated by the drab colours of setting, clothing and lighting.
And then along comes Effie Trinket, with her bright wig, make up and clothes – I have to say, I wasn’t sure at first if she wasn’t a drag queen – and her total incomprehension of the reality of life for the people of District 12. Her exhortations to the unfortunate ‘tributes’ to enjoy the excesses of the train, the living quarters and their fleeting celebrity is mind-blowingly shallow, illustrating how out of touch the people of the Capitol are with the gruesome brutality of their annual live game show.
There is the drunken former winner who is supposed to be helping them prepare; the Chief Gamemaker, who oversees a staff using a holographic display of the arena which they manipulate as if the whole thing is a virtual game, and the pieces are not flesh and blood teens; the Master of Ceremonies and commentator who is only concerned with appearances; and the evil President, tending his gardens while children are out there murdering one another to ‘keep the peace’.
The clever juxtaposition of the colourless Districts with the wild, over-the-top excesses of the Capitol is excellent film work, the actors all fulfil their roles with great panache, and a lot of humanity is highlighted against the unthinking cruelty. The death of the youngest tribute, Rue, is truly heart rending, even when you know it is inevitable.
And I was amused by the mockingjay call, which to me sounded almost exactly like the 5 tones from Close Encounters, just missing the last note.
If you haven’t seen it or, if like me, you’ve been unsure if you’d enjoy the subject matter, I would heartily recommend it. Can’t wait to see the next two, and by that time, the last will be nearly along 😀
If you’ve seen it, what did you think?