Or, as I like to call it: Hunger Games 2: Jennifer Lawrence Screaming
Is there anyone else who isn’t kowtowing to the second installment of The Hunger Games (book and film)? Probably not. Am I the only one who focuses on ridiculously minute details that force my attention away from the story and leave me bitter and upset? Probably.
*Spoiler alerts abound: I give away the beginning, end, and middle.*
I read Hunger Games, and like most people who can read, I devoured this book like it was a personal pizza. I was so impressed with the pacing, large font, and short chapters, and even more impressed with the speed at which I read it, that I decided to keep going. I’m pretty good with this reading thing. I bet I finished it twice as fast as the thirteen year old girl sitting next to me on the plane. (That’s a lie: we finished at the same time, because I was reading her copy over her shoulder.) (That’s also a lie, I swear I’m not that creepy.)
The first Hunger Games film was great. Not life-changing or mind-blowing, but I thought it was well done and followed the book nicely, trimming slow stuff where necessary. There are purists out there waiting to blow the whistle, “UH WAIT BART, what about the Mockingjay pin? HUH? How she gets it in the book is different from the movie! Isn’t that a freaking crime?”
No, it’s not a crime, and don’t be ridiculous.
During college I interned for one month at a book publishing/movie production company that, besides deserving its own post because it was me and six girls, adapts many books-to-movies. Part of my job was to read the screenplays that were submitted for young adult fiction books similar to the Hunger Games. We’re talking horrible, horrible screenplays that change plot lines, endings, beginnings, middles, character names, magical powers, everything.
For the record: Katniss getting the pin from her sister keeps the pace and is supposed to get you more emotionally involved with Prim. (Which is the last thing I need, by the way. I’m already so emotionally involved with Prim and Rue, that every time someone holds up three fingers in the films I start tearing up. I saw a guy hail a taxi yesterday with three fingers and I broke down.)
I finished the second and third books as soon as I could get my hands on them, and overall, I liked the trilogy. I say overall because it seemed like she didn’t try with the second book.
The author, Suzanne Collins, is probably a great human, and imagine that she was pressured by publishers, but she still wrote it.
Publishers: Okay, it needs to be a trilogy because trilogies sell.
Collins: It’s only meant to be a two-book story…
Publishers: No good. Bi-logys don’t sell.
Collins: I guess I could write a one and a three… and for the second I’ll just repeat the first one? That’s it! I’ll just have everyone do the same thing again and bring in some more characters and have them go through the same exact process and play up the same emotions and we’ll go back to the arena.
The film, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, followed the book decently, but they added a brilliant (Read: horribly irritating) element: excessive screaming.
Prim, Short for Primrose, is Katniss’s sister. Jennifer Lawrence spends half the movie screaming, PRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIII, NOOOOOO!!!!, PRIII-AHHHH!!
I kept thinking, Who? Who is she upset about?
They were the same high-pitched screams that you hear in a restaurant from four-year-old girls—eardrum-popping shrieks that make all those high school garage rock concerts sound like a good idea. You think the human-siren won’t get louder or last as long, but it gets even louder, and lasts longer. And people stop talking and turn. And then you cover your ears. And then your head explodes. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress, so I have no choice but to blame the directing.
Director: Hey, Jen? Hey great energy out there. We love it. But instead of saying your lines, we just want you to scream the whole time.
Jennifer Lawrence: Okay, like yelling and screaming the lines so people can understand what i’m saying?
Director (laughs): No—no, make it sound like you’re an insane person who has been strapped to a table and someone is poking your armpits while blasting all eight of Nickelback’s albums.
We get it, Jennifer, you’re in pain. But just because your skin is boiling doesn’t mean you have to keep screaming about it. As Robin Williams said in the 1995 hit film, Jumanji, “Crying never helped anybody do anything, okay? You have a problem, you face it like a man.” I know Jennifer is a woman, but the concept still applies: if you have problem, you face it like a man because you have baby Peeta to take care of*.
*Take care of means scream about.
“PEETA–AAHHH!!! PEE-A-AHHH-AH! WAKE UP!!! PEETA! Walk normally! PEETA! Run like a normal person who is running from death might run! PEETA! Stop falling for traps and getting hurt and being a huge liability! There’s another movie, Jennifer, we all know he’s going to be fine.
The ending: Brutal.
Here’s how it ended:
Katniss: Where are we going?
Gale: District 13.
Katniss: Okay I had suspicions but whatever.
Gale: Really? You’re not surprised? At all?
Katniss: How’s PRIIIIIIIIMMMM–AAAHHHHH!!
Gale: She’s fine, I got her out in time because they bombed out 12.[CUT TO close up of Katniss’s face, and watch her go from being sad to mad. Insert Mockingjay graphic that looks like it was copied and pasted from a 1998 Microsoft Windows screensaver. Roll credits.]
Here’s how it should have ended:
Gale: District 12 has been destroyed but your fam is fine—I rescued them with my perfect jawline and beautiful blue eyes. Did you know my brother is Thor? Cool.
Katniss: Daaang. Okay…so where are we headed now?
Gale: …District 13.[CUT TO BLACK, ROCK BALLAD OR MOTIVATIONAL ORCHESTRA SCORE (think Gladiator) AND ROLL CREDITS.]
Bart Tocci (’11) lives in Boston where he writes essays, performs at open mics, and threatens to start taco restaurants. He’s been told that he looks like the kind of guy who stands up for what’s right. And who goes to the store before the party. Read more here: barttocci.wordpress.com