Friday, March 30

please, hold your applause.

it's a well-known fact that i am a clapper when it comes to movies.  i clap for previews.  i clap before, during and after movies (some might be annoyed by this, but i like to think that i make the whole theater-going experience more enjoyable).

i went out tonight with friends to see the hunger games.  i devoured all 3 books in a matter of a couple of days over one christmas break, and while i have learned my lesson to not expect too much when it comes to movies adapted from popular novels, i was really looking forward to seeing how they did with this adaptation.

just during the previews, i clapped no less than three times (i nearly fell out my seat for the trailer for the avengers).  when the movie itself started, i'll admit i clapped a few times.  but then... no. more. clapping.

the books/movies can be summarized in one simple statement: children killing children.  i'm sorry, but i see no reason to clap for that.  over the course of the movie, whenever a tribute quickly and viciously dispatched a fellow tribute, the audience erupted into a raucous applause.  it made me sick.

the books themselves are graphic, but for some reason the violence isn't as offensive in print as it is on screen.  what made me even more uncomfortable was the fact that tween girls comprised half of the theater audience.  they had no idea what they were cheering for.

this past week i read a very interesting article about the movie.  the author's opinion is that "...there is one important aspect of the original novel that is almost entirely absent from the movie: the darkly funny way in which collins directly accuses the audience. as in, us. weirdly, by turning the book into such a fan-baiting crowdpleaser, the movie version of hunger games seems to oddly miss the point of its own source material."  i beg to differ.  by creating such a spectacle of the violence, resulting in approving applause from the audience, we have, in effect, been turned into the citizens of the capitol.  we are being manipulated into condoning the violence on screen, the same way the characters in the book derive so much entertainment from the games.

because the adolescent violence was so disturbing to me, i found it hard to actually enjoy the movie as a whole.  on some level it was a good movie, but... it was a little too much.  when the movie ended i felt weird and unsettled.  not exactly how i want to feel after spending $10 and 2.5 hours in a dark theater.

now, give me an epic battle of elves vs. orcs or a colosseum showdown or a cage fight between estranged brothers and i will clap till my hands bleed.  but i cannot clap for children killing children.

and on that note, i think i'll fall asleep to the dulcet sounds of middle earth... 


  1. I think it's easier to forget their ages in the books because they're making such adult decisions. But when forced to see the characters, you realize just how young they are. I admit I was sucked in and entertained by the books, but stepping away from it and being able to think about it afterward, do any of them make good decisions? Do any of them choose to not kill anyone? The book seems to be a statement of the effects of war on children, and we're supposed to see Katniss and Peeta as the brave heroes. But do they decide not to succumb to the violence? Nope. They become just as much a part of it as everyone else. And you're right. We're the capitol. And just like those citizens, the movie audience has no idea they're condoning such horrors.

  2. I must say, katie, i wish i were in texas to discuss my view on this with you. because i love that book and i loved that movie. (and please excuse my capitalization. i sometimes refuse to capitalize i's when i write on my blog. makes me feel rebel-ish)but alas, i am not there. we must talk when i get back.