Mockingjay Part 1 Trailers Promise Plenty of Action and Maybe Even Something from the Book!

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I actually like movies, hence my title as unofficial faculty film fancier here at HogPro. The first Hunger Games movie, however, was mostly a tremendous letdown, despite a few useful and meaningful moments. Catching Fire was an improvement, though still with some shudder-worthy gaffes and a botched ending. This week saw the release of the final trailer for the first part of Mockingjay, set for release on November 21. The previews include big, loud, grab-those-viewers-by-the-lapels sequences, but there are a few moments that deserve some thought, consideration, and speculation. The shorter trailers that have been released, including Katniss’s return to 12, are actually quite thoughtful and haunting, boding well for the actual film next month. More TV spots have emerged, and more doubtless will appear in the airtime assault leading up to the film’s release. So, in our own prep for the big, big day, let’s look at some of what we can expect and dread, based on the previews we are seeing.

[Read more…]

The Hunger Games: Another Critical Perspective

Hat tip to James!

Guest Post: Katniss Everdeen as Female Hero Archetype

Wayne Stauffer teaches writing and literature at Houston Community College in Houston, Texas. He has taught a Literature and Film class on the Harry Potter books and films and is preparing one on the Hunger Games.

The release of Mockingjay Pt. 1, the third installment of The Hunger Games movies, will give us our next cinematic visualization of Katniss Everdeen and the world of Panem. Since she is such a strong character and the protagonist of the books and films, our first thoughts turn to her as the heroine of the series. But Collins has written her as different kind of action/adventure story Hero than we have seen previously. Although she has many of the qualities of a Hero that initially come to mind, there is still something about Katniss that the usual hero analysis does not address.

Conventional literary hero analysis of fictional protagonists usually examines one or more of the following Heroic Male Archetypes as the protagonist seems to exhibit a preponderance of qualities of a given kind: [Read more…]

“Panem Today, Panem Tomorrow, and Panem Forever”

Read about the commercial that is a kind of film trailer here.

Cue John’s Alchemical Analysis in 5…4…3…2…

Hunger Games: Art Depicts Life Which Imitates Art?

Hogwarts Professor Freeman posted here earlier this week about the pro-democracy demonstrations in Thailand that have taken on the three finger symbol of resistance featured in the Hunger Games books and films. I wanted to add three notes to this subject.

First, I find this adaptation both unnerving and important. It points simultaneously to the meaning of Ms Collins’ artistry in this trilogy and its potential for use and abuse.

Ms Collins is after a herd of big game in her Panem saga. One of the biggest beast questions she tries to address is the power of media and story in our lives, how story and corporate media fashioning of that story’s screened images shape our understanding of ourselves, life, and the world. Hers is not a pretty picture and the Gamesmakers, although they are largely the servants of the Capitol and District 13 governmental faces of capitalist and statist fascism, are perhaps the greatest villains of the narrative.

The events in Thailand are disturbing, I think, because they reflect how a popular culture consumed country like the country in question so easily takes on the powerful images 0f Catching Fire’s depiction of the Victory Tour’s stop in District 11.

This illustrates Ms Collins’ point about the potential of story to change people’s lives, as the Mockingjay Resistance is stirred by the Katniss and Peeta story as written by Haymitch, Plutarch, and Cinna and then twisted by President Coin to serve her ends. Forgive me for wondering, as we watch the Thai protesters, how long it will be until the images and sacrifices become commercialized and packaged.

Second, I think this is a real possibility because the conversation about the depths of meaning in The Hunger Games has been restricted to the political narrative, and, even in that sphere, to the political narrative of the left. Hollywood has recast the films so the crony capitalist government of President Snow is the black hat and the Gamesmakers are the game changing good guys, at least in potential. The spiritual dimensions of Katniss’ and Peeta’s love story, the essence and heart of the books, are lost.

I felt this most strongly when reading a strident and eloquent criticism of the story’s by a Catholic woman, Ellen Finnigan, active in efforts to combat war and violence. [Read more…]