Fire Burns Brighter this Time Around, but Gamemakers Still Could use Some Schooling from my College Students

Three years ago, I began using The Hunger Games as a required novel in all sections of my Expository Writing classes at Mayland Community College. Most of my students had never even heard of the book, and only one or two had read it before, but it was a unanimous success that changed students’ outlooks on everything from reading to politics. We anxiously followed movie news, as the film adaptation got underway just up the road from our campus, and some of our students and their friends and family members worked on the movie.

When the film debuted in March last year, we made arrangements with a local theater to have a Mayland showing, at which we could all yell things like “I can see my house from here!” in scenic shots, and the students who were extras could exclaim, “Hey, that’s the back of my head!” Other than such delights, the film held a fair few disappointments for us, most of which could be summed up in the phrase “Less Seneca Crane! More Madge!”

This time around, I kept my expectations low, as the removal of Madge, the absence of a circular gold cornucopia, and the elision or removal of so much of the first novel’s symbolic power had not prepared me to be impressed with the sequel. But I made arrangements with the delightful Yancey Theater (if you are ever in Burnsville, NC, please support this local business and enjoy a classic old theater!), put out the word, and rounded up 70 or so students, faculty, staff ,and friends to see the movie early on opening day.

Much to my surprise, it seems as if, this time around, we have Gamemakers who have actually read all the books; though they might still be able to take more than a few lessons from the savvy crowd who saw the show with me Friday, they at least seemed to have made an effort to be faithful to the text, even if they miss (again) much of its symbolic weight. [Read more…]

Katniss’s Wedding Dress and Other Fashion Excesses: If you Don’t See What’s Wrong With the Citizens of the Capitol, Maybe You Are One

Even well before the release of the first Hunger Games movie, I was troubled by the fascination with Capitol trends and fashions. Yes, it was interesting to see how costumers and make-up designers were bringing to life Suzanne Collins’s evocative descriptions, but a nail polish line based on the books? That sort of thing just seemed like a bad joke or a demonstration of the marriage of ignorance and greed in someone’s marketing department. I was surprised that even some people who had read the book bought into the Capitol mindset. Join me after the jump as we look at the shocking pre- Catching Fire film fashion trends that reveal we may already be living in Panem.
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‘Catching Fire’ Film Posters: Roses, Chairs, and Costumes that Show at least One of the Gamesmakers Does Still Read

Even though the release of the film adaptation of the next Hunger Games installment is over six months away (9 November, 22, to be precise), the Hollywood stylists are already pulling out all the stops on the teaser posters and other publicity tools in their arsenal to ensure that the 75th Hunger Games will be, shall we say? smoking hot. What is particularly fascinating about these images is how they tie into the text, history, the trilogy’s metanarrative and, yes, the sick, sad, real Hunger Games we call Hollywood. So let’s take a peek at the shiny film posters and those fascinating (and still coming) “official” Capitol portraits, at least one of which was foreshadowed on the Oscar red carpet.
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Catching Fire: A Speculative Screenplay

Back in June, Hana McCarthy sent us her outline of how she would structure a screenplay for the film adaptation of Catching Fire. With the actual filming set to begin soon (and probably not in my stomping grounds this time, alas), and the actual script guarded by dragons, trolls, and scary guys with earpieces, Hana’s speculative script is a great way to see how the story could be effectively adapted to the screen, preserving most of its tone, themes, and critical elements (particularly those of interest to us nerdy folks here). Please note, this is NOT the actual script being used for the film, but Hana’s delightful, orginal work. Of course, spoilers abound, but the biggest one might be how the actual film will be spoiled for us by Hana’s fascinating treatment, with which Hollywood will probably not be able to compete. So get some popcorn, read on, and get fired up! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Hana! [Read more…]

Our Finnick is a Jolly Sailor Bold, and More Catching Fire Casting News

As of today, it’s one month until The Hunger Games DVD is released, so we’ll be revisiting some of our favorite topics about the Girl on Fire and the Boy with the Bread, but as filming for Catching Fire approaches, all the talk is about Victors of previous Games. Now in place, a firey Johanna, an award-winning Wiress and Plutarch, and a dream”boat” Finnick. Join me after the jump for some thoughts on why these choices may actually bode very well for the Quarter Quell next year. [Read more…]