"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hungry for More Hunger Games: Gale Edition

So here's part 2 of my ridiculously lengthy Hunger Games review :) Broken up into manageable pieces just for you :D

And, of course, I have to say SPOILERS AHEAD for both the books and the movie.
I read somewhere (and I have no idea where, sorry) that Gale was a non-entity in the film.

Which I personally find odd, since I was quite impressed about how much Gale they managed to fit in, considering we get very little of him in the books.

First I'd like to say that the casting here was perfect too. I started rereading the first book today and the physical descriptions of Gale (and Peeta) fit the actors amazingly well. They really worked hard to choose the right players for this film.

Gale and Katniss in the woods wasn't "necessary" for the plot, but it was completely necessary for our understanding of the world and it gave us a really great look at a side of Katniss that we do not see anywhere else at all. I loved the way Katniss just relaxed with Gale. The two of them are very free and easy with each other and you can tell they are best friends. Even that moment of tension when Gale talks about leaving - you just knew that was an aberration and that they don't normally bicker. Their teasing and open manner is such a contrast to the stiffness Katniss has when she's around Peeta. Even at their most relaxed (on the roof) they are nowhere near as comfortable with each other as Katniss and Gale are.
I loved the little moments during the reaping, especially when Gale starts mouthing the words of the "special film" they are forced to watch. The way they found each other so easily in the crowd spoke to the connection they have. But at the same time, there was no hint from Katniss that she felt this was anything more than a friendship. Gale's love for her was subtly obvious (if there can be such a thing) and once again Katniss is oblivious. He is her hunting partner, her best friend, and the only one she can trust to take care of her family.

When Gale carries Prim away as Katniss volunteers it just rips your heart out and their goodbye in the small room before Katniss is whisked away to the train made me sob. You can just see Gale put everything in his life on the back burner so he can be the friend she needs in that utterly too short moment they have together.

I understand why they have Gale alone out in the fields at the opening of the Games, but I am so glad we got the flashes of him during the interviews and the cave scenes. His eyes were ridiculously expressive and you could just see him dying inside as Katniss kisses Peeta. He tries so hard not to be angry, but it isn't quite working and it's completely believable.

When Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 I loved that Gale was there with Prim on his shoulders. And the hopeful little smile on his face was so sweet as his eyes met Katniss' across the crowd, just like they did at the Reaping. Which made it even more terrible when Peeta takes Katniss' hand in a very possessive gesture and raises their entwined fingers in victory. The undercurrents of confusion, love, jealousy, and heartbreak between the three of them worked very well.

I wasn't a giant fan of Gale in the books, but Liam Hemsworth sold the part for me. I have always been glad that The Hunger Games wasn't just a love triangle story. The point is not whom Katniss is going to choose, but how the three of them, along with everyone else, are going to survive a world where everyone has turned against them. But, at the same time, the triangle is an important part of the plot and of the character development. We learn to care about all three of them and that is one of the things that makes their final fates so compelling, not just because we're glad our OTP got together.

I stumbled across an absolutely brilliant analysis of the love triangle on tumblr - reposted from Raptorific - so if you are curious or interested, or just love these books and this movie as much as I do, then you should definitely read it. I couldn't have said it better.

So there's my Gale piece. Who to talk about next...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hungry for More Hunger Games: Peeta edition

I was going to write a quick review of the movie, but once I started on Peeta I discovered I had a lot more to say than I thought I did. So I may do a number of these little mini reviews. Because I loved the movie THAT. MUCH.

And, I probably don't need to say this, but SPOILERS AHEAD. PRETTY MAJOR ONES. For both the book and the movie.


I was not one of those that was hesitant when I heard about Josh Hutchinson's casting. I loved him in Bridge to Terabithia and reading Suzanne Collins' take on him as Peeta made me confident he could fill the role. I was right. I loved his rapport with Haymitch and Caesar Flickerman. When he follows Haymitch out of the dining car and Katniss is just exasperated and Peet says, "I'll talk to him," fit their personalities well. It was a nice nod to the gift for language that Peeta has and how he uses those powers of persuasion to his advantage. It was the same thing when he sees the Capitol for the first time and how he plays up to the crowd as they pull into the city. Just right (even though in the previews I feared that was going to be overdone).

The chariot scene was fantastic (the fire was a little underwhelming, but actually looked better during my second viewing). The way Peeta gets Katniss to hold hands and raise them up was brilliantly done and you could see how the crowd just focused in on them.

I truly believed that he cared about Katniss. His eyes whenever he looked at her? *sigh* Totally bought that whole side of things. One of the best moments in their developing relationship was when Katniss thought he had eaten the berries and she flips out on him. That glimmer of hope in his eyes that maybe she was actually falling in love with him? Heartbreakingly real.

The scene on the roof the night before the Games began was well done. Though I felt like it was a little too friendly after she had just attacked him a little while before, the scene in and of itself was beautifully handled. You could feel the connection beginning to build between them and Peeta's declaration of rebellion did not come across cheesy or awkward. It was perfectly authentic.

I was really happy with little details like his awkwardness moving through the woods and the way he walks up next to her while she's holding the bow ready right before the Mutts arrive. I knew she didn't end up shooting him, but in my head I was screaming "Get out of her line of vision you goof!" And his camouflage skills! Oh my goodness. The rock thing was almost creepy, but I loved that they played up that aspect and that he mentioned having done the cakes at the bakery. Such a nice touch to make him more than just the strong guy who can't do much else.

So much that I loved, but there were a few nitpicks I had as well.

I felt like he was too emotional as they were leaving District 12. I don't even really know why, but it annoyed me that he looked like he was about to burst into tears and then was fine once they were on the train. I also felt like his pronouncement of love for Katniss fell flat. Like I said, his joking with Flickerman was spot on, but I just didn't get the emotional pull that I expected when he says she came with him.

And I wasn't a big fan of the cave scene. I liked Peeta's openness with Katniss (though he seemed a little stalkerish when he repeated "Every day"), but without Katniss' reciprocation the scene felt a little overdone like HEY LOOK HE REALLY DOES LIKE HER and I wanted to see more softening of Katniss. But you did get some of these great moments where you could just feel to the depth of your core that Peeta is in love with this girl and she is so oblivious. And I loved Haymitch's note and the way Katniss kissed Peeta felt like it was taken straight from the book.

I also would have liked to see a bit more of his side of the arena. I understand that we mostly get Katniss because that's how the books were written, but in the novel we get the replay after the games so Katniss can see the way he teamed up with the Careers in order to protect her. In the movie we never really know for sure why he was helping them track her. And that was a huge thing for me.

And finally, he seriously healed over night? I could buy that the wound was significantly better, but not that his fever and infection had disappeared so quickly. I know it would have affected the fight scene with Cato on the cornucopia (which I loved), and I know that it was already a 2 1/2 hour movie, but for me, the scenes of Katniss screaming as she pounded on the door while they rush the seriously wounded Peeta away were key to understanding how much she had come to care for him without even realising it.

Oh yeah, and that leads me to one of the smallest and most nitpickiest things - why were they on separate chairs in that last interview with Flickerman? Katniss' dress was way too poofy. They were supposed to be in a seat together that made them have to kind of snuggle together and Katniss' dress was supposed to be simple and girlish (not poofy and glamorous) to garner sympathy and help sell to the gamemakers that they really weren't a threat, just desperate kids in love.

I know this makes it sound like there was more I didn't like than I did, but that's not true. These are just things that I would have liked to see or would have liked to see developed a little further. Someone on another review commented that it should have been done as like a 5 hour miniseries. This is a good idea. But for the time they had, I thought this movie was absolutely fantastic. I've seen it twice and I would go see it again at the drop of a hat. Can't wait to own it so I can watch it whenever I want!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gimme a Break

cute animals - Daily Squee: Call Me Buttercup!
Today starts my spring break. Oh that lovely time of the spring semester that allows me to take a break from my academic rigours and enjoy the lovely, balmy weather.
Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
Yeah right.

I wanted to read some of the YA books that have recently come out, watch some movies with my mom, sleep in, cram in some Supernatural marathons.
funny pictures of cats with captions
Instead I must finish my thesis rough draft, write a 10 page paper for another class, read 2 novels, grade 2 sets of final drafts, and try to find the book the library says is overdue. No idea where that thing is.
Funny Animal Gifs - Animal Gifs: Dishwasher Tetherball
It's kind of like this - it NEVER ENDS :)
So my dreams of lazy days and easy reading are pretty much kaput. But I'll manage to squeeze some good old fashioned procrastination in anyway. Like now for instance :)
What are your favorite ways to spend a break? Anyone going anywhere fun? Do tell!
And do you like how I made a totally inane post more entertaining with LOLcats? Well, entertaining for myself anyway...
funny pictures - Go away! I busy  storming the castle!