Warning- this article contains spoilers of key plot points from the first book and film.
It’s official. I have the post-Hunger Games blues. Does this happen to anyone else? You get so excited for something that when it’s over, you wish you could go back in time and re-live the whole thing. I’ve always hated surprises because I love anticipating things. It’s not fun to be taken to a surprise dinner. What’s fun is to know you are going to dinner and getting to geek out the menu online for 3 days prior. Am I right?
Anyway, back to the task-at-hand. One of the major themes from the book/film is the power of desensitization. It is hard for me to imagine being a Capitol citizen in Panem and approving, even rooting for, the death of children. But, as I learned this week, it may not be as far-fetched as I think. Mere hours after the premiere, a disappointing trend creeped through the Web. Bodysnarking. Critics (multiple people, not just one) were saying Jennifer Lawrence was “too big” to play Katniss or that her “lingering baby fat shows here”. I disagreed, but it didn’t really bother me that much. In fact, I clicked on every article that mentioned it. I even ended up doing a little Googling to find the original articles.
A few days went by and I started to think about the double-standard. No one seems to be commenting on Liam Hemsworth’s mighty frame. What gives? And seriously, movie critics? You were distracted during the movie by the size of Jennifer Lawrence? Because I simply don’t believe you. And if it is the truth, then I think you might be a victim of some desensitization, as well. I know I am. And aren’t these the same people who rip apart celebrities who get plastic surgery? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t publicly scrutinize the way someone looks and then tear them down when they try to change it. It all seems like a viscous cycle within which no good intentions lie. Bottom line: I think those comments are just unnecessary and consciously hurtful. All I know is that it should not seem normal to me that women are incessantly and mercilessly held to ridiculous body standards.
That’s not to say that looks don’t play a huge role in acting, they do. We all wanted whomever was cast as Katniss be an articulation of our imagined character. For me, she was. I’m reminded of a line from the beginning of the film. Katniss and Gale are sitting outside The Seam boundaries trying to wrap their brains around the impending reaping. “What if no one watches?” Gale asked. I’m wondering the same thing. What if I stop clicking? Can we get un-desensitized?
As for my thoughts on the film adaptation, I loved it. I was very happy to see all of the characters and scenes come to life. That doesn’t mean, however, that I wouldn’t have changed a thing or two had I been steering the ship. Here’s my breakdown:
What I loved:
- I really loved the acting. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was spectacular and nearly exactly what I pictured in my head while I read the books. Even the tone of her voice was Katniss to me.
- I loved the scene when she tells her mother that she needs to stay present. I feel like this was such a huge dynamic in the book. I remember feeling that part of Katniss’ badass-ness was that she was so strong-willed that she could even mother her mother. Power.
- I loved the gamemaker’s beard and Effie Trinket’s make-up. The Capitol citizens looked really great.
- I loved Rue. The scene of Katniss dressing her body in flowers definitely had my cryballs welling up.
- I loved the part where she was in the tube rising into the games; that was so intense!
What I didn’t love:
- I didn’t love the omission of the mayor and his daughter. I felt like the Mockingjay pin lost it’s significance. In the book it is such a major thing, enough to become the symbol of the entire franchise, yet it seemed so metaphorically small.
- I didn’t love the quick cuts and camera work in the beginning. Some of the cinematography was jolting to me and I felt a little sick to my stomach. I have waited so long to see the sprawling Capitol City. Maybe this is indulgent of me, but a lot of the draw of the film was to have my imagination come to life. I wanted to see The Seam. I wanted to see the train and hovercraft. Lemme see it! Plus, we all know Jennifer has amazing lips, stop zooming in on them.
- I didn’t love the feeling I got that Katniss won the games because she was a good person. I feel like I missed her extreme desire to live and her intense love of her family. Katniss doesn’t win because she is sweet or kind, she wins because she is a warrior. Did you get warrior? I didn’t.
I wanna know: What did you love and not love from the movie? And what is your take on bodysnarking Jennifer Lawrence and desensitization?
Photo taken by me at the Arclight Sherman Oaks