I love The Huger Games trilogy and I’ve been loving The Hunger Games movie hype. The themed cupcakes. The midnight costumes. The Mockingjay pins and even the nail polish. I’ve read the analyses of the Lionsgate marketing strategy and the dissections of Katniss’ character (from many many different angles). After seeing the movie opening day (in a half-empty theater. Where the heck was everyone?) and leaving happily surprised, I busily read the plethora of reviews and, more recently, your lovely post. There is something amazing and powerful about the sheer joy of crazy fan enthusiasm.
But despite my love of geeky obsessiveness, this whole Hunger Games hullabaloo has left me feeling conflicted. Partly this has to do with the sheer amount of writing on The Hunger Games online. The glut of insightful and profound analyses, written before and now after the movie release, has swamped my poor brain. What on Earth can I possibly add? Do I have any thoughts of my own about the movie? Have I actually become exhausted by reading too many articles about The Hunger Games? No, not possible. What a gloomy thought.
Then there is the part of me who finds all the publicity and mania deeply ironic, in a disturbing way. Each time I catch myself watching an interview with Jennifer Lawrence on YouTube, I’m reminded of Katniss’ interviews with Caesar Flickerman. When I see pictures of the cast in Vanity Fair, I flash back to the Capitol’s promotion of the tributes. If I pause and think about the nail polish, mockingjay pins, replica training shirts, Effie’s tumblr, predicted Katniss Barbies, District 12 backpacks, and Peetas made of fleece, I start feeling edgy. In our enthusiasm, have we forgotten some of the book’s messages about our current culture? Specifically our tendency towards hype, commercialization, and superficiality?
Then there are the movie reviews. The piles and piles of movie reviews. Yes, I had some issues with the film—inevitably things are cut when translating a book into a movie and my choices would not have been the same as Lionsgate’s, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I started reading review after review and I can feel my convictions shifting with the mighty weight of Internet popular opinion. When I walked out of the theater, did I think Liam Hemsworth as Gale was completely miscast and an utter bro? Well…I thought he was “meh,” but I wasn’t vehement about it. Did I think the first or second half of the movie was too fast or too slow? No, but the comments made me stop and consider. Was Effie amazing or really not pink enough? Was Peeta the best thing since sliced bread or was the acting subpar? Was Caesar too sleazy or the perfect reincarnation of the book’s TV host?
Ever time I read a review, I wonder about the people who are going to see the film after reading the critics’ posts. How much have their perceptions been altered? Will they enjoy the film quite as much as those of us who went on opening day or will they view it with a jaded eye? I realize this happens with every major film, but with massive fandoms it really comes to light. I just hope everyone remembers that us fannish types tend to criticize what we love all the more harshly.
Despite my disquiet about the hype, despite my inner grumpy-geek muttering to herself “I read The Hunger Games back when it wasn’t a movie, so poo to you all!” I’m still incredibly excited about this crazy fandom and I can’t wait for the hubbub around the Catching Fire movie to begin.
Well…mostly I can’t wait for the constant debates on the casting of Finnick.
PS I so want to reread the series again. You in?