In Which a Year of Eager Anticipation Comes to an End

Readers, I apologize for being a day late with this, but I needed the time to recover from what was a very long night following my trip to see The Hunger Games.

This post will come in two parts: part description of what I did, part review of the movie itself.

What you have to understand is that it was my birthday this Friday (yes, I know, Happy Birthday to me.  Thank you).  As such, it was basically the GREATEST THING EVER when I found out last year that THG was going to premiere on March 23.

So, yeah.  Anyway, I got to the theater with a bunch of my friends and saw the movie.  My friends are great and I loved being there with them, even though on one side we had the Girl Who Thinks We Won’t Notice Her Texting Every Twenty Minutes, and on the other we had the Guy Who Feels the Need to Tell His Buddy What’s Gonna Happen Five Seconds Before It Happens.  Not to mention the Girls Who Giggle Every Time We See Gale Because He’s SOOOO HAWT.

At least it wasn’t boring in the theater.

I had worked on a shirt all week, which I wore with my hair in a braid and with my Scholastic mockingjay pin attached to it.  Here are some pictures of the shirt after I finished with it:

What I basically did is read through the book again and pick out funny or moving quotes that I liked and then use fabric paint to write them.  The logo and “stay alive” bits were made using iron-on paper on which we printed the picture and words.

After we saw the movie, we came back to my house and had cake.  The cake is the thing I really wanted to show you guys.  It’s GORGEOUS:

The words are a couple of lyrics from Rue's Lullaby: "Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true. Here is the place where I love you."

It was based on a cake I had found on the Internet:

I can't find the original source, but needless to say this isn't mine.

I think the one I had looks better, though.  THE FLAMES!

Okay.  Second part.  The review.  I’ll try to do it as spoiler-free as I can (meaning my general reaction):

It was a decent movie.  Of course, I knew it wouldn’t be just like the book going in, but I didn’t anticipate the changes they did make.  Don’t get me wrong, they still had the core of the story in there, and most things were just like in the book.  But it was the little changes that got me.  There was some stuff cut that I didn’t think should have been cut, and some things were changed that I wasn’t okay with, but other things I liked seeing changed.

Maybe it was just that my expectations were so high.  I let myself think everything would be amazing and perfect and exactly like the book, and it just wasn’t.  In the end, I’m a tad disappointed, but I’m happy with the film all the same.  The acting is super, super amazing and I think Gary Ross did a fine job of capturing the situation these people are in.  I can’t wait to see what they do with Catching Fire.

HERE’S THE SPOILER-Y BIT.  Look under the cut only if you’ve seen the film!

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My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Twilight

When I first read Twilight, I loved it.  Loved.  It.  I became a total Twi-hard, and I have the movie posters to prove it.  I argued Team Jacob versus Team Edward (because Jacob was clearly the better choice), sang the praises of Stephenie Meyer, and even…dare I say it?

Saw Eclipse at midnight.

It was my first midnight premiere, and I was one of the fangirls.

And then I got my act together.  With the help of the Internet and logic, I veered away from my fangirl days and began to dislike Twilight, if not despise it.  Bella Swan’s helplessness came to sicken me, as did the very thought of sparkling vampires.  Edward’s habit of watching his girl sleep turned from sweet to downright creepy.  And the movies?  Don’t get me started.

I came to laugh at the way I had once cherished this series. Everything* about it seemed ridiculous (and yet somehow in this period I wanted the rest of the books when they came to me for free).  I vowed that I would never see such a monstrosity as Breaking Dawn, the movie.

There are some things better left unseen.

Thank you, Hermione Granger.

Lately, though, I’ve been rethinking my opinion of Twilight.  Sure, I’ve read about other people’s hatreds of it, but I never really investigated the books for myself with that purpose in mind.  I’ll never love it again; my opinion of the story is too far gone for that, and that can’t be changed with a rereading.  And besides, when it comes to this rivalry that this series seems to have with Harry Potter, I’ll take the boy wizard any day of the week.  Not to mention with all these Hunger Games/Twilight arguments going around, I’ll have to be doubly against the vamps.

But perhaps a rereading can cause me to solidly plant my literary feet in this camp I’ve chosen.

So this is my promise to you, readers: When all this LOTR business** is over, and after I reread a certain Harry Potter book, I will reread Twilight.  Possibly all of the books.  And then I will come back to you, readers, and give you my verdict.

Because, after all, I can’t give a verdict without hearing the evidence first.

But I’m still not seeing Breaking Dawn.

As a closing note, I’d like to direct you all to a similar post by fellow teen blogger Allegra, who beat me to the punch while this post was still little more than a draft and a dream.

Happy reading!

*Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING.  I still think Alice is pretty cool.  But that’s about it.

**I finished The Two Towers last night!  *clapping* Yay me!  (I cannot believe I just used that reference…*facepalm*)

Keep Calm and Wait for the Trailer

Yes, yes, I know I didn’t post yesterday.

But I had a good reason.  Good things come to those who wait, and this is no exception.

Behold:

*fangirl squealing*

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system…I really don’t have words for this.  Everything here looks exactly like the book.  Even most of the dialogue is more or less out of the novel. I especially especially love the reaping (“I volunteer as tribute!”) and rooftop (“I just keep wishing…”) scenes.  Absolutely perfect.  And Effie’s Capitol accent?  Genius.

I know I’ve said it before, but: THIS MOVIE WILL BE AMAZING.

Side note: is Prim wearing the mockingjay pin at the Reaping?  It looks like it’s pinned to her shirt but I can’t tell.  I guess that’s how Katniss gets it in the film, seeing as how there’s apparently no Madge.

I guess this doesn't apply anymore...

Happy reading!

Insert “Profile Picture” Pun Here

or, Lionsgate Attempts to Appease Trailer-Hungry Fans.

On Thursday, there was much squealing and overexcited geek-outs within the Hunger Games fandom (or District 14, as I like to call it).  Why?  Because Lionsgate decided to come out of nowhere with eight new character posters for the movie, that’s why.

Perhaps inspired by the success of Panem October’s way of releasing the Panem ID cards for different characters through the medium of various websites, each character poster was officially unveiled at a different entertainment site.  But I won’t make you hunt down all those sites.  No, I’ll take care of that part and link you to all of the sources through this post.  Okay?  Good.

So.  Moving on.

My reactions to the posters?  Well, in general, I think they’re fantastic.  They really give a feel for what the movie and characters are going to be like.  To be honest, though, I would have loved to see Caesar Flickerman or Foxface included in the bunch as well.  (Who would have thought it would turn out to be the talk show host we’re all dying to finally see?)  Other than that, though, great job to Lionsgate on the lighting and such.  I love the darkness around the characters.

This is probably going to be a longer post, so look under the cut for my take on each poster!

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Lost In Translation

Let me get one thing straight before I start today’s rant: I don’t hate movies based on books.  I really don’t…so long as it’s a good adaptation (read: caters to my nitpicky needs for everything to be exactly the same).  But there’s something about putting a book written in first-person into film form that kind of bugs me- at least the idea of it.

I suppose this post arose from my contemplating how TOTALLY AWESOME the Hunger Games movie will be.  Then I started thinking about exactly how certain parts would pan out.  This was me: “Hmm, Katniss has a lot of inner dialogue and turmoil throughout the book.  Considering she’s working alone and the circumstances she’s in, it wouldn’t make much sense for her to be talking to herself all the time.  So how does that work out?”

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, let me give you some context.  This is a highly political series with strong themes of rebellion and the horrors of war.  Katniss is constantly thinking about her strategies and how far she might go to survive, as well as analyzing her current situation.  This is all done quite neatly in her head, as talking to herself isn’t the best thing when there are bloodthirsty Careers after you.

So my question is: how do you make that into a movie, where you can’t just read everything the character is thinking?

The simple answer is that you can’t.  Sure you could try what Twilight did, and have voiceovers (sorry, that’s the only movie I can think of on the spot).  But that gets boring after a while, so you can’t do it all the time.  Another thing is to have her say the stuff to another character, perhaps Peeta.  But her questioning the Capitol would be seen as too rebellious, and over the years Katniss has become guarded in her words and actions, so that’s out if we’re staying true to the characters.

You can see why I’m so nervous.  If none of the things she thinks in the books are said, the film will lose a lot of its core.  What Katniss thinks and what she shows us of her world, and the revelations she gives through that, make up a huge part of the overall storyline, especially when we get into the final book.  If that’s gone, what do we have?  A girl fighting and having people close to her die with little context to put it in.

This is what can make or break a movie.  And I so want this one to be good.

This artist has some more AWESOME artwork (and not just Hunger Games...Doctor Who, anyone?) at the linked site.

I suppose that’s my point for today: you can’t make everything into a film.  Some things just won’t work.  A character’s inner dialogue is one of those things.  That’s why the book is nearly always better; we understand more in a book.  The only way I could see The Hunger Games passing this test is some kind of clear visual reference for understanding the evils of the Capitol (other than the Games themselves) and the tension felt by the people in the districts.

Understanding a character is vital.  Films just don’t do it for me for that reason.  Something gets lost in the translation*, something that allows us to see as the character is seeing.  Maybe this is why I don’t get attached as much to movies (or maybe it’s just that I don’t watch that many).  In a film, characters are so clearly other people, and their thoughts are hidden from us.

There are times when that doesn’t cut it.

Reading over this post, I think I’ve been rambling for about the past three paragraphs, so I’m just going to stop here…

Happy reading.

P.S. In a fit of teenage rebellion, my creativity has taken my money and run like Abigail in The Crucible.  Which means…I need ideas for blog posts!  Feel free to comment with any book related (or nerd/geek related) topic you want to hear my thoughts on.  My creativity did leave me with a few things, but I have a sneaking suspicion they’re all the old, boring topics no one wants to hear about.

*See what I did there?

I Watched Two Hours Of Awards For This

Hey everyone!

I just HAD to post today because the VMA’s were last night, and as you may know, with them aired the FIRST HUNGER GAMES TEASER TRAILER!  It’s awesome and…well, I’ll just save my commentary until you see it for yourself.

The embed code from the MTV website is being difficult, so I can only get the whole version in a link.

Here’s a slightly shorter version of it that I CAN embed (you really should watch the linked version, though):
It’s not very in-depth because they’re still filming down in North Carolina, but this is still a VERY exciting peek into what the movie might be like.  The voice Katniss is remembering is Gale’s.  Gale is her hunting partner and best friend, for those of you who never read the books.
Please go read the books.
The bit at the end, that four-note run when it’s showing the date, is RUE’S MOCKINGJAY CALL.  It’s available on Itunes.  I got this news from the Hob, a fansite whose link is in the sidebar.  I NEVER expected us to get that so early.  Rue’s Lullaby?  Yes.  But not the call.  It seemed so insignificant, but I suppose that’s what’s great about putting it in the teaser.
Anyway, I’m super excited for the film.  It’s interesting that they went with the same emphasis on the mockingjay pin that the poster had.  From a marketing standpoint, though, it’s good to have a symbol for your series so clearly defined, especially one that goes along with the books.
I must say, I am a little disappointed that there were no other cast members in the teaser.  Just Katniss and Gale’s voice.  Not even a glimpse of Foxface or Peeta or Haymitch!  I guess they just want to keep us waiting.
Happy reading!

I Can’t Think Of A Good Title Right Now

Let’s face it, readers: a name can make or break you.  What you’re called or what your work is called can be everything.  People insist on their world being labeled, titled, branded, and otherwise marked.  And in the book industry, the name is what brings people in.  A good title can literally be the difference between success and failure.

That’s why finding a GOOD name for your novel/poem/biography of King Menes is so hard, and so important.  Other than the cover art, a name draws the crowd.  It has to hint at the storyline, but not give so much away that it’s boring.  For example, take Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  The name implies something having to do with the outdoors and the wilderness, but nothing is given away to those who haven’t read the book.  Of course, it turns out that the hatchet is an important part of the story, but we don’t get that right away.  If this novel had been called something more obvious, say, Survival Kid or something,* more of the plot would be obvious.  People would be like, “Oh, this is about a kid surviving.”  Although some of them might read it then, the casual passerby might not be intrigued enough to actually pick it up and read the back cover, or start on the first chapter.  In the same way, this post holds the opinion that a name should also give somewhat the genre of the book, though I have no idea how it might do that.

Besides hinting at your plot, the name of your work has to be catchy.  Hatchet has a much tighter, better ring to it than the plainness that Survival Kid exudes.  If a title isn’t rolling off the tongue, it’s not going to sell as well.  In the film Julie & Julia, Julia Child writes her book and sends it off to a publisher.  However, the name she puts to it is something like French Cooking for American Chefs.  The name was, in a word, boring.  The publisher decided to spice it up a little, renaming it Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The new title has more energy.  It gives a sense of action and accomplishment that conveys what the book itself is all about.  That’s the trick to any good title: it must fit the story while enticing readers in.

Naming your work is hard; no doubt about that.  Finding the right word or phrase to sum up what you’ve done can take a long time.  After all, in some cases an entire new world has been created.  Then it’s impossible to condense everything into just a line of script.  Add to that the pressure of getting it right or risk losing readers, and it can be a nightmare.  But there’s fun in the venture, too, I think.  When I’m writing something, I let possible titles simply fall into place as I’m shaping my story or poem.  Sometimes a phrase just fits.  Sometimes, the title becomes a part of your story, another chapter that ties it all together.  That’s when you know you have it exactly right, when the name is seamless and fits your writing like a custom pair of shoes.

Titles don’t have to be evil.  We writers can work with them to make something perfect.  After all, they’re made up of words, and words are kind of our thing.

Happy reading!