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!

Continue reading

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Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Wow.  That’s the first time I’ve ever written a review and put “Review” in the title.  This is an historic moment.

Okay.  Moment over.  On with the review.

I finished the first book in the Eclectic Reader Challenge (more information under the “The Challenge” tab) in a shockingly short amount of time.  Granted, this is the first full book I’ve read since the Great LOTR Debacle (Omnitopia Dawn doesn’t count, as I had already gotten started on it beforehand), so it’ll probably take some time for me to get used to Normal Reading Speed once more.

Then again, it was a pretty short book, all told.  Only about 143 pages.  Those pages were pretty small type and pretty big pages, but still.

Don’t think this meant the book was lacking in anything, because it wasn’t.  I was expecting it to be funny, but I wasn’t expecting this quality of humor.  It got to the point where I was making a friend read certain passages because they were just too darn hilarious to pass up.  Highlights included Marvin the Paranoid Android (although I didn’t really get the Paranoid part, as he’s more clinically depressed than anything else) and Eddie the computer.  Although, really, the whole thing was great fun to read.

Aside from the humor, though, I didn’t expect the book to be so satirical.  Irony and sheer wit pervaded the book from the very first page. It contained a surprising amount of commentary on human nature (mostly the more absurd things we do) and society.  The book also sometimes breaks from the main narrative to reveal an interesting tidbit or other from the actual Guide.

One of the novel’s main themes (if I can call it that) is the phenomenon of extraordinary (and meaningless, according to the author) coincidences happening when they are extremely improbable.  Improbability actually factors a lot into the humor and the plot of the story, and here’s where the science-fiction portion of it all comes in.  There’s one scene in particular where the power of improbability is causing all sorts of strange and wonderful things to happen to our main characters, and the reader just has to go along with it.  There’s no making sense of it all, but somehow I could still follow along, and that, to me, is a mark of extremely good writing.

Speaking of the main characters, just one thing I wanted to point out here: there are four (not counting Marvin) main passengers on the Heart of Gold (which is their spaceship): the humans Trillian and Arthur Dent, and the residents of Betelgeuse Five, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect.  I simply wanted to point out that aside from Zaphod being in possession of two heads and three arms, both of these otherworldly individuals are humanoid.  Now, I realize that Ford had to blend in with the humans, and that from a writing standpoint Adams probably wanted us as readers to be able to relate to these characters better than if they were, say, Hoovooloos (which are superintelligent shades of the color blue), but it just seems a little strange to me that two aliens should be so human in appearance, when the author literally had an entire galaxy’s worth of imagined species to choose from.  This also happens, presumably, with the old man on Magrathea, because the narrator doesn’t note anything strange about his own appearance.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it does help to relate to the characters and lends more to the action if I don’t have to keep worrying about how a certain character’s movements and whatnot “look” in my head.  I simply thought it was interesting.

And another thing: the plot was spectacularly paced.  One subplot led straight into another seamlessly.  Even the different books of the trilogy read straight into each other.  When I finished the last page, I was ready to just dive immediately into the first page of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Brilliantly plotted, overall.

And, well, I suppose those are my thoughts on this particular novel.  If we’re rating this…3.5 out of 5 stars.  It would be a four, but I did think the characters were a bit flat.  Either they had oversimplified personalities or really they had no distinct personality at all, and the fact that this was written mostly just to be funny can’t change my opinion that something is lacking.  Maybe Adams flushes them out a little in subsequent books, but I feel this should have been done within the first novel.

This concludes this month’s review.  Next month I will be reviewing a different book, of a different genre, with different pictures.  In the interim, I just finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and just started on Scott Westerfeld’s Goliath this weekend.

Side note: John Green’s novel was incredible.

Happy reading.

From the Shire to Mount Doom

Warning: there WILL be spoilers.  If you haven’t read all three books in the LOTR trilogy, you might want to skip this post.

Well, readers, I did it.  I finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It was long and hard going (just like the journey made therein), but I finally pushed through, determined to get to the end by the New Year.

Granted, I still haven’t read the Appendices, but that’s okay.  For me, the main bit of the text is what really counts.

My final thoughts on the series?  It got a bit more endurable by the end, what with the climactic battle scenes and the bit with Gollum and all.  (Gosh, Gollum is creepy.)  I was a bit surprised when the main part of the plot was over with about eighty pages still to go, but then- BAM- a wild subplot appeared!  And I did enjoy that, with the Shire being under attack and Frodo and the gang having to save it.  Although Frodo didn’t really do much, did he?  I suppose he was too worn out from getting rid of the Ring.  You can’t go through something like that and come away unscathed.  He never drew his sword again after that business in Mordor.

The good thing about that was Merry and Pippin and Sam got their fair share of action.  I mean, doubtless they already had some moments in the spotlight, what with the former two becoming knights of Rohan and Gondor and with the latter basically carrying Frodo’s weight through the entire trek into Mordor.  But for Merry, at least, the battle in the Shire was his shining moment.  I loved that.

Indeed, this entire trilogy was vastly different than anything I had expected.  I thought it would be a boring documentary of everything Frodo did, Frodo’s journey, Frodo’s hardships.  But it was not that at all.  It was about Aragorn becoming the King Elessar, about Gandalf’s plans coming together, about the friendship between a Dwarf and an Elf, about the corruption of men once considered the best of their kind.  It was about the passing of one age and the coming of another, about time’s inexorable flow that sweeps away civilizations and erects new ones in their place.  It was about the wounds time can heal, and the ones it cannot.  It was about hope and perseverance and sacrifice.

And I was pleasantly surprised by all of these things.  It wasn’t just the story of Frodo, it was the story of an entire world being shaken apart and put back together again, along with all of the people that made it happen.

Granted, there’s probably some sort of even deeper meaning that sailed over my head.  I’m more inclined to see the story than what it represents, no matter what the book is.  But from what I have seen, this deserves to be called a classic.

I’m not going to say I enjoyed this series.  It took too long to read and the first two books still seem a bit long-winded in my mind.  But I can firmly say that I respect this series.  For all of my griping about how long it was taking to get through, I have to give it credit in the end, and I have to acknowledge that maybe this wasn’t as bad as I’ve been making it out to be.  I realize now why it is so loved by its fans, and I finally know what this is all about.  This was a splendid way to end my year, with a series that I finally got to read after years of putting it off.

My next step is to watch the films and see how they compare.  On the reading front, though, I’m quite looking forward to starting off the year with something new, seeing as how I don’t plan to read The Hobbit or The Silmarillion anytime soon.  Of course, I’m going to finish Omnitopia Dawn as soon as I can so that can get out of my sidebar, but after that, I’m not sure what to read.  There are so many novels to choose from in the To-Be-Read stack.  I suppose we’ll find out.

Readers, do you have any thoughts on the Lord of the Rings?  Is there anything important that I missed?

Happy reading.