Part I. The Love Triangle
I am not a big fan of love triangles where indecision drags on and on. For instance, the Edward/Bella/Jacob angle in Twilight freaks me out and made Bella look like a witch who manipulated two perfectly good boyfriends. And on the opposite side of the literary spectrum, the Arthur/Guenevere/Lancelot situation made me hate the latter two with all my being. (Richard Gere’s cocky portrayal of Lancelot didn’t help.)
However, there are exceptions.
The story begins with Gale and Katniss hunting together. They seem like the perfect pair who share interests and have a history of deep friendship. And then Peeta comes along; Peeta who is not as capable or as handsome as Gale, who can bake and ice a cake like no other, and who is as vulnerable as Gale is strong. It’s like watching Brokeback Mountain all over again. I know that Heath Ledger’s Ennis is the more admirable character but it is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack who stole my heart. In Finnick’s immortal words, Peeta just “creeps on you” until you find yourself rooting for the seemingly unremarkable boy who is so much more within.
But then Gale is not totally out of the picture. He has a lot of things going for him. How can I blame Katniss for being confused when even I can’t make up my mind which of the two should end up with her? But by the end of book two (Catching Fire) the answer was clear for everyone except Katniss.
Props to Suzanne Collins for not making the romance angle creepy and out of place.
Part II. Killing Machines
Aside from a handful of District 1 and 2 losers, I don’t think any of the main tributes are bloodthirsty murderers. They just do what they have to do to survive. They find it difficult to accept at first but, eventually, the necessity hardens them. In this respect, Katniss and Peeta are a lot like Harry Potter — exceptional in their own ways but managed to escape within an inch of their lives through sheer, unimaginable luck.
I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t enjoy it. Most of my favorite scenes are those set in the arena. Part of me wants to be Katniss while she’s battling with the other tributes to see who would outwit, outlast and outplay the others in the quest to be the ultimate victor.
Hey, Mark Burnett, there’s a suggestion for the next season of Survivor. Make them fight for real.
Part III. Poop
The tributes spend 3-4 days in the arena with cameras almost constantly watching their every move. Bathing and peeing are manageable since they can run at a moment’s notice. But how do they find time to poop when they have to hide from the cameras, find appropriate non-poisonous leaves to wipe and, most importantly, manage to not get killed while answering the call of nature?
Do they get extreme constipation from the lack of water? Or perhaps there’s just not enough food to digest? It’s possible that they have a few tablets of loperamide hidden in their underwear to prevent accidents.
Part IV. The Movie Adaptation
Jennifer Lawrence was a poor substitute for Rebecca Romijn as Mystique in X-Men: First Class. Plus she’s already 21 and looks older than her age. I’m not sure about her casting but perhaps she can pull it off. IMO, Haylee Steinfield would have been a better choice.
Liam Hemsworth is perfect as Gale. He may not have the emotional range of Gary Oldman but luckily for Hemsworth, Gale is not the most expressive character in the series. However, I was livid when I found out that they cast the short, brunette loser from The Vampire’s Assistant as Peeta. At least until I saw this EW cover:
He looks exactly as I’ve envisioned Peeta to be. 😀 Thank God for Cinna-like stylists. As for Gale, I thought his hair would be longer and straighter. But Hemsworth doesn’t look bad at all.
Part V. Conclusion
It’s not a perfect happily ever after. But it is an ending that cannot be anything else.
As for you, what are you still doing here? Go read the books!
And may the odds be ever in your favor.