Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hope in the Mockingjay

It was Thanksgiving; we were all sitting around the house, thinking that maybe it would be nice to go see a movie the next day. The Hunger Games is out; yeah, let's go watch The Hunger Games. Although I would have been perfectly happy to wait until it was out on DVD, I went with the flow. So I found myself watching part 1 of Mockingjay on Black Friday.

I've referred before to my general distaste for dystopia and my mixed, often lukewarm feelings toward the first two installments in The Hunger Games. Basically, I felt like there is already so much violence and so much that is negative in the world, that why do you want to create even more in fiction? I found it all draining. Basically. But I knew that when fiction shows horrible things happening, it's to counter it with characters who are persevering through all that and rising above it. And I knew people were saying that the books show more of the thoughts Katniss has during all of these events--which can certainly change how you look at something happening.

It wasn't until this third movie, though, that I began to see all that for myself. This movie was kind of poignant, something I hadn't been expecting. This movie, with as much if not more horrible events happening, actually felt less sad to me: it was about the arising of hope. Hope. That wonderful, invincible thing that can turn around any amount of chaos. This time I saw more of what Katniss was thinking; I felt closer to the inside of her head. While we'd seen her family and friends before, this time we spent more time with them and really saw what they all mean to each other.

And I like the hesitancy Katniss has towards being part of or endorsing the rebellion. It reminds me of something in The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak (non-fiction). This young man was in the Lodz Ghetto in Nazi Europe; he was very intelligent and bright. So he when he came into contact with some sort of resistance group (I forget what it was called), they wanted him to join and he wanted to also--but he didn't want to agree that, if called for, he would give his life for the cause. To him, that was contradictory to what they were trying to do: survive. That kind of reminds me of Katniss, who wants to survive and wants what's best for her family and her friends, but doesn't want to be part of a big, violent undertaking. I like that a story can show that hesitancy instead of just focusing on the rebel/resistance spirit.

A picture of hope arising. That's what this movie was to me. And you know what? While I now people of different ages read these books, I've always felt too old to read them. (I obviously don't feel too old to read children's books, but I like to keep YA to a minimum.) And then once I watched the first two movies, I didn't feel any need to read them. But now I'm tempted. I really want to see how the story finishes. I was so wrapped up in this movie; it was like an eternal moment that I didn't want to end. But as much as I'm tempted, I don't think I will read the books: this story has only exited on screen for me. If I start mixing film and text while I'm still in the middle of it, I think you lose something of the uniqueness of each form. Each form is best when it can stand on its own, undistracted by the other.

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