The Hunger Games: Hungry for More [Betcha haven’t heard that one before. (That wasn’t sarcastic at all.)]

First, let me say that this is about the movie, not the book, which I have not read yet. I am of the rare breed that would prefer to see the movie before I read the book.  I have my reasons and since I often find myself trying to explain them, I’ll delay my review for awhile in order to do that here.

The book is always better than the movie.  Save the best for last.  Just put two and two together, my friends!

The movie is more like a synopsis; there’s no way it can cover everything.  Exactly. Why not go and see the synopsis?  I love, love, love having more to look forward to when I get home.  Like the appendix in Lord of the Rings or mugglenet.com for Harry Potter fans.

I’d rather enjoy the movie than simply critique how it compared to the book or well it covered the material in the book.

It doesn’t bother me that the ending is “spoiled.”   I have already enjoyed the movie. And the end doesn’t have to be the end when you can read more.

It doesn’t bother me that the actors have portrayed the characters.  It’s true, some people are stuck as the characters in my mind, but not always.  Sometimes my mind reinvents them as needed.  It’s not difficult to do this with a really good book.

Now, onto the review.

Although I have read the Harry Potter and Twilight series but not The Hunger Games series, I have seen all the film adaptations and feel like I can comment on the comparisons.  I didn’t really see why the Twilight series was compared to Harry Potter at all, but now that The Hunger Games is supposedly the new Twilight, I can admit that Harry Potter and Bella had supernatural powers and even shared werewolves as friends.  But the comparison ends there.

I have no idea whatsoever what the heck The Hunger Games shares with Twilight, unless it is something evident only in the book and not on film, which means either it’s not significant or the film is a dismal failure and I doubt the later, judging from other reviews.  Or unless the comparison is that they are in a very broad genre; as my husband noted, “They are both young adult literature made into films.”

About that.  Why are adults so into children’s literature?  Is it because nowadays adolescence isn’t over until the age of 30?  Is it because children these days grow up so quickly — and can handle adult topics?  Those two premises, which I’ve often heard asserted, seem to be contradictory.

Perhaps the reason my peers and I are interested in children’s literature is because there’s not many who can fill the gap between the John Grishams and Dan Browns and the J.K. Rowlings.  It seems that if you read, you’re either a kid or a middle-aged person.

Or perhaps we’re just sick of the gratuituous bodily functions or language in adult literature.  And let’s face it;  other than those things, adult literature doesn’t really have anything one up on children’s literature.  The themes are not more interesting, the characters are not more interesting and the writing is certainly not more complex. (Don’t get me started on the atrocity that is called modern style.)

I strongly suspect that authors have caught onto this and are writing for an adult audience as well as a young adult audience. I could be wrong — I’m not in the publishing industry  — but maybe it’s simply a matter of what publishers want to brand the literature that is now considered young adult.

I have established what The Hunger Games is (young adult literature adapted for the silver screen) and but I must say a little more about what it isn’t — that is, how it is incomparable to Twilight.

In The Hunger Games,  coal miner’s daughter Katniss Everdeen is a nuturing huntress who volunteers, in place of her sister, to fight to the death 23 other teenagers, all picked as tribute to the overlords in the Capitol of Panem.  She has already risen to the occasion, but Katniss learns that her bravery is not enough in order to survive.  By the end of the film, she might realize that surviving is not enough, either.

While watching a scene in the film during which actress Jennifer Lawrence is climbing trees and whittling wood into weapons, my companion remarked, “This is what a strong female lead looks like — not Bella Swan,”  as portrayed by Kristen Stewart in the Twilight films.  My response, “I don’t deny I now wish I had been a girl scout.  But the beauty of Twilight is that every girl can already relate to Bella.  She’s ordinary and it only takes the supernatural to make her special.”  But, of course, he’s right. Katniss is, as my friend said, an “infinitely cooler heroine” than Bella.  Her character is much more interesting to watch.

Not to mention the fascinating sci-fi/fantasy post-apocolyptic world that Susan Collins has created.  It’s classic.  Who doesn’t remember that  chilling feeling when first hit the realization that the world of Logan’s Run or The Truman Show is close to our own? Once again, through Collins, we can be thrilled at the blatant suggestion that our civilization is actually barbaric.

As far as the action, there is plenty.  Even where there is no action, there’s the implication that something is going to happen, such as when Katniss is sleeping in a tree.  There is some sort of suspense almost the entire length of the film. I’ll say this — it’s not a film you go to see if you want to hold hands with your date. Because you’ll be gripping the edge of your seat or biting your nails instead.

That said, I cannot wait to read the book. I know it will be worth the time I don’t have to read novels. I know it will be good.  And I know that there is a whole new world for me to geek out over.

Park 51 and Anti-Muslim Sentiment

As you are likely aware, there are plans for the community center/mosque being built a couple blocks away from Ground Zero. You are also probably aware of the controversy surrounding the issue and that national involvement that has ensued. Maybe you are a part of it. Maybe you’ve written letters, protested or simply been outspoken. I have become aware of the stances my various friends and acquaintances in different circles have taken regarding the matter. Maybe you are one of those who’ve made your voice heard or maybe you haven’t but have strong opinions, too.  But I haven’t heard what I’m about to say and that is why I feel I need to say it. This isn’t a political blog, but here is my assessment of the current political climate.

The above link is to an article that describes an observation that the current political climate is charged with anti-Muslim sentiment. I’ve personally seen a resurgence of such statements referring to the information in these e-mails, which state that Muslim terrorists could be deterred by the fear of going to hell and that somehow it is a good idea that we endorse utilizing this fear by dousing suspects in pig’s blood. Furthermore, it is a belief that the Muslims building and planning to attend the Park 51 mosque are suspect of terrorism. I don’t think it’s even necessary that I reference this; it is all over the opines and blogs and social networks and I’ve personally observed it on my own news feed. A couple of things that strike me as wrong about this sentiment are the misinformation about the nature and intent of the project and the wrongful association of all followers of Islam with terrorism. But I’m not even going to get into that in this blog post, because what saddens me most is who is saying these things because Christians are saying these things and I think it is totally inconsistent with the Christian philosophy.

I know I shouldn’t be shocked. I claim to be a Christian and don’t always live up to Christian standards, either. That is kind of the point of following Christ in the first place – you know, realizing we need Someone to follow. But the truth is these statements are meant to be shocking.

I’m just here to clarify, for my non-Christian friends that hate is not what Christ is all about. And I’m here to remind my Christian friends that they follow a God of love, not hate.

If you believe in a hell, do you really want other people to go to hell? Do you really want people to be scared of going to hell?

God’s desire is “that no one should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).” The Apostle Paul, who followed Christ, said that he wished he could be accursed for the sakes of those who rejected Christ (Romans 9:1-3). As the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards put it in the sermon The Character of Paul an Example to Christians, “How are those reproved by this, who, when they are abused and suffer reproach or injury, have thereby indulged a spirit of hatred against their neighbor, a prejudice whereby they are always apt to entertain a distrust, and to seek and embrace opportunities against them, and to be sorry for their prosperity, and glad at their disappointments.” (Read the full sermon here.)

When Paul wished he could trade places with others in order that they might be saved, he was exemplifying Christ, Who did just that (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ told us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36), so what if the terrorists indirectly culpable for the deaths on 9/11 were building the Cordoba House and now want to send a different message?  We have to give them that chance.  What if the intent of the mosque turns out to be sinister after all?  Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-40).”

What an unbelievable thing to say! Precisely. Christianity sounds crazy. We inherently want justice. Jesus was a revolutionary.

For this reason, Rush Limbaugh and other Conservatives are popular. Jesus – the real Jesus – isn’t.

But popularity isn’t what matters. Don’t quote the talk shows because I can quote that many Bible verses that point towards forgiveness (Luke 11:2-4 and 17: 1-6 to name just a couple more passages).

“Okay, that’s all very well and good,” you might say, “but what about the victims?” You might concede that you do care about Muslims but ask “Why aren’t we being sensitive towards the victims of 9/11?” First of all, not all the families themselves of victims are opposed to the building of the Ground Zero Mosque. I agree that victims should be treated with sensitivity, but that idea has gone too far; it has led to the anti-Christian idea of vengeance. Recently I found this article, which suggested that victims can never be truly healed and in fact relive their torture until the perpetrators pay for their crimes so much they feel what they feel. This obviously goes against the whole concept of reconciliation, and Christians are given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Our relationship with God is the basis for how we treat others.

No matter which way your religious convictions sway or how you feel about a mosque at Ground Zero – say it is tasteless and tactless and totally insensitive and bogus – this is America and it’s supposed to be a free country. At the very least, Americans ought to acknowledge and respect the right of others to practice their religions.