Book to Movie Review · Uncategorized

Book to Movie Review/Discussion: Mockingjay Part 2

Mockingjay Part 2

Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay by: Peter Craig, Danny Strong

Producers: Nina Jacobson, John Kilik

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore

SPOILERS BELOW


I probably won’t be the first to tell you that I thought Mockingjay Part 1 was definitely a step down from the perfection that was Catching Fire. I guess I have to forgive it somewhat, the source material is not a fan favorite including for me–my biggest problem with the book being such a jarring tonal shift from Book 1 and 2 as to almost feel like part of an entirely different series. I went in and watched Mockingjay Part 2 with low expectations considering all the mixed reviews but surprisingly I liked it a lot. In fact, I think I liked it more than the book.

There is way, way too much to discuss in one single post so I’m just going to touch on the points that stood out the most to me.

First of all, let’s talk about Peeta and Katniss. If you’ve read my Winner’s kiss review, you’ll know that I’ve come to loathe the amnesiac plotline for many reasons, emotional cop out, contrived, yada, yada, yada. And I wasn’t a fan of the device for Peeta either. But after looking back on it more than 4 years after reading it, I think it has grown on me. And the Peeta and Katniss dynamic in this movie was mostly well done thanks in part to the improved screenplay and of course, the always top notch performances. One of my favorite scenes was when Haymitch comes up to Katniss and Katniss was already ready to give up on Peeta but Haymitch says that no, it doesn’t matter what you want, it’s for Peeta. It kind of speaks volumes about who Katniss and Peeta are as characters. Katniss is someone who does not show pity and if you are the weak link, then screw you. But Peeta has always been the one to not leave anyone behind and in the book as Haymitch so accurately says, that if it were reversed and Katniss was the one injected with tracker jacker venom that Peeta would never for a moment think about leaving or killing Katniss. I think Josh Hutcherson did a great job showing Peeta’s conviction that these new twisted hallucinations were entirely real but that gradual shift to confusion once he’s learned that the events weren’t real was also really well acted.

Ok but honestly, it just hurts that it’s happening to Peeta, literally the sweetest fictional character in the history of fictional characters..but I guess I can see why Collins did it..I guess

I love the tension between the rebels at the beginning of the movie when Katniss is about to give a speech and chaos just erupts with rebels killing each other and Katniss says, “we are slaves to Snow” and the rebel says “I’m not a slave”and Katniss says “I am”. Chills, man, chills. But Katniss also says to him, “why are you killing rebels, your neighbors, your family” which is so powerful because we think Snow is evil because you

know, he kills people but here the rebels are killing other people too. Snow is operating on his own morality (I will kill children but I don’t do it without purpose) but then so are the rebels because these rebels and even Coin thinks that he/she knows what is best for Panem but when is that boundary crossed.

With everything else going on in this movie, I‘m pleasantly surprised they paid so much attention to how the impact of media propaganda but I’m really glad they did because it’s just so relevant today. It was so chilling when Caesar Flickerman, who once seemingly had only the best words for Katniss, is now speaking for the Capitol, saying things like “Katniss and her foolish rebels” or “the girl who was so violent now meets a violent end”. It’s just so scary because if you think about it, Caesar Flickerman can easily play two sides because you don’t actually find out what he stands for throughout the entire series. But he says things with such conviction and charisma that everything out of his mouth seems believable.

And ahh, the deaths. How do I put my thoughts together on that. It’s such a polarizing topic especially considering who dies (esp. Finnick and Prim). But, oh god, was Finnick’s death so heartwrenching because he was literally the one left behind and the mutts just consume him. Ugh, it hurts but I’m ok with it..

For me personally, I’m of the firm belief that a death in a book should be, for the most part, symbolic. It should mean something. For example, Mufasa’s and Bambi’s mother’s death, the loss of innocence. Boromir’s death, showing the power of the Ring. So even after the movie I still don’t know exactly to what purpose Finnick’s and Prim’s deaths serve. If anything, these deaths were such a bold choice on Collins’ parts precisely because it does not serve a clear purpose. I mean this entire series was catalyzed because Katniss volunteered for Prim and then she ended up..dead. No matter how main of a character or how important you are, war does not discriminate and it just kills whoever is in the way. But, at the same time, it seems like such a complete waste of a character. Like fattening up a pig only to eventually slaughter it. So, in conclusion, I’m still confused. I do really like the scene where Snow is about to be executed but instead Katniss kills Coin and Snow is killed by the people. How fitting.

And finally, the epilogue. I’m not sure why I’m not entirely satisfied with the epilogue. The editing makes it seem like the beginning of a horror movie which I guess is kind of the point because it’s a very haunting scene but still..

Sidenotes:

  • Katniss’s battle armor is always so bada, video game developers take note: the outfit is formfitting BUT FUNCTIONAL IN BATTLE.
  • Speaking of badass, that word is stamped all over Cressida played by Natalie Dormer. She just commands every scene she’s in even if she just said one word.
  • Another badass is Johanna. She is so harsh but so funny.
  • omigosh the mutts looked so scary..but that action scene was so thrilling. A+
  • Gale is actually not that annoying in the movie which is surprising because I wanted to kill him in the book.

So in ranking, I think Mockingjay Part 2 is my third favorite. almost being on part with the Hunger Games for second place. Obviously Mockingjay Part 1 is my least favorite and Catching Fire is my favorite by leagues.

What are your thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2? What’s your ranking of the movies?

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Misc · Uncategorized

Discussion: An Ode to Fangirls and Fandom Culture

I don’t think there was a defining moment for when I became a fangirl. Specifically someone who is a fangirl for books, movies, and TV shows.

It’s also difficult to surmise this because I sometimes mute or turn down the volume to this side of me in the real world. Part of the reason why is because it’s almost taboo to love something so wholeheartedly especially when it comes to anything fictional. But I’m really proud of the way fandoms have grown over the past years. I think it’s definitely more accepted now. I’m sure my fellow fangirls/boys (raise your hands in the air proudly) have joined an obsessive fandom at least once in their life. Whether it be One Direction, Justin Bieber. And I think nothing really compares to that sense of anticipation and suspense, that sense of bonding and community that only being part of a fandom can give you.

I like to attribute the start of my fangirling journey to when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out and I just had to go to Barnes and Nobles at midnight to get it. My parents thought I was craaaazy and they said let’s just come back tomorrow (ugh lol) so I came back right when Barnes and Nobles opened and proceeded to read the last book for the next 24 hours, no breaks. I think the first couple I ever really remember shipping was
at the start of my high school career, Chuck and Sarah from the show Chuck. Rewatching clips of them never gets old. And then of course, my fangirling moved on to The Hunger Games and then the movie. I remember getting so excited over the very first promotional stills from The Hunger Games and the 10 second teaser with Katniss running through the woods with fire in the background..

How can one picture make me so old but so nostalgic at the same time??

But this 10 second teaser was honestly the shit on Tumblr and the internet back when we first found out it was going to be a movie. But it was awesome because the fangirls/boys on Tumblr understood what it was like to feel excited over a simple teaser like this. What it feels like to have your one of your favorite books finally make it to the big screen. But we were not only united because of that, we were also united over our frustration with people calling Catching Fire, “The Hunger Games 2” or people who were more into the “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale” than the actual story. I bonded with people over press photos and press releases and actor interviews. There is nothing too small to bond over with fangirls. And then of course, it was a plethora of things, some of which include Sherlock, Merlin, City of Bones, Percy Jackson. It might sound crazy if you’re reading this as a nonfangirl/fanboy of fictional worlds. How can someone be so deeply involved and in love with fictional characters and a fictional world that actually do not exist? How can a TV show like Sherlock inspire countless variations of Johnlock fanfiction, photosets, gifs, memes, crossovers, cosplays, fanmeets and hours upon hours of posts analyzing a single look between John and Sherlock? I’m not as obsessed now with Sherlock now but when I was, the simple truth was that I loved these characters. Who wouldn’t want to solve mysteries with the enigmatic Sherlock played by Benedict Cumberbatch? Who wouldn’t want a partner-in-crime like John? And most of all, who, who, wouldn’t want a friendship like theirs? It’s a friendship that doesn’t really exist in real life but yet we, at least I loved it because the Sherlock with a heart of stone and sociopathic tendencies has a soft spot for John. Because the truth is sometimes we wish for the things that only fictional characters can give us. How could I not love the close bromance of Merlin and Arthur? How could I obsess over that underwater kiss between Percy and Annabeth? It’s kind of like your ideals are manifested into and shoved into a character. It’s a weird analogy but these characters are simultaneously your bffs, your lovers, and your precious children all in one..

Being a fangirl has not only let me become closer to many people in fandoms but it forced me to reevaluate the media I consume and really forced me to look at how women, LGBTQ+, and people of color are represented in books, movies, and TV. Because fangirls are never willing to settle for one narrative. Hint: Look at the fanfiction. And as devoted as fangirls are to these characters, they are always willing to look towards change and always willing to give a voice to the people who have not been represented in media. I remember when The Legend of Korra came out and people were shipping Korra and Asami left and right (I’m personally a Mako/Asami shipper shhhh)  but I really think it had a hand in something that happened at the end of the series finale..

What I also love about fandom is that it’s a world of possibility and creativity. That any story is possible. I remember looking at gifs of alternate wizarding schools and thinking to myself, wow that is really cool and it should be canon.

and I never knew there were so many ways and situations you could use this Ron Weasley gif

 

I mean I won’t be the first to tell you that fandoms can be toxic because they can be. But I’m here to celebrate fandom culture. And the best thing about fandom culture, hands down, is the way they understand me as a fangirl. They understand why you feel the urge to watch a kissing scene again 10,000 times a day or how exciting is to reblog pictures of episode promos, and the great excitement of going to conventions and cosplay events. Basically they know what it’s like to revel in something that you love and that to love something wholeheartedly is rarely a bad thing.

I’m sorry if this post was a tad overdramatic and rambly. I kinda made this post on a whim and I think I have a tendency to sensationalize. But let me know if you are a fangirl/boy, what you are currently obsessed with and your experiences with fandom!

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thoughts · Uncategorized

Thoughts: The Hunger Games Theme Park & Syria

I still remember the first time Lionsgate released the first footage of the first movie. At the time, I was pretty obsessed with the series so I was fangirling over gifs and gifs of Katniss running through the woods..lol..but in my defense most everyone in the Hunger Games fandom was pretty crazy over this. And here we are now, the last movie Mockingjay Part 2 already out.

The Hunger Games, on a more exaggerated level, has a lot to say about us commenting on our absurd entertainment values and consumerism, but also of the irreparable cost of war. So I found it kind of funny when I heard that they were making a Hunger Games theme park. A theme park suggests that I want to return to this world, that I want to immerse myself in it. But Panem is definitely not a world I want to have fun in. It’s not even a world that is aesthetically pleasing like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; the whole purpose of the revolution was to fight against the system, the dystopian society that Katniss lives in and now we’re bringing it to life? It sounds a little shady to me. So why? It sounds like the industry is self-criticizing itself unconsciously or that it’s taking this story only for its revenue value.

But then again, I find myself really curious about this theme park, how they’re going to incorporate the technology and if I’m to be honest, would I go if I had the chance? Probably. So I don’t know what that says about me.

It’s hard to imagine how in America, we are delighted by the prospect of reimagining a real life Panem when real life Panems actually exist. Not literally, I don’t see news of kids in a staged arena fighting to the death.. but the oppressive government, sure. Panem is a dystopian society obviously and living in a 1st world country and seeing these movies is sort of a detaching experience for me sort of like being the not-that-close friend of someone who just broke up with their significant other. You feel for them because it’s a break up and it might impact you a bit but overall you feel detached about it.

So as difficult as it is for me to imagine America as a country that would adopt these horrific practices, it is as equally difficult for me to fathom a world of dictatorship and tyranny and revolution. I know it exists obviously. And it’s even more prevalent now with the emergence of the Syrian Refugee crisis. I read a fantastic comic about what is actually happening in Syria. I was struck by how similar the premise was to The Hunger Games when I read the panel about the teenage boys who decided to vent their frustrations and ended up being tortured for their protests. I never realized how such small actions from such young people around my age can lead to something..well..revolutionary. As in The Hunger Games, revolution starts with a simple action like not eating some berries or raising two fingers in salute of the Mockingjay. And it all starts because people decided they had enough.

Image Detail

Even if revolution is something of a far-fetched thing to someone like me, I can’t forget that tyranny and oppression are not a thing of the past just yet. It’s obviously not as simple as that either because even if it is oppression, it was a steady regime. I’m really proud of this series as books and as movies because I liked that revolution has turned “trendy” to put it in the simplest of form, that more people are aware of it. I like that Katniss’s story can serve as such an inspiration and hope to many of those out there who think that one person can’t make a difference. It’s a little idealistic I’ll admit but when I read about the small things that real life Katnisses do to catapult change, I hope I’m always brave enough to step up when I want to fight for something I believe in.

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Misc

Thoughts: My Reading Journey

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my reading and reflection in general so I’m dedicating this post to my reading journey, how I came to be a reader and how my reading tastes have changed.

As a child/preteen:

I’ve always been a big reader ever since I was very young. I remember being practically obsessed with Scholastic Book Orders. Going to the library and having the librarian read to us aloud with her funny expressions was my favorite part of the week. It helped that my best friend back then read a lot as well. I even liked most of the books the teachers gave for assigned reading, things like Frindle and Esperanza Rising.  For some reason, I didn’t read all that much during middle school unless it was to reread Harry Potter during my boring summers. I remember another friend of mine read a lot of manga in middle school and being the type of preteen who was easily influenced by her peers, I had to read manga too. My friend would let me borrow her (mostly shojo) manga including series like Ultra Maniac, and Kitchen Princess. I still have really fond memories of them.

cat animated GIF

As a teenager in high school:

My voracious reading (for pleasure) didn’t really start until I was a sophomore in high school when I was in biology lab one day and some of my friends about this guy named Peeta. They were talking really excitedly about him and whatever they were talking about sounded really interesting to me. They told me it was a book called The Hunger Games and that it was amazing and that I should read it. I borrowed it from them and finished it in a day. I guess you could say The Hunger Games was basically my gateway drug to my bookish addiction.

That and the fact that I walked to the library everyday after school so that my mom could pick me up. I had a lot of time to browse the books. The way I picked books to read back then was just to pick out a random book from the shelves and look at the summary at the back of the book. As can be expected, I continued to read more YA and some middle grade books though I mostly stuck to fantasy because I’ve been a fantasy fan for a long time. After a while, I started reading some adult books (besides the ones assigned in class) which kind of started with Flowers for Algernon. I really liked all the classics that I read in class so I started dabbling in classics like Fahrenheit 451 though I didn’t really appreciate classics until I attended college.

As a college student:

The summer before college was when I discovered the wonderland that is Booktube. I bingewatched the Readable’s channel’s videos and I wanted to read alllllllllllll the books.

I don’t think it really was until I was in college that I really started varying my reading. I mostly still read YA but I started to branch out to more adult genre fiction like Jurassic Park. But those were few and far between. It was until 2012 that I read a more balanced diet of both YA and adult. I started to become more picky with my reading. I no longer read books based on summary alone. I no longer browsed the library aimelessly looking for a book to read. I’m pretty sure this is when I started a TBR list lol. I actually remember that Game of Thrones was the very first book I put on my TBR. I looked at reviews before I read. And I think the variation in my reading grew exponentially in 2013 and 2014. I read classics, nonfiction, adult fantasy, scifi, horror etc. though not a lot of contemporary.

Rapunzel-books

As of now, I find myself becoming more and more picky about the YA books I read. It’s just that I find myself more and more unsatisfied with a lot of YA. It’s not to say that I’ll stop reading it because I will always read YA no matter what. It sometimes provides the kind of entertainment I can’t get with other books. And I’ve always been comfortable reading whatever I want to read even if I’m a 21 year old reading a middle grade novel or reading a tome. Harry-potter-large-bookSurprisingly though, I’ve read the most YA contemporary this year than I’ve ever had in my life which is odd because usually people grow out of YA contemporary. I’ve also read a lot more classics and literary fiction this year and will probably continue to do so. And that’s where I currently stand as a reader.

How has your reading tastes changed over the years? What was your gateway drug to wanting to read all the books?

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Tags

Rip It or Ship It book tag!

I’ve seen this tag around and I wasn’t tagged by anyone but I thought it was super fun so why not? I tried to include characters (and when I say characters I mean like random characters not just the main ones; you’ll see what I mean) from the popular YA series but I also included some random people like Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice and Batman and Black Widow and one author (Cassandra Clare) because why not lol.

Round 1

Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments and Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before  

Lol…I think they’d be good rivals because I feel like they’re both kind of competitive and arrogant. In a relationship, no, because I hate Jace and love Peter so..Platonically, maybe, I can see it. But overall, RIP IT.

Round 2

Professor Trelawney from HP and Simon Lewis from TMI

NEW OTP. Trelewis? Silawney? Not. But it’s funny because I think Simon would play along with whatever Trelawney is saying even if she doesn’t make sense. Trelawney would probably try to decipher Simon’s future and see the Grim or something lol. RIP IT

Round 3

Draco Malfoy from HP and Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles

Um…I would like to see them over tea bonding and complaining about the good guys. Also, they’re vain and conceited. Oh, they also both do magic of a sorts. I can’t tell if that makes them bff’s or archenemies but for now..SHIP IT.

Round 4

Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices and Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games

Why am I getting all these weird age difference couples? Effie is a little too flamboyant for Tessa but I kinda ship them as opposites attract platonic friends. I feel like Effie would take Tessa out shopping or something..SHIP IT

Round 5

Batman from DC comics and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice

What the actual fuck?? I’d like to see this in a time travel romance fanfiction or something lol. I don’t know which one I’d rather see more though. Batman going into 19th century England or Elizabeth going to 21st century Gotham. I feel like both would do well in the respective eras actually. Elizabeth is really resourceful and witty and smart (besides isn’t something of a modern woman anyways) and Batman is so restrained and mysterious anyways. Except I don’t know what’d he do without his Batmobile..I kind of like the idea of them together besides both of them are kind of self-righteous and proud. SHIP IT.

Round 6

Clary Fray from TMI and Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars

To be honest, I feel like Augustus is a little too pretentious for Clary. She’s like the think later, do now type of person and Augustus is super reflective. I’m trying to think of it in an opposites attract type of thing and I can kind of see it? But at the same time, I don’t think they would challenge each other. So RIP IT.

Round 7 

Dobby  from HP and Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices

Awwwww, that’s kind of cute actually. I think Will would be kind of annoyed with him at first but then grow to like Dobby? That’s adorable. SHIP IT.

Round 8 

Lucien from A Court of Thorns and Roses and Four from Divergent

Guys, I think this is my new BroTP. Four would probably always be trying to get Lucien out of trouble and Lucien would try and get Four to lighten up. SHIP IT.

Round 9

Umbridge from HP and Cassandra Clare (author of TMI)

I don’t even know what to think of this. But no one deserves to be with Umbridge so RIP IT though I have a feeling Umbridge would like it whenever Clare kills off a character lol.

Well this was enlightening and fun; feel free to do this tag if you want. I’d love to hear your answers!

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Trailer Reaction

Teaser Trailer Reaction: Mockingjay Part 2

I’m extremely excited, nervous, and curious for this movie. I did not like the way things wrapped up in the book and I’m interested to see how they’re going to translate this half of the book on the big screen. Catching Fire is still my favorite of the three movies so far but we’ll see if this one will top it.

  • Aww Finnick and Annie
  • man that’s such a cool outfit Katniss
  • TURN YOUR WEAPONS TO THE CAPITAL
  • it’s weird cause the book has more serious tone to it what with the consequences of war, but the movie is giving more of a epic vibe
  • OMG PEETA, YOUR FACE
  •  

I’m pretty sure you can tell I’m excited for this movie. I’m sure the cast and crew will do the story justice and maybe even more.

What did you think of the trailer?