Sunday, March 25, 2012

Panem Spring

Several people whose taste I trust had told me that the Hunger Games books were really good, and the early reviews of the movie, professional and amateur, were promising, but I knew I was in for a treat within a few minutes, when the movie cut cleanly and dramatically from the interview with guy in charge of the games about their profound meaning (blah, blah, blah) to life in the starving coal communities of District 12.

I have become more sensitive to the difference between acceptable and extraordinary editing of video, and how much it affects the final work, and this film was clearly going to be first rate in that department.

And as the film went on, it had acting that was so good that it wasn't like acting at all.

And it was full of references, obscure but coherent, to the history of the future, that made it seem real.

(For instance:  the representative from the Capitol wants the assembled people of District 12 to applaud the Tributes, but the people give a silent salute that surely, surely goes back to the original rebellion.  This, people, is why you have the original author involved in the making of the film.)

One theme that really hit the mark for me was the attention paid to the back-room deals that had as much affect on the outcome as the actions of the contestants or the outright manipulations of the people who ran the Games.

I've read lots and lots of SF dystopias not amazingly different in principle from this story, but this was really fresh and artistically successful nonetheless.

Side note:  Did anyone else find it rather pathetic that one of the chief technological wonders hogged by the Capitol ruling class are trains that are no faster than ones that already exist on other continents? Not to mention the dependence on coal...Clean Coal, no doubt.

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