I think for a followup movie, they did a very good job of keeping the excitement of the original while driving in new elements. As far as seeing it without the first movie, it has the elements it needs to make sense. Although I think some of the training elements maybe should have been a bit different. In the book, there are numerous scenes of studying Haymitch in his winning of the games previously that they skipped on. Although this likely was a good decision as the younger fans would more enjoy the focus on Katniss and Peeta characters. Additionally, this would have dragged out the train tour scene visually.
How well do you think they followed the book?
In each adaptation of a movie from a book there are shortcuts taken to focus on the key scenes. Do I think they got that right? Very close. They did eliminate some foreshadowing of District 13, which probably made sense in that the ending becomes a complete cliff hanger if you haven’t read any of the books.
Another section they slice off is the electrification of the fence and the finding of the house to retreat to in case of the revolution coming.
What do you think are the successful factors?
The whipping scene is very strong and captures the brutality of an authoritarian regime. There are historical parallels in modern society with slavery.
Are there modern regimes using brutal methods?
Sure, look at the Sudan where they publicly whipped a woman for adultery under Islamic fascist-style governments. In Saudi Arabia they stone women. Below is a photo of stoning in Somalia, again by a Islamic extremist group.
As with the book, the structure of the Hunger Games changes over time and there are surprise plot twists. This is a classical must-have feature for a sequel to have long-term success as the audience will bore of the same plots repeated as is common in many serial novels.
Because of the cover-up of some of the foreshadowing of the ending, the ending is very strong and comes to the audience in a blast.
The fact that they focus on the results of the slow burning uprising really enhances how the general population of Panam is rising up. Visually, its actually stronger than the sense you get in the book, which is trickier. In the book, you have to describe the uprising and keep it top of mind. In film, you can show the crowds getting more and more extreme, so it is burned into your retina memory much faster.
Why do you think this series touches such a nerve in the population?
One of the themes is a domineering political center, the Capital, stealing all the resources in abandonment ways of splurging while the rest of the population is starving. Historically, this happened as the Nazis rose to power in Germany and as the war progressed, but also recently you can see similar trends in the US government. You saw this as a troubled teen took on the Boston bombing or the hacker group Anonymous beginning to challenge all different power groups worldwide.
Boston Bombing and Police 2012
Are you saying the US is becoming Nazi Germany?
No, not yet. What I mean to qualify is that you do see a militarization of the police to an extent never seen before in US history. In my lifetime, I have seen AK47s wielded by the Polish Communist police, but now we are seeing the US police, SWAT and all other police forces carrying machine guns to protect us from terrorism. A great example was the police response to the Boston bombing in 2012.
Another example is the response to the JFK assassination in 1963 and the 2013 women who rammed the white house road blocks. In one case you have lax police protection, which allowed the opportunity of assassination. In the other hand, you have a dental practioner with her child in the car gunned down by over zealous DC cops protecting the White House. This is major upset from likely too few cops to too extreme cops in 5 decades.
Have you done any artwork on this theme?
Yes, I did do an artwork on the Hunger Games and will likely just leave it at one work for the entire series of books and movies. My painting focuses right on the time when Katniss decides to volunteer in District 12 and show self-sacrifice to preserve her own sister while Effie, representing the Capital powerful elite excess, draws out her name with a beautifully decadent accent. She then tells the reapees that “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
May the Odds be Ever in your Favor