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25 July 2012


I finished reading the third novel in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, a couple weeks ago after having read The Hunger Games and the sequel, Girl on Fire. I've written before on the first film adaptation, but here are some thought on the series of books.

Overall, I found the trilogy enjoyable; however, the sequels were incrementally worse than the original. The symbolism in The Hunger Games was relatively subtle and were quite effective. By the end of Mockingjay, however, Collins feels compelled (perhaps by editors?) to follow a pattern of presenting metaphors and then inserting an explanation for the metaphors. It is heavy-handed and, even for a young adult novel, is condescending.

The irony, I think, is that the things that didn't work in the third novel will play well under the right direction in the upcoming film. Without spoiling, there are several extended scenes in which central characters are isolated in confined spaces for relatively prolonged spans of time. I found myself thinking often of Terry Gilliam, master of the odd and absurd, the director of such films as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, although I believe Gary Ross has already signed on for the two sequels (the third of which, it has been reported, will now be split into two films).

For all you social science educators out there, here is the bottom line. While the series begins with some noteworthy sociological elements, it becomes decreasingly sociological to the point that the final installment reads more like a video game synopsis than social commentary. Still, the franchise has value, and I am still entertaining its use in a future course.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, my take on Mockingjay was completely different than yours. I appreciated it because of the complexity it gave to attempting to overthrow a corrupt government. It would have been very easy for Collins to present the rebellion as universally good and the establishment as universally bad, so I greatly appreciated the fact that she did not do that.