Yes, you read the title correctly. I’ve got a lot of things going on in my life. If you think I’m going to take the time to watch a movie or – god forbid – read a book, just because “it’s my job” then you are hilariously mistaken. Thoughtful critique is so passe – gone the way of the non-list article. Besides, this column is already too long to be shareable, and I have no desire to waste any more of our time. Thus, my ultimate verdict for the Hunger Games Trilogy depends on how compelling its Wikipedia plot summary is.
SPOILERS are to follow. I should have noted that in the title so that busy readers could have better spotted the time saving potential of this review.
From the very beginning, this series is troubled:
Pfff, talk about character overload! Just a few sentences in and already I’m losing track of who these people are or why I should care about them. Are individual descriptions and personalities not important parts of these stories? Where’s the character development? Where’s the Hero’s Journey?
I concede these things would be clearer had I read the book or seen the movie, but is that really what you expect of me? To be just another consumer, gobbling up what these corporate-shill “authors” and “film studios” cram down our gullets from on high? Arise from your shackles, lambs; you’re being bred for slaughter!
Also, in case you’ve been wondering, this review is for both the book and film versions. Does that bother you? Why should it? So what if I look at two mediums equally? If you’re uncomfortable it is only because society has conditioned you to think that way. Just because we live in a cis-genre world does not mean we have to bend to its every convention.
Catching Fire, the second installment of the series, meanders a bit before fizzling out in an apparently abrupt anticlimax:
So they go do another Hunger Games, then it’s over, huh? This scene really could not have been that meaningful if it can be condensed to just a couple sentences like that.
Despite my best efforts, it appears the zeitgeist has infiltrated my subconscious, as I was led to believe that the main draw of these stories was the complicated love triangle between the protagonists. Instead, I found the romances between Katniss, Peeta and Gale to be wholly unengaging, even next to the other dismal relationships that seem to populate this genre. For example, look at this explanation of the ultimate conclusion to their series-long dance of mental anguish:
His love “won out against the venom”?! The metaphor tree was really dangling the fruit at waist level, wasn’t it Suzanne Collins, et al? Please. There’s trite, and then there’s just plain silly. I really expected more than this after three plot summaries of build-up.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Well, Brandon, if you really want more detail about the scenes and back-story of this series, then why don’t you go and actually read the Wikipedia entry detailing the various minutiae of the Hunger Games Universe?”
What, are you kidding me? Have you seen how long that entry is? I swiped up on my phone more than fifteen times, and I still didn’t reach the end! If I wanted to read a long, excessively detailed mess of words then I’d have picked up a book, all right? Wikipedia is at its best when it is summarizing complex things into digestible chunks. That’s what I briefly glance at their pledge drive banners for.
Yeah man, I’d love to help, I just don’t carry any change. Sorry.
Now don’t waste any more of my time. I have carefully orchestrated social media history to make.
It only took me four minutes to read three novels, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. However, for me the only saving grace of this series is that I read these plot summaries long before the third movie hit mainstream theaters – back when its morals still meant something.