31 December 2014

Are You, Are You Coming To The Tree . . . ?

Since I first heard the official song, that line easily gets stuck in my head.

About a month before The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released, I started listening to the soundtrack's songs on YouTube. I fell in love with Lorde's "Yellow Flicker Beat" and her cover of "Ladder Song," and I was addicted to "The Hanging Tree" until a couple of weeks later, when it was removed from YouTube due to copyright conflicts. (It has, thankfully, been reinstated since then.)

In the film (which I watched for the first time last night with my boyfriend), I loved the bit wherein "The Hanging Tree" was used. The fact that the scene originated in a very calm lakeside setting before escalating to a very intense, violent attack is a tactic that I find interesting and creative.

But, yes, Lorde certainly proved herself in this endeavour. Not only is she the curator of a major movie's soundtrack at the age of 17 (now she's 18), but she contributed more than one song to the soundtrack itself. Maybe I'm biased because I was a Lorde fan before she became involved with the Hunger Games film franchise, but now it's obvious that she is multitalented.

The entire film is incredible, really. I thought it was slightly too short (possibly because it's only half of one of the books?), and arguably ended too abruptly. I'm seeing a pattern in these movies' final scenes: the end of The Hunger Games saw a dramatic close-up of Snow, the end of Catching Fire saw a dramatic close-up of Katniss, and the end of Mockingjay Part 1 saw a dramatic close-up of Peeta.

I think that Peeta's conflict with the Capitol was explored well in this movie, underlining the fact that the government's actions are becoming extremely personal for the protagonists. (Can someone say "foreshadowing?") I flinched when Peeta lunged at Katniss and injured her, even though I knew it had been coming -- I see it as one sign of good acting that an actor can portray unpredictability, and as a sign of good screenwriting that such a severe character interaction can be pulled off so realistically.

One of my favourite things is how the film plays on Katniss and Prim's sisterhood and shows how much they care about and love each other. Katniss is clearly still dedicated to her sister, long after she volunteered for Prim's place in the 74th Hunger Games. In the scene where they were nearly separated because Prim left the bunker in order to retrieve Buttercup, I could relate to both of the girls: to Prim because I probably would have had enough of a lack of common sense to do the same thing, and to Katniss because I would have felt the exact same fear and panic if it was my own sister who was endangered.

A few miscellaneous details I would like to mention:

1. Over the course of the movie, I teared up three times (when the hospital was bombed, when Peeta attacked Katniss, when Katniss stumbled upon the mountain of white roses) and cried once (when Katniss and Prim almost didn't make it safely into the bunker).

2. I think Pollux is adorable, amusing, and very well characterised for a film character who is unable to speak. He is, in my opinion, livelier than his book counterpart.

3. While I nonetheless enjoyed it, Mockingjay was my least favourite book in the trilogy. It was highly political -- which makes sense considering the plot concerns a corrupt government and the ensuing overthrow -- but political to an extent that I think is almost uninteresting at some points. Also, a few parts of the book confused me, such as the scene wherein Finnick died (but I suppose it will become clearer when portrayed in the next movie).

4. That being said, I believe I will enjoy Part 2 more because its events appealed to me in the book. There is more violence (assassinations, minefields, character deaths, etc.) and therefore more conflict -- which, as we all know, makes a story less boring. Also, it's the finale, so I assume that it will be very expressive.

And now, more YA-fiction film adaptations!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!

Yeah, I knew about Insurgent's movie version long ago, but now it's official: not only was there a cardboard advertisement at the theatre I went to last night, but there was also a teaser before Mockingjay Part 1 played.

I'd seen the same teaser before via the Internet, and while I liked the special effects -- and Tris's haircut! -- I thought it was intriguing, but vague and somewhat odd. Flames and smoke surrounded Tris as she leaped onto a flying house to save her dead mother. (???)

For clarification: Yes, I have read Veronica Roth's trilogy.

Not long ago, I also watched the first trailer online and enjoyed it more than the teaser because it was longer, more understandable, and more captivating. You can see both below and decide for yourself.


(via user "MOVIECLIPS Trailers" on YouTube)


(via user "The Divergent Series" on YouTube)

What did you think of Mockingjay Part 1? Are you looking forward to Insurgent? Tell me about it in the comments!

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