Tag Archives: The Hunger Games

They Should Have Listened to Jeff Bridges a Long Time Ago

2 Sep

This afternoon, my stepdaughter and I saw The Giver, a movie that portrays a bleak future of government control. As the scenes rolled by, a couple of things went through my mind.

First, I am a huge fan of dystopian movies, and, some time back, I wrote a post about some of my favorites. Certainly, there are essays that examine these movies and their popularity. I am sure someone has written about how they are born from the times in which they are made. Many of them are adapted from books, and those books have a message hidden between the lines. They are critiques of society placed in a future environment.

I am not going to write anything that deep about The Giver. Instead, I am going to write about the second thing I thought about as the scenes rolled by. Some of those scenes brought laughter from a few of the people in the theater, and, honestly, there were few scenes meant to be funny. They were laughing because the movie was made too late.The Giver

I felt that they were laughing for a couple of reasons. One was that they thought the movie was a copy of recent dystopian films. The Hungers Games, famously adapted from books, has ushered in a ton of copycats, and, on the surface, this looks like one of them. There is the semblance of a love triangle among a teenage girl and two teenage boys. There is a young person who takes on the role of savior for the beaten down society. The list can be lengthy.

However, there is a catch. The Giver was written 13 years before The Hunger Games. That is why this movie was filmed too late. For those who have not taken the time to read the book, The Giver looks like a copycat. In reality, it may be the other way around.

I read that Jeff Bridges has been working for 20 years to bring The Giver to the screen. It is funny that he was finally able to do it after the success of The Hunger Games. Apparently, Hollywood did not want to take a chance on this story without knowing if there was an audience for it. That decision did a disservice to a great story.

That brings me to the other reason that I felt people were laughing. They had never read the book. The Giver is a story about a boy who has the ability and the drive to break out of an oppressive society. To set the stage, the movie and the book show just how oppressive that society can be. The book and the movie take these elements seriously, but some in the audience saw the behavior on the screen as dumb. Either they did not understand, or they were comparing the movie to The Hunger Games.

My stepdaughter, who loves The Hunger Games, liked this movie, as well. She asked if they were going to make another one. Like The Hunger Games series, there are three books about the world of The Giver. Obviously, The Hunger Games empire is at full force, and the movies are being cranked out. Unfortunately, I do not think the same will happen with The Giver. This is unfortunate because I think the books are better.

I am glad that I read the book before seeing the movie and suggest to everyone that they do the same. Heck, the book should be read whether you see the movie or not.

Kindling – Part 2

21 Jan

Yesterday, I decided to filter through my Kindle archive and blog about the works I found in there. You can skim that posting to discover my motivation behind this action and to read about some of the books hibernating in the archive. Unfortunately, the post took me too close to the morning hours, and I had to set my computer aside. This post covers the rest of the stories (to paraphrase Paul Harvey).

1. “End Game: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness” by Frank Brady – When I was a kid, I was fascinated by Bobby Fischer. However, it wasn’t the chess. It was the fact that he disappeared. For some reason, I liked the people who fell off the face of the earth, such as Fischer and Howard Hughes. I started this book hoping that it would shed some light on that part of his life. To my dismay, it skimmed over the “mystery” because there was none. People knew where he was. He didn’t disappear. He just stopped playing chess. Despite that disappointment, this is an interesting journey into a mind that is slowly going mad. At the end, I thought I was crazy.

2. “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln – Who doesn’t like a good conspiracy? And this is the king daddy of them all. Get that – king daddy…Jesus had a kid. Yeah, kinda corny I suppose. Anyway, this is the book that inspired “The Da Vinci Code”. The writers delve into all sorts of history to come up with the theory of a holy bloodline that continues to flow. It is terribly written and terribly researched. But, that isn’t the point. If you don’t believe man landed on the moon and believe the world is going to end on December 21, 2012, then this is the book for you. I love conspiracies, so I loved the read.

3. “The Hunger Games” and “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – I read the physical version of the other book. I reckon that grown men shouldn’t be reading YA novels about young girls. However, this young girl kicks ass. Almost everybody knows about this series, so I won’t go into a big explanation. It’s super cool, and I hope the movies are super cooler.

4. “Robopocalypse” by Daniel Wilson – It’s been done more than once. “I, Robot”. “Maximum Overdrive”. Machines come to life and take over the world. We seem to fear a takeover by the things that we believe we control. Machines and animals in particular. However, this is a great book that takes us around the world as survivors try to fight back. Despite their struggle, I can’t help but like the machine that is controlling the entire process. It accomplished where numerous humans have failed. It conquered the world.

5. “World War Z” by Max Brooks – Zombies are misunderstood. When did voodoo get taken out of the zombie story and disease take its place? Of all the zombie books, this one is my favorite because it reads like a real history. Interviews such as this have been done by real researchers talking to real veterans, and the stories are similar to reality. Well, except for the enemy that just won’t die. I can’t say enough about this book. It spans the globe and traces the history of a war that seemed impossible to win. It is becoming a movie, but I can’t see how they can fit this into a two-hour time slot. It will be interesting to watch, but I think the movie in my mind will have to suffice.

6. “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” by David Maraniss – In history, we tend to view the participants as two-dimensional beings. Good or bad. Hero or villain. Strong or weak. As the years pass, their humanity turns into statues of stone or metal. Vince Lombardi provides the perfect example. He is a winner – the greatest football coach ever. The Super Bowl trophy is named after him. This biography goes past the images and words of NFL Films to show a man who had fears, doubts and problems at home. He was a great coach but a terrible father. He was a saint but a tyrant. In short, he was human.

There you have it. That cleans out my digital archive. As it turns out, this was a lot easier than loading boxes with hundreds of pounds of books. Now, I just have to start reading the long list of books that I haven’t gotten to yet.