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22 May 2012 @ 06:48 pm
movie reviews: "The Hunger Games" and "Avengers."  
Okay, not reviews so much as random, not-very-deep thoughts on the movies. I watched them both over a week ago, and have probably forgotten things I actually wanted to talk about.

I went and saw "The Hunger Games" movie, and I want to have thoughts on the movie? But, um, it's basically a study in why movies are my LEAST favorite medium, and why any time someone asks me if I have seen some movie, the answer is usually, "Not unless I was forced to."

But, all things being equal, I would rather read a book, read comics, play a video game, watch a tv show, etc, all over watching a movie of the same thing. Because movies, in general, just do NOT have enough time to explore all the bits of characterization that I like to see explored. And I get almost nothing about of fiction unless and until I feel connected to the characters.

I generally dislike pilots of any tv show because there's this need to get the characters across quickly and what we get is what i like to refer to as the Pilot Characterization phenomemnon, where one aspect of the character is picked and HAMMERED into our minds so the character stands out (and likely gets reduced to a streotype). Movies do that, but without time to go back and add LAYERS.

So, basically, all of that happened. I went in knowing that the most important aspect of the book for me will be lost. Which is the meta level of the first person narrative POV (and wow, we don't even get Katniss voiceovers/narrative voice, which MAY have taken care of some of my issues with being taken out of her viewpoint), but also, the POV is what makes it clear to me how much of what Katniss does is a conscious PERFORMANCE on her part.

HI, I have a huge thing for modernism and feminist modern/post-modern literature. One of my favorite things in the whole universe are works that explore the idea of traditional perception of femininity and romance as an active performance on the women's part. And so that got lost, as did most of Katniss' survivalist manipulations and her general calculating nature. Sigh. I still like her, but I don't know if I would EVER feel the intense love that I do for her if the movies had been my only exposure to her.

I do feel like the movie made an effort to make her more 'likable' and took away the PERFORMANCE bit of Katniss/Peeta (which is what makes me love it) out almost entirely. So the deconstruction of those aspects in the books got completely lost, and as always, I loved the deconstructive bits the best.

*clings to books* I should also write down my thoughts on the deconstructive elements of the books before I get distracted by something shinier.

I also saw "Avengers," which was fun. But I really have no deep thoughts on it because it wasn't exactly a deep movie. It is possible my feelings towards Joss are getting in the way? I have no idea. I really enjoyed it, loved Black Widow, predictably. Iron Man and Pepper Potts made me happy, I was bored by Captain America, and the logic fail of the Hulk arc was kind of...annoying. But I have since then been told that it apparently made sense if I had bothered to remember the Hulk movie. Which, admittedly, I don't remember.

Mostly, this has renewed my vague interest in reading the Avenger comics. I am still primarily interested in the Wanda and Pietro era, because well, SUBTEXT.

And I need to hunt down some Black Widow comics. I had started reading Marvel Max's "Black Widow" comics forever ago, and have no idea why I stopped because they were pretty damn awesome.

I did want to say that I *loved* Black Widow using the appearance of vulnerablity as a weapon, and her switching from that was awesome EVERY SINGLE TIME. HI, I have a thing for heroines who use people's flawed perception of femininity as a weapon against them. And heroines who are aware of PERFORMING a role and do it delibrately for their own ends. <3

Feel free to rec Black Widow comics in the comments. You guys, it's been so long that I have forgotten how I used to make lists of comics to read after discovering a shiny new heroine. This is sort of sad.

Victoria: danrad: audition 2blighted_star on May 23rd, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
I have to admit I never read any of the comics about The Avengers. And I haven't seen the movies prior to The Avengers. I saw The Avengers being clueless, really. I liked the movie. But everyone creaming over it, acting as if it's the best movie to ever be made, makes me scratch my head.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.: Big Love:  not easy being second wifeprozacpark on May 23rd, 2012 06:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, that. It's a fun movie, but that's about it. There's nothing there that makes it anything beyond entertaining.
Victoria: r: let me feel your love againblighted_star on May 23rd, 2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
I was beginning to think I was going insane or that I was missing something because I don't know each character's background. But now I feel validated. It baffles me how much money the movie made and how people go back to see it 3 or more times.
entertaining in a disturbing way: Jo Grant: Dalek killerlyssie on May 23rd, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
Homecoming and The Things They Say About Her are the two trades that I really liked. (oh, Natasha, why so fab?)
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.: Pretty Little Liars:  Hannahprozacpark on May 23rd, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, "Things They Say about Her" is the one I read and loved. I almost want to say that I also read "Homecoming" because it sounds familiar? I need to see if Marvel Max put out any more trades because this series was fun. And I know she's been in Daredevil, but that's sort of out of my area of interest, so it'll depend on how prominent she is.
entertaining in a disturbing way: Meggan is awesomelyssie on May 23rd, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
TTSAH follows Homecoming pretty directly (events that happen in H are what fuel TTSAH). I think they did a few more after that (Cornell wrote one, iirc) that were apparently good? But I'd stopped buying Marvel at that point, so.
chaila: lords of kobolchaila on May 23rd, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
Okay your Hunger Games thoughts are FASCINATING me, even just these few. Because one of my sources of ambivalence with the book series is how unconsciously it seemed like Katniss does half the stuff she does, when it comes to the politics and political effects of her actions. Except, obviously, Katniss/Peeta and the manipulation of the game that way, she does purposefully, so maybe I just missed big important things where she was similarly performing. So maybe I should reread, but I remember feeling like she did so much unknowingly, instinctively in the moment, without really understanding what the effect would be, scraping by on her survival instincts more than purposefully utilizing the tools at her disposal. Which is a kind of heroine, for sure, and I don't necessarily have a quibble with it; but it wasn't really what I wanted from the character. Which is just a ramble, basically, because my memories are very likely distorted by time and other things in other books that I'm not sure you've read yet. But still, I find our different perceptions really interesting.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.: Anne Taintor:  Vala - act her ageprozacpark on May 23rd, 2012 06:08 am (UTC)
Let me first say that MOST OF ALL MY LOVE is for the first book, and I am kind of ambivalent on the second two, but certain aspects of them have grown on me since I finished them. I still really hate parts of them, and I have a lot of issues with a lot of it. But there are certain things that I find interesting on a meta level even in things I am disliking on a narrative level, if that makes ANY sense?

So the issues you're remembering exist to a large degree, but there are certain elements of this narrative that are allowing me to overlook things I would generally have issues with, and the first person POV (which most people seem to have an issue with) is a large part of it.
I also suspect that a lot of my love is that it's pushing some very specific character, shipping, and meta kinks of mine. I am planning on posting a detailed review with ALL THE FEELINGS, but there are things I am still trying to figure out about this.
Fictional Femme: fayana1fictionalfemme on May 23rd, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Hunger Games
Coming at it as someone who hasn't read the books (yet), I do have to mention that the performance aspect of Katniss/Peeta was quite clear to me in the movie.
hell to ships, hell to men, and hell to cities.: Anne Taintor:  Emma - conscienceprozacpark on May 23rd, 2012 06:14 am (UTC)
Re: Hunger Games
I think it's partly there, yes, but it's downplayed a lot in comparison to the level of cold calculation and utter survivalist instincts that go into it from Katniss at pretty much every step of it, and the movie also ended on a much more positive note for them than the book did.

ALSO, HI! Where have you been? :)
tigerpetals (Gabriela V.)tigerpetals on May 23rd, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Well, it's nice to see someone saying Avengers isn't all that, after my not wanting to see it while everyone is talking about it. But, since everyone is talking about it, people whose journals I follow have come out and asked for recs or given background info to people who wanted it.

Summary of the current backstory and Ultimates: http://coffeeandink.dreamwidth.org/1147007.html

Another journal I follow had a post requesting the same thing, in which I found the following Black Widow Masterpost: http://bigdamnsuperheroes.tumblr.com/post/22793401237/black-widow-masterpost-i-hit-500-followers

It also has a link to the Daredevil arc and the Rucka/Grayson run, which aren't in the masterpost and require a password given in the comment with the link: http://redbrunja.livejournal.com/745833.html?thread=12682857#t12682857

The person who linked to them has this to say about Richard K. Morgan's run: http://fuckyeahblackwidow.tumblr.com/post/15420807688/so-here-you-have-this-woman-who-used-to-work-for

Plus this list of Black Widow Comics, with a recommendation for which one to star with: http://fuckyeahblackwidow.tumblr.com/post/14084443583/black-widow-comics

I haven't watched Hunger Games either because I haven't read the book, so now I'll have to wait until it comes out for rental. My sister has gotten hers back from her friend and I have time to read it, after I finish Rebecca.
jessicajones_1jessicajones_1 on May 23rd, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
I really liked the Daredevil comic "The Widow" by B. M. Bendis when I read it back when it came out. I'm not sure if I would still like it, as I don't remember it super well, but I plan to read it again soon because Black Widow was pretty awesome in that movie.

The gist of it was that Matt Murdock was having a shit time with his life, and Black Widow stopped by to shake him out of it with some old fashioned asskickery. In the comics they are former lovers and friends, and their relationship was interesting. It might not mean as much to you if you weren't following the whole Bendis "Out/Hardcore" arc though.

I have heard Greg Rucka's Black Widow is amazing, that's probably the Marvel Max you're referring to. I haven't read it, was planning to pick it up this weekend actually :)