March 22, 2012

Happy Hunger Games?

This afternoon I went to see The Hunger Games at the cinema for the first time after being a fan of the book trilogy for the last two years. Go here for my general thoughts on the trilogy.

I was quite excited for the movie but didn't have many high expectations. I didn't love it, but didn't hate it. As an adaption it was excellent as I felt nearly everything stuck the original plot, concept and characterisation of the novel, but as a movie it was just a bit... okay. It was good, but overall I would give the film a 3/5.

Here are some of my general thoughts:

The Good
  • The characterisation of Peeta was absolutely spot on. Exactly as I imagined him to be down to his build, mannerisms and voice.
  • I enjoyed the aspect of seeing the game makers in action. As the book is first person narration, we only see what Katniss does, so it was intriguing to see the behind the scenes aspect of the game.
  • The residents of the Capitol. Absolutely ludicrous as they should be.
  • I enjoyed the bond between Katniss and Cinna. Understated, gentle and supportive - her only real bond of friendship within the Capitol.
  • Gale carrying a screaming Prim at the reaping, one of the only times I was happy with the character of Gale in the movie. (The other was the beginning when he and Katniss were in the woods).
  • Cato and Rue. Perfect.

The Bad
  • The cut of Madge and the lack of true mockingjay pin back story was disappointing, but I understand it was necessary within the time frame of the movie.
  • They didn't put the berries in their mouth!
  • The fighting scenes were a bit lame. They weren't as PG as I expected, but they were a bit too 'shaky cam'.
  • The beginning (until they got into the arena) dragged. It was all important to the plot but I found myself getting fidgety.
  • Gale. Liam Hemsworth is far too pretty boy. And not the best actor.
  • The Cornucopia. It's not meant to look like a short angular skyscraper.
  • Towards the conclusion of the film after the arena, it would have been good to have some of the hospital scenes and some of her general disorientation. 

It kind of left me thinking that it is far better as a book than as a movie. It'd be interesting to hear thoughts of people who have not read the book as more people see the movie and see what opinions arise from it as just a movie, without being attached to the book. It was nearly as close to the book as I could have hoped, but overall cinematically it just lacked the gripping oomph that the book has. (Or maybe that's because there was no suspense for me as I knew what was coming). Definitely worth seeing, but for things like this I'd often see it twice at the cinema which I'm not dying to do. I'll probably see it again anyway though just to look at it without expectation. As an adaption it was great, as a movie it was good.

March 8, 2012

Kony 2012

Kony 2012 is a thirty minute documentary, made by Jason Russell of Invisible Children, that focuses on raising awareness about Joseph Kony, rebel leader of the violent Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and bringing him to justice.

Watch the video. 

Kony and the LRA are responsible for abducting children, sexually abusing them and using them for war in central African areas such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

The aim of the video is to make Kony famous, to ensure people know who he is and what he does, so that he can be stopped. It wants an awareness movement, so that in the year Twenty Twelve, twenty culture makers (various celebrities) and twelve policy makers (various congressmen and senators) learn about Kony and can then implement the change to ensure his arrest in 2012.

The video has had more of an effect than was ever anticipated. The link has gone viral over Facebook and Twitter and, at the time of writing, has been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube.

People are unanimously showing their support for the Kony 2012 campaign.
And I have a problem with this.

None of us really know about Kony, or Invisible Children for that matter. The documentary is crafted in such a way that it makes you feel like you have to do something, it motivates you to stand, chanting against the injustice.

I have absolutely NOTHING against people supporting something they believe in.

The problem I have is that everyone is going crazy over this campaign and jumping on the bandwagon of support, after only being influenced by the video.

A video created by a charity or movement will always leave you wanting to help that particular organisation.

So before you support Kony 2012, Invisible Children or any charity or organisation, do some research. Don't just go in blind because of the emotion or because everyone else is.

Decide whether it is worth your time, money or talents. Ask questions. Find resources and statistics. But please, know what you're supporting. 

If then you are still in favour of supporting it, absolutely go for it.

I want to see Kony captured just as much as anyone else. I believe justice is important. These past few days since the video has been released have shown the power of the internet community in an incredible way. But I just think this is an issue greater and more complicated than one man.

Most of all, I think that charities and organisations should be supported and represented because people are 100% committed, passionate and dedicated towards every aspect of what that organisation represents, not just one video.

Invisible Children have given answers to a few of the tricky questions that have arose here.