So, the movie is good.
Friday, March 23.
At the end of the hour-long radio alarm this morning, I wretched myself from a dreamy snoozing, stretched, and rolled from the narrow bed onto my haunches. Routinely, I walked to the door of my apartment to see what the morning held outside. Dreary. ‘Should I go for a run?’ I asked myself. That thought quickly sluffed away, forgotten when the Raisin Bran box came into view.
Last night I considered going to the midnight opening of the Hunger Games movie.
Why? First, I got home around 10 p.m. from the office, where I had been monotonously weighing sorghum plant samples for Total Nitrogen analysis. My brain was tired from the repeated staring at the balance scale and moving fractions of grams from the sample cup to the foil wrappers that are inserted into the analysis machine and then back to the cup when the weight topped 0.2020 g. You get the idea. So, sometimes a mental change of pace is just as restful as going to bed.
Second, the movie is getting a lot of hype. Many folks are discussing it–not only prepubescent teens were for Harry Potter and Twilight (of which viewers this weekend will be subjected to a short preview for the final ridiculous vampire-wannabe movie prior to the Hunger Games). Lots of my friends are reading the book or have read it. In my church family, a single copy is making its rounds through a large circle. I have not read the book or series, but maybe it is worth a matinée price to see the film?
Getting back to the apartment from the lab on campus, I browsed with Google search to the theatre film lists here in Columbia. ‘Whoa’, I thought. The big cinema in town had four theatres showing the film from midnight through 1 a.m.! beside the movie title was listed the show time: over 2 hours. Wait, so folks will be up till 3 or 4 a.m. if they go to the latest opening night show?! Um…
Curious as to the demand for the film at 1 a.m., I clicked on tickets for each showing thinking that no one would or could stay up that late to see those showings. Everyone was sold out!
‘Well’, I thought, ‘this is a big movie.’ So, I clicked on today’s schedule to see when and if the film was available. Today’s schedule was full of afternoon showings in three theatres. I then clicked over to the Forum Theater‘s page so see what the more comfy and intimate environment provided for viewing opportunities. Really, if one has a choice between Forum and the big cinema, I choose Forum as its plush, rocking, red chairs and shorter drive take the cake (or popcorn).
Friday I will go see it. I knew some friends were going to see if Friday evening, but their choice, the 7:15 show, was sold out. A matinée is the best choice anyway.
After my bowl of Raisin Bran, I relaxed a bit around the apartment and intended to go into the office and lab to start some soil separations for my thesis research, when the rain began. Most of the week, steady rain has fallen. The joy of the rain breaks blue sky themes and makes everyone question their plans. My plans changed. ‘After the film I will go into the office to do some evening work, since Friday is date night, so not many folks are available for hanging out’ I concluded.
Forum had a 12:30, 12:40, and 1 p.m. showing. I chose the 12:40 show, then made a turkey wrap and jogged to the car for the short drive to the cinema, then jogged to the cinema doors in a light rain. With 30 other fellow Rain-day patrons, I plopped down in the middle seat on the 10 row, leaned back in the cozy, velvet cushions and slipped of my sandals to stick my feet on the arm rests in front of me. Ready for whatever would come.
As the previews played they oddly made the feature presentation look less-appealing, with Twilight, Avengers, and G.I. Joe trailers flashing across the screen. I half-tuned them out as I had seen them before and thought back to the few reviews I read about the Hunger Games. Most folks use Rotten Tomatoes or some other lame-o rating website; I do not want someone to tell me to watch it or not, I want to know the elements of the film which is what is so wonderful about Plugged In Online. The review I read this morning gave me a better expectation for preparing my heart and mind: teenagers killed and blood abounding, but not in a gory or needless way, the reviewer suggested. It painted a solid picture of one girl’s fight against odds by being compassionate and strong.
Powerful cinematography with imagination-saving shaky shots of bloody scenes. The heroine and hero truly capture hearts (of both the cinema audience and the Pan-Am citizens). But what captured me was less to do with the story or characters. No, they were solid and enjoyable, but the scenery held me locked to the screen.
Scenery? Really?! Yes! For those, like me, who have a love affair or close connections with the Southern Appalachians, then you will love the familiar oak-hickory forests and the granite lines streams.
District 12 scenery in the beginning did not grab me, but when the 24 tributes (or what was left of them after a few minutes) began running into the woods, the foliage grabbed me! The central character, Katniss Everdeen, began running away from the initial melee, she rolled down a hillside– covered in rhododendron!!!!
What?! So much does my heart yearn for a bit of time-even a day-to stroll through the old southern hills of the Appalachians! A true joy of mine is hiking through the Georgia mountains or taking weekend backpacking trips into the North Carolina National Forest land. I knew what I saw immediately.
The credits proved it to me: the casting and shooting was done around Charlotte and Asheville and other North Carolina towns. Charlotte (the Capital), Hildebran (District 12), and the DuPont state forest between Brevard and Hendersonville (the Arena) were all featured in the film. Want to go? Tourism is gearing-up.
Rhododendron first. Then distinct shots of stately hickory trees. Trillium cover the understory as the teens race for their lives through the film. Then beautiful wildflowers are featured: foxglove, Queen Anne’s Lace, more trillium, and others are used to decorate the fallen Rue of District 11.
Now, the mockingjay is not real and does not live in the Appalachians, but the mockingbird is common. The quail that fly out of the bushes in the early minutes of the movie are real.
Several times the characters are scrambling across the smooth granite that lies exposed by the river. This natural feature is common throughout the lower mountains and hills, lying beside cold trout-filled waters.
The opening where the cornucopia sits in the film is most likely an old glade that a farming family cleared 150 years ago for building a homestead.
Folks, the ambling and rambling is real and gorgeous! The scenery and flora is just as striking as the story and provides the diverse landscape and dense forest that gives the ‘Arena’ its allure of beauty and makes it the ideal hunting ground.
Go see them– the Southern Appalachians and the Hunger Games.
P.S. What’s up with the author using the Boy Scout hand sign as the Pan-Am hand sign? Haha! I hope the Boy Scouts get some press out of this…