PTSD

The Hunger Games Theme Park

A few months ago our very own Girl With The Pearl published this article here, and true to form, and/or the nature and purpose of this site, it was written entirely in humor. Today though the hypothesis has become a little, or a lot less of a silly, flippant idea– nope, now it may prove to be an honest to god real thing. There are a few things that The Hunger Games fandom have had to endure over the last several years, one of those things has most definitely been the unadulterated commercialization of the series. Sure, we know the series is successful, we don’t begrudge that, however sometimes I think we can all agree that the money-making schemes that use The Hunger Games as its draw have gone to places that don’t make a lot of us happy, or even comfortable. The Girl With The Pearl doesn’t like Trish Summerville’s partnership with Net-A-Porter and the Capitol Couture line, and I do, so even staff writers on the same site don’t agree on things, but I think today we can all resoundingly agree that the news of Lionsgate seriously considering building a theme park, or theme park ride around The Hunger Games is an extremely ill conceived of venture and idea. 

Panem is not a happy place, this is why The Hunger Games trilogy is called Dystopian. So I’m just entirely confused as to how, or why anyone would want to walk through a park, or sit on a ride that glorifies the dystopic world that Suzanne Collins created. The Hunger Games trilogy is not Harry Potter, which was kind always a theme park waiting to happen if you think about it, I mean Diagon Alley was straight out of Dickens, and Hogwarts already looked like Shakespeare and Poe got drunk, and decided to go on a turn about The Haunted Mansion, and killed a few people along the way. In other words, the best time ever! 

The Hunger Games has happy moments don’t get me wrong, but come on– those moments aren’t magical, you can’t gloss over the pain, there’s no giant spider named Aragog, and the horrors, you can’t build a movie theme park or ride, around a world that quite literally locks people up, whips them, starves children, forces children to fight to the death, and televises it! That’s just, well– insane, socially irresponsible, and um– sick. Sure, in a twisted sense this is all turning out to potentially be art imitating art, because Suzanne Collins did write that Capitol citizens love visiting arenas from past Hunger Games whilst on expensive package vacations, but that still doesn’t justify the as yet to be defined concept behind this “ride” or “park.” I’ve heard some ideas that it’s going to be something along the lines of Star Tours, the Star Wars ride that’s been running at Disney parks for decades, or like The Back to the Future Ride that has also been running for decades as well. But, those films don’t quite go to the same dark places as The Hunger Games— frankly comparison wise, those film franchises are a lot more tame. Sure, Star Wars has an empire ruling a galaxy, but you sure as hell don’t see Darth Vader killing kids on TV and selling, and packaging it as the entertainment highlight of the year. The galaxy in Star Wars wasn’t even

This totally happened! No-it-didn't.

This totally happened! No-it-didn’t.

informed that an entire planet was destroyed to get information out of a scared girl, and Snow totally did the same thing– and used it for propaganda purposes later on. I don’t even know what could be plucked from The Hunger Games and condensed into a ride? What, the ride to the Capitol? It’s not exactly exciting, unless they want to throw in some intense imagery, evoking PTSD like feelings, which only masochists and sadists would be into.

There are some weird theme parks out there, I have to admit that. Like the Bible theme park in Florida, or a Christian evangelical museum where animatronic dinosaurs carry Jesus around, or something. And then there’s Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, which I don’t even like putting into the same category as the Christian themed things, ’cause yeah– dinosaurs did not carry humans around, not even Jesus. So, Powers That Be, please don’t make light of The Hunger Games, you can sell us clothes, and pins, and albums of music– but a theme park or ride based in a series about trauma, starvation, social upheaval, oppression, violence, oh and love– it’s not the best idea you’ve had, and it’s highly recommended that you reconsider.

I do kind of want to see Johanna Mason on a dinosaur.

Them There Eyes

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What About Haymitch?

It’s come to my attention over time that some characters in The Hunger Games trilogy Haymitch-haymitch-abernathy-28166477-1024-768just don’t get as much attention, and face it, as much love as the rest of them. Sure, Peeta’s got the whole artist with a heart of gold thing going on, and Finnick is the heartthrob with the sensitive streak a mile long, and Katniss is the Mockingjay and the heroine, but what about the trilogies resident surly drunk Haymitch Abernathy? Doesn’t he deserve some intense love, and scrutiny just like the three mentioned above? Well, I sure as hell think he does!

Where to begin with Haymitch though? Yeah, he’s a surly drunk, and an all around ass-hat half the time, but he serves a purpose, and he’s far from lacking in the brains department. However, sometimes I feel like the characterization of him as simply the drunk detracts from the reasons why he’s been plying himself with alcohol for the better part of his life. Haymitch is a victor, hard to wrap your brain around the image of him winning anything when he’s alcohol soaked likely 90% of the time, vomiting on himself, vomiting in public, and being showered off, whilst fully clothed, by a teenage boy he’s just met. Wow, the-teenage-boy-he-just-met bit makes it sound kind of pervy, doesn’t it? But that’s the thing, so much of Haymitch is just… strange, and unexplained.

What we know about him is this: Haymitch won The Hunger Games when he was 16 years-old, and he didn’t win by accident, he won by cunning, drive, fortitude, physical strength, and agility. And then there’s that The Capitol likely systematically killed off everyone in his family, including his girlfriend after he won said games. He has very few friends, but he is friends with Chaff a victor from District 11. Me thinks that Chaff and his brand of friendship is likely drinking though, lots of drinking, like black-out-drinking-I-don’t-know-my-name-anymore drinking. Sadly, this drinking

Haymitch in Catching Fire

Haymitch in Catching Fire

buddy theory has also prompted other theories that Chaff and Haymitch were also fuck-buddies. Me, I–I’d rather not go there. Also, he’s unmarried, and apparently has no children, ’cause you know– you don’t have to be married to have children. He’s a slob, but that should already have been figured out from the whole vomiting-on-self-problem. Wow, this guy is just a mess, how is he still breathing by the time Katniss and Peeta are unceremoniously dumped in his lap?

So, that’s what we know, or what we think we know. Here’s what we think, or many of us think, aside from the people who believe Haymitch and Chaff are sometimes sex partners: He’s got a raging case of PTSD, which is untreated, undiagnosed, and therefore the effects of being in The Hunger Games are just as fresh as they were when he was 16 years old. Also, he’s quite literally destroying him self from the inside out, because he self medicates with copious amounts of alcohol, i.e. he’s not a drunk by the sheer luck of a horrible genetic proclivity for addiction. Although all bets are off if Suzanne Collins comes out with a prequel about Haymitch, and it turns out his family has a history of substance abuse. He isolates himself on purpose, because The Capitol kills anyone who seems to get close to him emotionally His sense of humor is another way in which he isolates himself, because it’s cutting, dry, and more often than not his jokes and/or quips are at another persons expense. What else can I say about Haymitch, other than that he sometimes gets the best lines in all three of the novels? Oh, I know! That Gary Ross’ directional choices vastly changed the layman’s view of Haymitch thanks to him taking most of his knock-out-drunk behavior out of The Hunger Games film?

Let’s all hope, and pray that the Haymitch of the novels shows up a bit, or a lot more in Francis Lawrence’s renditions of the rest of the series, am I right– or amiright?

Them There Eyes

Trauma

If I could have one conversation with Josh Hutcherson within the next year, this would be the topic of emphasis– mental illness. I know it’s a heavy subject, and not something you can just casually bring up like “hey, Josh– you know how your character Peeta is going to be brainwashed, and tortured to within an inch of his life? Yeah, about that…” It’s basically akin to going up to a person and asking them how well their last sexual encounter went.

Josh Hutcherson is no stranger to playing characters who have had to deal with some heavy life experiences– I can think of three films he worked on all before he was 17 years-old that had him crying, being beaten, or completely emotionally vulnerable. But, personally I think Peeta’s trauma’s are a bit different from say, Jimmy in Fragments witnessing his best friend’s father being shot right in front of him, or Jess in Bridge to Tarabithia losing his best friend. Peeta’s traumas are, well– just as brutal, but being tortured over an extended period of time, and having his memories altered to serve a twisted governmental agenda– bit more difficult to act out possibly?

I know that Francis Lawrence asked Woody Harrelson if he knew anything about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and thus he went and hung out with a PTSD sufferer. I can only hope that Lawrence had a similar conversation with Josh, and even Jennifer.

I wish we could get some in depth interviews throughout this franchises filming process, where character research, acting methods, and other equally technical and nerdy stuff was covered– I’m thinking Vanity Fair.