Though like you I prioritized seeing The Hunger Games this weekend above longstanding family and professional obligations, nutrition, personal hygiene and, oh, everything else in the universe, I'm afraid I have a disappointing confession to make. You guys. I didn't read any of the books.
OK, I know, I know, I know—I'm cultural scum, and a generally deplorable philistine who deserves to be pelted unmercifully with those apples I already see a few of you training at my tender midlands. But if it's any consolation, I liked the movie a lot (enough to go out and buy the books immediately after)! In fact, one thing The Hunger Games did superbly well was make the dense mythology of Panem accessible to ignorant schmoes like me. The dialogue was tight enough to reveal the rules of the universe without over-explaining, the few flashbacks were quick and contextually appropriate (there may as well have been a sign above the Tracker Jacker hive saying Warning: Bees may cause backstory) and the brief ending montage foreshadowed the events of the inevitable sequel with elegant simplicity.
Even possessing ZERO working knowledge of Suzanne Collins' innovative and now record-shattering series, based on the film's tight narrative I can already see a clear plot taking shape for The Hunger Games II: The Hungrier Games (a.k.a. Catching Fire). So to all the noble souls who sacrificed precious hours of life to read this series, I volunteer the following wildly speculative, uninformed and inconsequential predictions about Catching Fire as tribute. May the lols be ever in your favor.
In Catching Fire...
- Katniss Everdeen must keep up her sham relationship with Peeta Mellark for the good of the people.
- Gale Hawthorne doesn't particularly like this.
- Following 11's example, other Districts begin to rebel against the violent yearly advent of the Hunger Games.
- Grasping to remind Panem of his authority, President Snow incrementally criminalizes: shoes, blankets, strawberries, coal, cats, pictures of cats, Harry Potter, hunger, games, and setting the thermostat below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Katniss devotes her first 48 hours back home to uninterrupted Facebooking. She updates her work experience (TV personality; harbinger of violent death), her interests (demolition; mercy killing; water) and her relationship status (complicated).
- Primrose Everdeen experiences inconsistent ridicule/popularity among her peers, alternately labeled as "the girl too scared to go die on television" and "the girl whose sister will dump bees on my head." Neither nickname sticks. They're too hard to remember.
- Gale challenges Peeta to a one-on-one basketball tournament in order to resolve their love triangle with Katniss. Jaded by her society's lethal obsession with competition, Katniss chooses Edward Cullen.
- Bolstered by their newfound repute, Haymitch Abernathy, Cinna, and Effie Trinket form a punk rock supergroup named The Mockingjays. The project sees mild popularity in the 2nd ("party rock") District and 5th ("hipster") District before meeting an abrupt end when a whiskey-soaked Haymitch gets a little too close to Cinna's flaming drum set.
- In increasingly lazy attempts to boost off-season ratings, Capitol TV airs pilot episodes of: The Obesity Games, Celebrity Obesity Games, The Celebrity Obesity Games No-Limit Texas Hold-'Em Championship, Keeping Up With Katniss, The Hunger Games: Jersey Shore, The Hunger Games/Road Rules Challenge, and Early To Dead, Early To Rise: The Hunger Games Senior Citizens Extrav-old-ganza. The shows are deplored by critics but do OK in the DVD market.
- Unable to escape the smell of fresh roses even after days without bathing, Caesar Flickerman learns that he suffered a mild stroke somewhere around the 67th Hunger Games. This also explains all the unintentional smiling. Life resumes unaffected.
- Cato's ego proves too indomitable even for death when the hounds who ate him develop a hive mind whose only goal is to destroy Katniss, sniff each other's butts.
- Katniss' celebrity affords her a lucrative series of product tie-ins and endorsements, including her own Ben & Jerry's flavor, "The Swirl On Fire." Each carton is distinguished by a confection of red hots, chocolate syrup ripples, and a suspicious handfull of unwashed berries. In compensation Katniss receives a lifetime supply of Ben & Jerry's.
- Katniss gains, like, 30 pounds.
- Traitorous District 11 is demolished and replaced with the flagship outlet of Effie's Wig-O-Rama.
- Effie's Wig-O-Rama is demolished and replaced with the flagship outlet of Cinna's Buns, Panem's first aerobics studio/bakery.
- Cinna's Buns is demolished and replaced with a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell.
- The 75th Hunger Games happens.
- Suzanne Collins buys a yacht made of diamonds.
So, how close did we come to the actual plot? Dead-on, right? Anyone else see the movie before reading the books this weekend? Who do you think will take the gold in this year's Celebrity Obesity Games?