There were a lot of things that irritated me about the Twilight movies. In fact, there weren't many things which didn't irritate me about them. However, topping the list, even above Kristen Stewart's one facial expression, was the "Team" phenomenon.
I don't know how it began. One moment I was quite happily reminding myself that movies never live up to the books, and then Taylor Lautner took his T-Shirt off in New Moon and the horror began. Don't get me wrong, my breath caught along with everyone else's in the cinema when he revealed his ridiculously ripped torso, but get a grip! Suddenly, the question on every Twi-hard's lips was "Team Edward or Team Jacob?"
Damn that was irritating. Because where was Team Bella in all this? What happened to supporting the female protagonist? In part, I know the question is flawed. Bella was okay, but she wasn't someone you could really get behind and cheer for. At least in my opinion she wasn't. You know the one person who never managed to piss me off over the course of the four books? Bella's dad, Charlie. In both the books and the movie adaptations, Charlie was cool. Where the hell was Team Charlie?!
The team thing moved onto another vampire series, True Blood. Team Eric or Team Bill? And once again, no mention of a Team Sookie! Now Anna Paquin's accent (face, teeth and annoyingly perfect body) irritates me in the TV series, which I gave up on at the start of the current season. But in the books, Sookie was kind of cool. There was more to get behind than there was in Bella. She could be irksome at times, but characters should be flawed.
Then the "Team" epidemic moved on to every book, movie and show with a love triangle.
It occured to me this morning that soon, cries of "Teem Peeta or Team Gale?!" will echo around cinema lobbies everywhere. And if it annoyed me that there was never a Team Bella, or Team Sookie, then it's is going to really piss me off if there isn't a Team Katniss.
Already, the trailers are worrying. Jennifer Lawrence, the actress cast as Katniss has had her natural beauty humbled somewhat for the role, and this I like. But in every trailer and movie still I've seen, her expression is the same. Could she be another Kirsten Stewart? In Twilight, Bella was emotional. She had a habit of crying whenever she was angry and she got angry frequently. But Kirsten Stewart played her (I'm going to imagine it was a conscious decision...) as an emotionally closed girl who couldn't express anything but bored confusion. And worse than that... in both book and film, Bella struggles to feel whole without her man. Tut.
Katniss is a closed book. We have insight into her character in the book, but we know that she wears a mask to hide behind in her cold dystopia. Jennifer Lawrence is likely to be tarred with the same brush of "can't act" if she doesn't have more life behind her eyes than Stewart... or the shark in Jaws.
The Hunger Games trilogy kept its romantic element as a sub-plot. It was interesting, but it was never the be-all and end-all of the books. The books were about Katniss. It was about her survival, her sacrifice, her kick-ass awesomeness.
If Lawrence is wooden, then the Peeta/Gale debate is going to become the central conflict of the movies. I can see it already. I'm sure they've deliberately cast a better-looking actor as Gale just to add fuel to the fire of the debate. Or am I the only one of this opinion?
It would be so sad if The Hunger Games went the way of Twilight. If a story of such dark intensity got lost behind a sappy should-be-sub-plot about Katniss having to choose between two handsome fellas.
Consider this post a plea to the masses. When someone asks you if you're Team Peeta or Team Gale, then only two answers are acceptable.
1. You politely smile and tell them that you are "Team Katniss", because the story is about her strength, not her potential boyfriend.
2. You politely smile, shake your head, and tell them, "I'm not a team player..."