The Official Blog of Author Tristan Vick
Here are some random thoughts I've had on The Hunger Games (films) vs. Divergent (films) -- I can't compare the books because I've only read The Hunger Games books and not the Divergent series. Oh, and there will be spoilers.
So if you haven't seen the films or read the books, maybe you don't want to read this. But if you don't mind spoilers, feel free to read on.
As for the film versions, I enjoyed the high futurism of Divergent. But the production design of The Hunger Games is, in my mind, more memorable.
I found Divergent's concept of forced segregation via a coming of age ceremony similar to THGs lottery (but maybe the lottery being more similar to Battle Royale's lotter). I found both Katniss and Tris to be similar strong women characters. I found both societies treated very similarly in terms of the decay of human morality and these women being thrust into unwilling savior roles which they only later reluctantly accept.
I found both societies to be obstinately obsessed with "their ways" in a way where ultra-conservativism and theocracy blend to form a perfect matrimony of unrivaled oligarchies that only want to exert power and control through domination and that is the end goal to obtain before always collapsing back into the same chaos as before due to absolute power corrupting absolutely.
Divergent left off with a happier ending -- more upbeat -- optimistic where Tris is bringing the people together to fight a bigger threat of the outside world. Interestingly, the movie (I don't know about the books) ends in medias res. As if there's going to be more story involving these characters beyond just this moment in their lives.
The Hunger Games covers a bit longer period in Katniss's life and journey from survivor to hero. THG's ending is different from Divergent's in that she leaves it up to the cities to figure things out in the aftermath of her toppling the regimes, whereas Tris seems to be one to continue leading her people.
The Divergent films are always moving. The characters are going here to there and back again. There's always a sense of something is happening. THGs only felt really alive when it was focused on the games themselves. The outside world conflict was rather mundane, and banal, and there was a lot of sitting around and talking and complaining and Katniss never seemed to have her shit together like Tris.
That said, Katniss is the more likable heroine because she is vulnerable and doesn't become a comic-book version of herself. She stays more realistic, and in-tune to the world around her, vs. Tris who becomes this larger than life avenging angel so to speak.
Both film series were enjoyable. Tris found her love right away with Four and Katniss never knew if she liked Peter or Gale more. This gave the films a different appeal in terms of the underlying romances unfolding.
Last, but not least, I have to say that the hand to hand fight scenes in Divergent are some of the best I've seen outside of Kung-fu cinema. Batman needs to take lessons from Four. Seriously amazing choreography here.
Some Steampunk Logo Design
My brother is a photographer, and he's currently making a Steampunk photo-book. He does elaborate costume design, props, sets, and location based photoshoots with real models and actors, then he photo manipulates the final product to put in things like flying airships and special effects and what not.
He's done this sort of project before with the Mozart Operas, which he made into a luxurious photobook that you can purchase online (click here).
At any rate, he asked me to do some concept logos for him. He may or may not use them, but I came up with a variety of designs and styles which I thought worth sharing here.
Please keep in mind that I am by no means a professional graphic designer. I write books. I've only learned how to do minor design in the last five years due to the necessity of learning the self-publishing industry. But I've grown to like it as a hobby.
The name of the project is "A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters." It basically will be half photo book and half written narrative done up in a fancy late 18th early 19 century style newspaper articles talking about monster hunters (basically monster stories) set around the globe in a steampunk world.
As such, the designs relate to the various combinations of cultures and time periods, such as Western-Steampunk, Oriental-Steampunk, and so on.
I hope you enjoy!
Supergirl Moves to the CW
I think Supergirl moving to the CW is a great move. I've loved the series since it began, and personally feel it's every bit as good as the CW's Flash series, if not better.
The move to the CW is smart for several reasons. Of the CW superhero shows it joins, Supergirl has the strongest character storytelling. The entire supporting cast is well developed, unlike, say The Flash, or Arrow, which only seems to focus on key players and then keeps the supporting characters on the fringe, only using them when need be.
This habit of underdeveloped characters often forces the writers to write themselves into corners and then only by the grace of God, so to speak, by pulling out a deus ex machina get back out.
Although it seems to work in comic book stories, to a degree, since the audience already suspends their disbelief. But I was surprised as how much The Flash and the Arrow do this. It's way too much. The biggest example would be in season two of The Flash where the big reveal of who the man in the mask really was is one of the biggest deus ex machina's you're likely to ever see on television..
Instead of using it as a tool to throw off the viewer's expectations, they rely on it more as a crutch to counter what is genuinely cases of bad storytelling and poor plotting. Case in point, do you think they really had a plan on using that big character reveal beyond the shock value of it? Obviously not, since, (spoiler alert) at the end of season two The Flash goes back in time and saves his mother, thus erasing the timeline.
So the character reveal has no impact on the story line, and again its a case of an underdeveloped character, or more accurately, introducing a character as a deus ex machina just for the fan service, but then taking it right back. But I get it, writing a weekly show isn't easy, and writing ones self into a corner is bound to happen.
Which is why the whole man in the mask things was fun, but ultimately anti-climactic as it served absolutely no purpose in the overall story, which it seemed they might have been going for originally because they were building up to such a massive reveal. The amount of foreshadowing they had done with the character suggested we had a game changing character, and it might have been, if they didn't go and erase that character from the timeline in the very next instance.
Being The Flash though, they could potentially bring that character back. But then what purpose would he serve since it would be an alternate timeline? New stories present themselves, but the story they were going for never materialized into anything meaningful, which is the biggest problem I have with The Flash, as entertaining as it is.
This bodes well for Suergirl, because it means it will stand out in terms of storytelling as well as character development. Supergirl's use of deus ex machina's playout within the confines of her narrative and don't supersede it like the man in the mask example on season two of The Flash. This means they are minor and therefore more forgivable, and they don't detract or distract from the overarching story line.
Also, the CW superhero shows will benefit great from having to incorporate the Supergirl universe. The Supergirl villains are alien based, rather than meta-human based, minus a few exceptions (Livewire, Black Banshee for example), which will bring a new dynamic to the CW superhero universe once the big crossover happens mid-year and the DC universes hybridize. (They already laid the groundwork to this with the Flash / Supergirl crossover episode).
Another thing that will set the show apart is that it was a much bigger production over at CBS. While the show will take a pay cut from about 1 million per episode to about 300K-500K per episode, the sets and costumes and CGI models were already made. Meaning Supergirl's world is already well established and so the show can hit the ground running over at the CW. I doubt the budget cuts will even be all that noticeable. If anything, they'll only effect the amount of CGI you see per episode, but not the quality, luckily for us fans of the show.
I am really looking forward to Supergirl joining the CW and expanding the DC television universe. It seems to be doing things right, unlike the cinematic universe which is a sloppy mess right now.
Any Supergirl fans out there? What are your thoughts on the series move to the CW?
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.