I just got back from seeing The Mockingjay Part 1, and that movie hit a nerve. With all of the protests and riots going on now, the movie was a reminder of all that was going on in the real world. It felt more like propaganda than a nice, easy escape from the harsh realities of the world. It’s not the movie’s fault that it’s right on time.
This movie gave me the same impact that the first movie did, even more-so than the second movie. This movie brought a real-life touch to a fiction story.
I also saw the Insurgent trailer, the sequel to the Divergent movie. I saw a BA character, with a short boy-cut, leaping fearlessly over buildings. It reminded me why I loved Tris Prior so much.
Seeing the two leading lady heroines pack a punch on the same screen I was watching, I was inspired to create this article, just out of curiosity. There are probably other articles out there like this, and they’re probably irritating. I mean, it is irritating when two books with similar genres are compared. It can create all kinds of fan wars. Still, it doesn’t end my curiosity on the subject matter.
I honestly want to know what the people think. Who is your favorite female heroine?
Hunger Games was the movie that started it all. Hunger Games was a movie that made us pay attention to harsh realities such as poverty and hunger. We paid attention to a government system that cared nothing about it’s citizens. We saw the inhumanity as children slaughtered one another in an arena that served as entertainment for the elite. It was not a pretty sight, and I guarantee you, I came out of the theater stunned out of my mind. I didn’t expect the movie to be that…good. I mean, it was directed to teens with a young female heroine. At the time, that was considered the set up for a horrible movie. But it exceeded all expectations. It made me think, it gave me something I didn’t expect, and it portrayed females as powerful creatures, people that even men can respect. This movie started a trend of “female-empowerment”. Without this movie, I doubt there would’ve been Divergent.
We see this reflected in the movie’s main character, Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is just…normal. She’s dry, drab in appearance, she’s a normal girl, and she has weaknesses. She becomes a symbol for freedom by chance. She never wanted to be a rebel or a hero. In the first place, she just wanted to protect her sister and save her own skin. She never had any special combat training beyond learning how to wield a bow and arrow. But this normal girl becomes a rebel. She becomes a heroine for a marginalized group of people. She becomes a symbol of hope and freedom for those who have felt powerless. Using her brains and courage, she found loop-holes in the “system” and captured the hearts of her viewers simply for her own survival. We respected Katniss for being clever and strong during trials.
Again, she isn’t perfect. She never was really that brave, and the most irritating quality is her indecision when it comes to love interests…But we can set that aside, because Katniss makes us feel and understand her. Her life has been traumatizing and we see her react in a strangely human way. She makes the fiction story believable. She isn’t invincible. She’s human, but that’s why people relate to her.
Divergent, on the other hand, starts off with Tris Prior glamorizing the violent, but freedom-loving group, the Dauntless, and thus forming our opinion of Tris early on: She is tough and is ready to fight. Unlike Katniss, she dreams of being free, of armoring up, and trying daring things. She’s not fond of Abnegation, a selfless, compassionate organization. I’ll bet my scarf and mittens Katniss Everdeen would’ve chosen Abnegation if she could magically appear in the story of Divergent. She’s righteous like that. I didn’t feel that same sense with Tris. Tris was irritated with having nothing and being “forced” to care about others…
Divergent brought in a revolution from the beginning, and so we have a movie that moves fast. Tris has a tougher, more combatant personality. She doesn’t flinch when she is shot at. Unlike Katniss, she’s a little more decisive when it comes to love, and hardly shows fear or weakness. She seems like a hero, but she is missing the human feelings that make Katniss feel more realistic. Tris is a little more invincible. She carried herself like a powerful heroine from the beginning. We expected her to be a rebel. She also has more sexual fantasies than Katniss…or rather, fears of being raped…Which ultimately breaks her away from her male audience. Katniss’s movie stays away from the deeper sides of love-making, and Katniss can barely decipher what her feelings even mean.
Katniss’s movie allows men to relate to her. Even in the movie, we see men and boys looking up to the “Mockingjay” as a symbol of hope, not just little girls and women, which would be the usual. In fact, when we see Katniss, we don’t even care she’s a female. She’s just doing what she has to do. Divergent is still early on, but we don’t really feel that those around her will look up to her. If anything, she’s a secret identity, a lone wolf. She may make an impression on her male audience because she wields a gun, but she seems to be a stronger feminist presence that could intimidate males rather than relate to them. The pace of the movie also doesn’t help us strongly connect with Tris…But the books may shed more light on her.
Despite how dystopic Hunger Games is in it’s own world of fiction, clear blurred lines between gender and race make this movie fit into what humans would feel is ideal. Divergent, while having a diverse cast, fails to deliver the same importance to all of it’s characters, even it’s minor characters, enough to make everyone feel quite as included. The nature of the Divergent story focuses on a select few, whereas Hunger Games focuses on mass waves of people in many districts. With Hunger Games, the possibilities are endless, the character count continues to expand, and the chance for many different ethnic groups and genders to shine is open. The main protagonist then becomes a symbol for all of humanity-a universal character.
Still, Tris is the goonest of the two. Tris is less likely to hesitate in a shoot-out.
The whole Divergent movie manages to bring in realistic elements while still holding on to elements that make it feel like fiction. Tris has that feeling. They are trying to convince us that she’s normal, but something about her feels superhuman. She feels like a girl that can do whatever she wants, despite how “normal” she appears. She’s almost like Neo from The Matrix. She has that feeling. Divergent individuals in the movie have that feeling. This is all tripped out, and would be scary if it were real, but when we leave Divergent, we can safely brush it off as fiction.
Hunger Games lost all of it’s fiction feelings with Mockingjay, almost mirroring the real world with the rioting, protests, and execution by a firing squad. Even fire bomb scenes nearly mirrored the Holocaust. Katniss doesn’t seem like a “god-like” character that can save the world. She and her people are as defenseless as Colonists were during the American Revolution against the British military, the strongest military in the world at the time. Throughout her movie, we are just as afraid that she’s going to die as we are afraid for other characters. We are not afraid for Tris because they executed her and her movie in a way that convinces us she’s going to be victorious.
The girls’ strengths make up for the others’ weaknesses. This is why it’s so interesting to get everyone’s take on the two female heroines.
Is it Katniss Everdeen that inspires you?
Is it Tris Prior that inspires you?
Don’t be shy. Please, share your opinions. And I won’t get butt-burned just because you don’t like my favorite female heroine. Express your fullest opinions on why, even if you don’t have a good reason. I’m just curious. 🙂