I’ve never read The Hunger Games, but what I was told prior to entering my showing was that Peeta is a nice foil for Katniss. Her archery skills, determination to survive and wilderness training are counterbalanced by Peeta’s superior intelligence, clever strategy and unyielding devotion. In that partnership, balance is supposedly struck in which both benefit greatly from the altered perspective.
That very well could be true in the books, but in The Hunger Games I saw, there’s no balance whatsoever. Katniss is a compassionate and brilliant player while her supposed “boyfriend” is one hundred and seventy pounds of dead weight. Peeta is quite possibly the most pathetic and worthless character that shows up in the entire movie. His only true positives seem to be camouflaging himself and desperately trying to be the “good guy”, though it could be seriously argued that second one isn’t even true.
Peeta likes to act like he’s willing to sacrifice himself for Katniss, but his efforts to protect her while she’s in the tree essentially amount to him saying, “Gee guys, let’s wait until she starves to death.” If he were planning to lull his opponents to sleep before slaughtering two or three of them, I’d call this plan brave. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do a damn thing. He just sits there, actually waiting for her to starve like everyone else. Sure, he might be willing to die later when only he and Katniss are left, but suiciding yourself for her doesn’t take an iota of the balls it does to fight for her. If he’d slaughtered five people, risked life and limb and then said, “I’d rather you go home”, his moment would be touching. Instead, it’s feeble and inadequate.
Ultimately, Peeta is able to survive the Hunger Games because viewers sympathize with young love. The storyline is thrown in the world’s lap thanks to his interview with Caesar. If he were simply faking to potentially boost his and Katniss’ chances for survival, I’d pat him on the back for playing the game well, but he actually does have a schoolboy crush on Katniss. Since he has no way of knowing producers will amend the rules, it’s unclear what his real motivation was. If he wanted to pull a fast one, why didn’t he give Katniss or Cinna a heads up? I prefer to think he was trying to manipulate his way into a kiss, which is far less impressive than actually making a move.
Throughout the week, I’ve heard numerous people arguing over whether Peeta or Gale is the better man for Katniss. I’m dumbfounded as to how this is even a question. Apart from the fact that he looks like a Greek god, Gale actually has a healthy fight in him. He’s able to push back at Katniss and bring real balance. He is actually a partner in her life. Peeta is simply a glorified shoulder who trips over himself to please Katniss. You know how in action movies there’s two types of women? There are ladies that actually scrap and claw to help, and there are ladies that are simply baggage to get in the way of the hero’s efforts. For the purposes of The Hunger Games, Gale is that first type, and Peeta is most especially that second type.
Am I the only one that hates Peeta? I can’t imagine I am. His shortcomings are glaring, and his high points are almost nonexistent. I absolutely despise him, and as a true heroine, Katniss deserves a hell of a lot better. She deserves Gale.
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