The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Based on the novel by Golding, this adaptation takes on a very direct approach to the original work of a group of English school boys marooned with no adults on an island in the pacific and how they revert to savagery in the face of their social mores.
The Conchs is found on the beach by Ralph and Piggy early on. Piggy, instigates the necessity of using the shell when he reflects that he knew someone back home that used one to get their children home, by blowing into it. This representation of the shell as a horn elevates it the level of a trumpeting courtier announcing the presence of the King along with a call to arms which in this case is a call to assemble.
Once the boys see the Conchs it becomes a symbol of the civil ideology that they left behind in merry Old English. It takes on the supreme responsibility of representing Law and Order, civility, duty, responsibility and the many other items that the boys were really just starting to learn about in School.
At first the Conchs serves it purpose of rallying the troops, but soon the stronger wills and lesser minds collide into a cacophony of bestial self survival.
At one point Ralph says, "I am the leader. I have the Conchs". Jack, dressed in his war makeup, with all the air and superiority of a King, replies, "You don't have it here. Besides, it doesn't work on this end of the island." Ralph restates the facts of Law and Order and says, "The Conchs works, here and everywhere on the island." To no end as most of the boys now join Jack.
In the end the Conchs is destroyed into a million pieces by Roger (the sinister representation of carnal depth) when he drops a boulder on Piggy and the shell, whom both are washed away in the waves.
Piggy rambling about something
Of all the characters in the work, Piggy is the most enigmatic. For he is a contradiction of sorts. For one, he is the most socially engaged of the group which is made clear immediately when he presses Ralph about who survived and when the conchs is used for the first time about making sure to get everyone's name. He also talks about writing letters to his Auntie and about participating in grown up ideas. "Grown ups would sit down, have a spot of tea and discuss."
Yet at the same time he also has so many natural imperfections that he doesn't fit at all with in the boundaries of the boys and the changing world at large. From his looks to voice, right down to his syntax, which is far from grammatically correct, especially for a well manner English gentleman.
Piggy is left with the responsibility or representing the dignity of the social contract. The very reason of how and why we maintain it: perfection in that form of creation that is made imperfectly. He is even given the the most valuable of gifts: the gift of sight. For him, and his imperfection that vision comes at a cost: the glasses. His vision is stolen at first for the good of the group and then eventually for lesser more nefarious reasons.
What becomes of Piggy is what becomes of all those nails that stand up against the tyrannical nature of man. Once blinded he only wishes for things to be put right again, but without his farsighted gift, Piggy is left in a hole that can easily be covered by lesser more ambitious people.