Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Starring...PTSD, Clowns and Daft Punk Troopers!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second installation to the Hunger Game Series that follows Katniss Everdeen [Jennifer Lawrence] and the aftermath of winning the 74th Hunger Games with her friend Peeta Mellark [Josh Hutcherson]. The movie is very emotional and draws you into the deeper part of the themes as you explore the cracking of the established world and the rise of the people.

Is this a phoenix reference or what??
I was impressed by the first one at how different the female lead was portrayed. She was the strong silent type that stood up to what was wrong with her world, but drew out her softer side only to those she cared about. It is rare to see such an enigmatic female lead be so powerfully portrayed as the lethal weapon and symbol of hope. However, I really enjoyed the second one's progression of her character as she goes through bouts of PTSD and is forced to soldier on in an attempt to survive in a world where the most evil of evils are the ones you can not see.

First Impressions:

Overall a fantastic movie, I was gripped ever since Katniss paid tribute to her fallen friend Rue that sparked an uprising in the square. The acting, scripting and story was considerably good. There were some things that didn't seem to make much sense, but we will get to that soon.


That black guy is the first normal looking guy in the film...
The story has everything to do with the biggest threat to any established class, hope against tyranny and the rise of the disenchanted poorer class. It is very much like the building of a wave ready to smash into the buildings of an old harbor city.

The beauty of the build up starts when Katniss and Peeta go on their Victory Tour where they accidentally spark an uprising in various districts. Even though they are told to smile like everything is grand, they both have a hard time faking their story and pretend like nothing was happening while innocent people are beaten and dragged in front of them. Another thing I like to point out is the excellent build of a deepening friendship between Katniss and Peeta as they are forced to convince the people of their love and protect each other in the arena. However that is the least of their problems, its the Capitol that wants their heads, or more precisely, Katniss's head to squash a potential revolution. Lots of people die in this movie and it makes the stakes all the more convincing for a desperate Katniss trying to hold it together.


This is her face about 45% of this movie....
Emotionally this film was very rich and had hit me at so many angles. I was deeply involved with Katniss's plight as she struggled through a crippling PTSD issue from the last Hunger Games and her issue with choosing Gale over Peeta [the least of her issues]. It seemed Gale was the simple, straight choice, however as time moved on, Peeta grew in importance as the friend she deeply needed. This theme seemed to be a side plot to the main issues at hand, but the dynamics were fascinating to watch.

The acting was overall superb from everyone. I would like to talk specifically about Jennifer Lawrence, however, who impressed me with her acting skills. I was thoroughly convinced on how traumatized she was when she kept losing people moments before important events. It was clear Snow was attempting to take everything and everyone important away from her so he could shake her confidence in hopes she would just want to die or slip up in her turmoil. One could tell regardless of her silent demeanor, she was mentally destroyed in every way possible in this movie. However I must say, she was supported by an excellent cast of very interesting characters that help her along the way.


I love you, but you are going to die soon. Oops, did I spoil it?
The movie was even paced if not on the slow building side [I like to refer to this as the climax building movie, so its filled with lots of twists and turns as our heroes fight to get to the real threat]. Considering how dark the streak of emotions were in this film, it was good that there were light moments of humor. They broke up the sections of the film quite nicely. Some people may disagree with me here, but I thought nothing was too rushed or too slow. Overall the pacing was just right.

The Ending:

Screw you Hollywood and your abrupt endings!
This was one of my biggest gripes and I know this is literally just like the book..but the ending is a major cliff hanger. Don't be surprised when it just "ends", leaving you with a wtf face. I think ending a movie like this and forcing us to wait a year is going to be a negative mark on this franchise.

Now, considering that they have this horrible new fad of splitting the last books into 2 parts, it is going to be much worse. We will not get to know what happens to Katniss until November of next year and finish up the year after. So that means we just got to read the books to find out how it ends. Something I was trying not to do because I know how I get when I read the book before the movie. Expect a very different kind of review for "Mocking Jay" next time.


With all films, there are always flaws. There were a few gripes I had during the movie...

1. Such as Katniss's quiver of arrows. The quiver looked like it could only hold a max of 8 arrows at a time. However she clearly shoots more than 8 in all of her scenes and seems to still have a good 3 left at the end. What the piss? I know she isn't hiding more on her belt. Also she shoots her bow and arrow way too quickly. I know she is a marksman, but still, it takes time to shoot an arrow accurately. Bows are not meant to be close combat weapons because of the amount of seconds it takes to reload, aim and fire with enough pounds of pressure to kill some one/some thing.

2. The first time Katniss shot an arrow at the sky, it was from the top of a tree. So it was believable that it could possibly *strike* the dome. The second time she shot an arrow into the sky, it was from the ground. There is no effing way the arrow could have reached the ceiling and caused dome destruction and a power outage. That seems like a really ridiculous flaw to overlook on the Capitol's part. And how did the game maker know to rush in with the medivac right then and there? How did they pick up Beetee in the process? It looked like they only ran away with Katniss.

3. Where the hell did genius get the wire? He just brought wire on this trip? that was his weapon of choice? He was carrying that wire this entire time?

4. So Peeta just gets a little shock from the force field and it causes his heart to stop. Katniss shoots an arrow and gets LIGHTENING STRUCK and she doesn't die? How is this possible?

5. What was going on with that ending again? Slightly anti-climatic to find out it was all in the plans even though there wasn't much of a hint about it.

Get ready for the mockingjay to break free...and split into two films. *Sigh*

DnD's Movie Rating: 9/1O

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