Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [Movie Review]

I avoided seeing this movie in theaters for one major reason. I saw the first The Hunger Games in theaters, and the cinematography gave me a headache. No, I'm not being facetious. The cinematography in The Hunger Games might have been some of the worst, if not the worst, cinematography I've ever seen in a A-list movie.

There are so many jokes right here, I can't chose just one.
There were some plot problems in The Hunger Games as well. I'm still not certain what those holographic demon-dog/apes were all about. I even looked them up in the wikia for the story, and found that they were called Wolf Mutts... not the most imaginative name ever. The wiki only explained some things, mainly that the movie was a lot different from the books... in other words it filled in a major gap the movie ignored. Hey, Hollywood, not all of us read Y.A. novels, we need the details to make sense of your movies!

Anyways, this is not a review of the first film. It is supposed to be a review of the second movie, Catching Fire.   

Now that is a bad-ass dress.

I'm somewhat torn doing this review.
I did not experience it on the big-screen, well nothing bigger than my 42" TV. So I can't fully say the cinematography was better... but it felt loads better. The spastic camera work of the prior film was gone.
3.5 out of 5 stars
I can't tell if I'm being generous or stingy with that rating, so I must be close to the mark. I mean the story is not all that bad. There are elements that are rather intriguing, while at the same time there are a few things that just make you shake your head. Again, this may come from a book to movie translation failure, but who knows. I mean President Snow is so over the top evil, you just goggle at his audacity. It does make you wander what the actual governing system is. I'm hazarding a guess at a oligarchy where only the Capitol votes, but have no real idea.

Of course I just marvel at how the idea of sacrificing people as tribute actually maintains any semblance of order. Yes, they talk about how District 13 was destroyed in a rebellion against the government 75 years ago... but in all that time there have been no further rebellions, none? With the conditions the people live in? I'll give that the technological divide may have some force in play there... but at some point low tech mobs can overrun high tech squads. Then again, I may just be putting too much thought into this whole thing. I can't help it. Questions about world building rise up in me like bubble in champagne, I can't help but ask them.

I noted a few small continuity errors in Catching fire, but nothing too huge. Empty quiver to full, and small things like that. No worse really than Luke constantly switching his blue milk from hand to hand. No what really bothered me was the super sudden ending. It almost felt like we were reaching a denouement when Boom! End credits roll. The movie needed just a little more something on the end to smooth out the exit. Maybe a flyover of District 13, where they were headed, a reaction from President Snow... something, something was needed at the end to smooth the exit. It was too fast and too jarring.

One thing does make me sad. The final two parts of The Hunger Games are Philip Seymour Hoffman's final roles. While I'm glad his role will not be pulling a Dumbledore, it is too bad that he is gone. I've always rather liked his acting. He was a damn good actor.

So, I may actually go an see Mockingjay (part 1) in theaters. This movie redeemed the first one enough, that I'll give the franchise another go in the theaters. However I am wary of movies that involve Thor's younger brother, and I'm not talking about Loki... so if part 1 does not thrill me, it will be doubtful that I will see part 2 in theaters.

Crazy Lady, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci... what an assortment.
Also, I've been really nice and not refereed once, until now, to Katniss and Peeta's celebrity couple names: Katpee and/or Peeniss. Celebrity couple names, bringing shame on everyone all the time...

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