Movie Review: Catching Fire

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Apologies for the delay, but I’m finally recovering after suffering a cold for the past couple days. But I’m back and ready to share my thoughts on November’s biggest film!

I may anger a lot of fans by beginning my post this way, but here it goes: I know that The Hunger Games gets compared to Twilight simply for being blockbuster series with teenage love triangles, but a part of me now understands the comparison.

Point taken, but I still went there!

Hear me out!

The similarity has mostly to do with my opinion of each story’s ending rather than anything serious, like female autonomy and benevolent sexism. It’s just that at this stage in my life, I’m watching these movies just to go through the motions because I’m dreading how it all will conclude.

Those who have been reading Book Club Babe know how much I despised Mockingjay, so it makes sense that I was only moderately excited about seeing “Catching Fire.” (If you want to see me ecstatic, join me at the “The Desolation of Smaug” premiere!)

One more week until the gratuitous inclusion of Legolas! #SorryNotSorry

But just like “Breaking Dawn” was so horrendous that I haven’t even gotten around to finishing the final film, I’m feeling lukewarm about this dystopia. To me, the genre needs a well-deserved break because this bandwagon feels two years old.

(Speaking of outdated, here’s another inflammatory opinion: “Divergent” sounds like a cheap knockoff riding the dystopian wave, and watching the trailer before “Catching Fire” only reinforced my belief that I’m so ready for something new).

That being said, I’m not here to judge a movie based on its inevitable sequel. I actually have little negative to say about “Catching Fire,” like so many other viewers.

All the actors in the film did a great job, from Jennifer Lawrence suffering nightmares as Katniss to Stanley Tucci as the sickeningly sycophantic Caesar Flickerman. I was simultaneously admiring and scorning the Capitol’s display of weath, with their flamboyant costumes and ostentatious parties.

In fact, it was interesting to watch this movie with both my parents this time, since my dad and I are the only ones in my immediate family who have read the book. My mom hadn’t even seen “The Hunger Games,” so all she knew was the quick explanation we gave her on the way to the theater.

Ever filled with kindness, my mom found it difficult to stomach the story, and I don’t blame her. The unnecessary violence and disparity in socioeconomic power is disgusting and infuriating. I can only hope that people desire the same change in our own society as they want for Panem.

They didn’t call it “panem et circenses” for nothing!

All in all, watching “Catching Fire” was timely during Thanksgiving, reminding me to grateful for all that I have. And even though this whole splitting the finale into two films is another trend that won’t die, I’m just thankful that such a disappointing ending will be recreated by an amazing cast and crew.

Now move over dystopias, and make way for the hobbits!

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (film)

Image via Wikipedia

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Yes, I’m a bit shocked myself to be writing that high of a rating, but I was pleasantly surprised with this adaptation. After waiting in a relatively long line for a 10:30 a.m. showing, my dad and I watched the much-anticipated “The Hunger Games.” Clocking in at almost 2.5 hours, it certainly didn’t feel that long, since I was enthralled every second.

The cast did brilliantly, not overdoing their acting, but not behaving like robots either. Sure, Jennifer Lawrence has been criticized for her feminine curves, and while I was concerned when learning of the cast that their looks wouldn’t be realistic, I understand that it’s unethical to actually starve actors for their roles. Plus, don’t people realize she’s been nominated for an Oscar for “Winter’s Bone?” She does a great job as Katniss, and just because she’s got boobs and a butt doesn’t mean she’s too sexy for the role. So, I’d like to tell The New York Times to politely shut their face.

As for the setting, Panem looked fantastic. I loved the contrast between the ultra-modern Capitol and the rural districts. Those who haven’t read the books might find the flamboyant Capitol citizens a bit cheesy in their crazy outfits and makeup, but I’d also like to tell them to politely shut their faces. The movie was not made for you.

While the first scenes were great, from the heartbreaking Reaping to the tributes’ training, we all waited in suspense for the Games to begin. I found it very meta that we were just as excited as the Capitol to watch these kids kill each other. We are part of the problem, and Suzanne Collins is making an excellent point that our society is disturbingly obsessed with violence. Our reality TV culture has made us the least common denominator, and that need for voyeurism made me uncomfortable.

That being said, I still feel that the actual gore was diluted down too much, especially with Cato’s death. I kept thinking to myself as I read the scene, How are they going to show a boy get reduced to a skinless, meaty pulp? Well, they didn’t, of course. Should they have? I can understand that the producers did not want to lose most of their demographic with an “R” rating, but I feel pretty jipped as an adult. If I made the decisions, there would be two DVD versions–the theatrical version and an adult-only one that maintains the book’s level of brutality.

Overall, I was very pleased with the film, and I recommend it to any fan of the series. Perhaps if the filmmakers keep this up, I won’t be as upset watching “Mockingjay” as I was reading it. Well, one can hope, right? And as President Snow said, “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear.”