Qstorm reviews The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
December 1, 2013 \ Movies \ 0 Comments
I hadn't intended on seeing this film. I was one of the few who didn't like the first film, partly based on the fact that I found the mining of entertainment in the murder of children and teens to be reprehensible. But after having heard so much word of mouth about how good this film was, even from those who, like me, didn't enjoy the first one, I decided to see it. The most compelling tidbit I kept hearing was the fact that this film was this generation's Empire Strikes Back. Well, if that's so, I pity this generation.
Let me provide one other bit of set up: I remember vividly back in 1991, going to see Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This was subsequent to seeing the original Terminator, which was a head buster. While I learned to appreciate T2 (though even that groundbreaking film looks dated today), I was sorely disappointed initially because the movie was basically the exact same story as the previous film. Such is the case here. The trailers for Catching Fire speak of rebellions, uprisings, and revolutions. Yet, all I saw was a retread of the previous film…which as I mentioned, I didn't care for. If anything, rather than being similar to The Empire Strikes Back, one of my all time favorite films (http://qstorm.com/lightningstrikes/toptenmovies_8/), this movie is more similar to The Matrix: Reloaded in how it concludes on a cliffhanger as well as my dislike of it.
Granted, there are some elements in this movie that are done well. As compared to the first film, I liked the varied age range of the tributes in this installment, and I also felt like the tributes were more realized and developed here. Jennifer Lawrence proves herself to be worthy of the Sigourney "Ripley" Weaver Action Heroine award. I love what she does with this role. I liked seeing the sympathy from Elizabeth Bank's Effie. Conversely, I don't understand why Lenny Kravitz was given virtually nothing to do other than be beaten to a pulp. I also don't understand why Philip Seymour Hoffman was allowed to wear clothing out of his own closet as compared to the rest of the cast.
But I really can't get past the fact that I didn't see anything new in terms of story or setup. Maybe another reason I can't get into these films is that the central concept doesn't make sense to me. What I derive is that the Capitol wants to keep its starving citizens in the surrounding districts complacent and docile by parading its two newest victors of the games throughout the twelve districts. In today's world where Facebook, Twitter, XBox and a myriad of additional distractions keep so many of us (basically the target audience for this movie) from focusing on our society's issues, this concept is admittedly very timely. But as executed here, it makes no sense. It is suggested that in the first film, the defiance of Katniss and Peeta by nearly eating toxic berries out of a pretense of intimate love for each other, rather than fighting to the death, could inspire rebellion throughout the districts. Also, Katniss and Peeta have to maintain the illusion of being lovers. My question is, why? Aren't the games themselves, where 23 children are murdered annually, combined with starvation and oppression--wouldn't that be a sufficient catalyst to cause a rebellion? Why do Peeta and Katniss have to continue pretending to be in love? Their love is the difference between status quo and anarchy? Unless someone can explain this to me, I contend that it makes no sense at all and thus, the central concept of the movie is lost on me.
I will say that this film offered more than the first in my opinion. Perhaps had this film been released as the first in the trilogy, I would've gone into this with no expectations and would've been more entertained. I understand I'm probably in the minority here, but as far as the Hunger Games goes, I wish I hadn't gone back for seconds. 2.5/5 reels