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Evil Movie Reviews: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

When I first read the Hunger Games trilogy last year I was totally hooked, inhaling all three books in one week. Luckily I completed the 3 prior to the first movie, so I was able to really critically assess the original Hunger Games movie. All in all, I thought they did a decent job, though there were parts that were even more horrifying in the books, like the fact that the dogs in the book had the eyes of all the dead tributes thus far. And I have been eagerly awaiting Catching Fire’s releast this month ever since. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. If you are a sad soul who has not yet read the books nor seen the first movie, beware, spoilers to follow in this glowing review.

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I feel like the book had so much to offer, was full of so many important parts, that it would be hard to fit all of them in the film. But I was pleasantly surprised that they made an effort doing so, leaving out just some minor events here and there. Reminiscent of the first movie, Catching Fire starts out with Katniss  in her element, exploring the woods, bow and arrows in hand, hunting some game. But now as she skillfully raises her bow against her quarry she sees images of the dead kids she has already killed in the last year’s Hunger Games. And poor Peeta has realized his brief love affair with Katniss was all a ruse for the cameras, yet is stuck living across the lane from her family in their newly inhabited Victor’s Village, with none other than Haymitch as their only hopelessly alcoholic neighbor.

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This first part of the story to me was about failed promises and the Victory Tour: Katniss promises the vile President Snow she will try to make the 12 districts believe that her attempt to eat the berries was only for her undying love for Peeta, and not some act of defiance against the Capitol. Snow promises to keep her loved ones, and her, safe in return. It was neat seeing Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss act these parts- in the book you only here the internal mind of Katniss making every attempt to look believable, but I would bet what things really looked like was like what Lawrence did on screen, sadly making smiles seem fake and forced, cause they were.

I have to admit, the love triangle here between Peeta, Gayle, and Katniss might have bothered some, but I particularly was rooting for Peeta all through the books and movies. Even though Twilight and Vampire Diaries are all about the love story they entail, I ended up liking the other more action based parts of those stories. The opposite for me is true with Hunger Games: the action, violence, brutality, and political message are the center of the stories, but I just adored Katniss and Peeta’s blooming relationship. I recently read another review on this movie and figured out why: Katniss and Peeta play very reverse roles from the traditional boy-girl relationship, and I like that.

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And while the movie could not afford to show as many details as were described in the books, the victory tour ending at the President’s mansion was rather well done. Comparing the poor and starving commoners of the districts to the rich, prosperous, and gluttinous individuals of the Capitol was well portrayed when Peeta complains and being too stuffed to eat anymore and they offer him a purple drink explaining it is a quick fix to his feeling stuffed, as it will make him puke so that he has room in his stomach to taste more food.

The next part of the movie deals with oppression. Snow realizes the districts are getting more and more rebellious, and he decides to put them in their place, invoking martial law to abuse, torture, and assassinate the commoners. This scene in the movie seems a little ridiculous, that they would send in officers to start killing anyone breaking the law, but I guess they were desperate. And of course Katniss if responsible for the whole thing blowing up in their face, making Snow so angry he thinks up the perfect way to kill Katniss: enroll her in another Hunger Games.

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Once Katniss and Peeta have their fate things get fun, just like in the books. The duo are yet again accompanied by Haymitch to travel to the Capitol and prepare for another blood bath. And just like in the first movie, I love the chariot scene. You always wonder what the costumes will look like since they were so popular in the books, but they did a nice job CGI-ing it with the outfits that were on fire. This part of the film also deals with defiance, as Peeta and Katniss join forces with many of the other retired victors in an alliance against the “real enemy”, the government that oppresses them.

The arena part in the movie was splendidly well done, pretty much looking exactly like we expected it based on the book’s account. And the horrors are pretty terrifying, from tsunami waves to screaming jabberjays, poisonous fog and man-eating mandrills. The horrors of the new arena are meant to psychologically and physically destroy you. I can’t even think of how much the movie must have spent making these scenes, they were so colorful and horrifying at the same time.

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Now throughout the movie there were hints that something was up, something about Haymitch and some of he others where you could tell that they were keeping something from Katniss. Of course if you read the books you would know what that was, but if you hadn’t read the book you might have been confused. You see, they form an alliance and while Katniss seems to be the only one worried about what to do when the other team of tributes is annihilated, her teammates seem to be most worried about keeping Katniss and Peeta alive. But eventually Katniss figures it out, in the last moment, that Beetee was dropping hints about the forcefield, and had been trying to break it. Katniss is able to complete his goal, and blows up the entire arena, only to be rescued by a new group of rebels when poor Peeta is left behind.

And of course we end on a cliffhanger: district 12 has been nuked, Peeta is in the hands of the enemy, and Katniss just lays there crying about it. I think that last scene was the only part of the movie I disliked, but it definitely leaves us with lots to look forward to in the last movie.

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Posted on November 28, 2013, in Evil Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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