Sunday, November 24, 2013

Movie Review—The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Sometimes, things that are wildly popular are actually pretty good. I went into The Hunger Games a few years ago not expecting much—not expecting anything but a tame PG-13 sanitized version of a similar movie, Battle Royale. What I got was much more than that—the central concept of Battle Royale—"Put a bunch of kids out in the wild and then film them killing each other," is obviously a key point of inspiration for The Hunger Games... but that's not all The Hunger Games is about. The competition is about 1/2 of the movie—with the setup being just as important to the evolving mythos of the world. In Catching Fire, that mythos expands, and whereas the first part was a pretty self-contained movie, this one is anything but. It's an over two-hour-long preamble for the REAL movie that's yet to come—an epic saga of revolution against an overwhelming government. And I'm really looking forward to seeing that movie. Quite a lot.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has great actors, a compelling script, some impressive special effects, and all the rest that makes a great movie, but as entertaining as it is... it really isn't a full movie. It's the first act of a three act arc, and if the next two movies fall flat, then all the work put in to this one will have been wasted. I certainly hope they don't mess up what they've set up, because it's a compelling storyline. Don't go in to see it expecting resolutions is all I'm saying!
So... yeah, went to the bathroom at what I foolishly took to be a slow part, and when I returned... MONKEYS!
 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is...
  • ... hopefully going to make the studio plenty of money so they don't do something stupid like pull the plug on the Mockingjay movies!
  • ... doing just fine in the moneymaking category, as a quick check online confirms. Whew!
  • ... has a bad-ass heroine in it who isn't invulnerable or superhuman or even all that particularly heroic. YET.
  • ... also has some pretty cool archery scenes!
  • ... feels a little too close to predicting the future now and then.
  • ... was almost directed by David Cronenberg. THAT would have been incredible! I'd love to see what he can do with an enormous budget some day!
Grade: A–

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