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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Movie Review For The Hunger Games:Catching Fire

Premise:Katniss Everdeen is forced to decide whether to join the revolution or stop it.

Cast:Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, Jeffrey Wright as Betee, Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Lyn Cohen as Mags, Paula Malcolmson as Mrs. Everdeen, Willow Shields as Prim Everdeen, Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread, Meta Golding as Enobaria, Bruno Gunn as Brutus, Alan Ritchson as Gloss, Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere, E. Robert Mitchell as Chaff, Maria Howell as Seeder, Taylor St. Clair as Ripper, Erika Bierman as Snow's granddaughter, Stef Dawson as Anna Cresta

Director:Francis Lawrence

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation, and language

Genres:Drama, action, sci-fi

Notes:Based on the book by Suzanne Collins. The second film in the Hunger Games franchise. Poster is from IMP Awards and belongs to Lionsgate.

Pros:Cool characters. Good acting. The villains. Better exposition.

Cons:Some plot conviences. Moves slowly. A few annoying/badly-acted characters.

How would you emotionally survive after being forced to take a life? What if you had to be reminded of it every day? And what if you were to learn you (and by extension your loved ones) are still in danger?

While the first movie stuck pretty closely to the book, it wasn't exactly the best. So how does this one measure up? For fans of the books such as myself, it's a mix of cool characters and tense situations from the source material coming to life. For those who haven't read the books, it might seem a little boring. It's not truly an action movie. It's more a slow-build up to the danger. Think of it like a fire (yes, that was an easy comparison). It takes a while for it to rage, it just crackles at first. There are also a few things in the plot that seem awfully convenient.

Katniss I'm neutral on. She wasn't terribly acted or poorly portrayed, it's just you don't have a direct line to her head anymore. She isn't quite the angry girl from the books, more the terrified one. Johanna Mason was really cool. She was even more feisty than her book portrayal. Finnick Odair was certainly a plus. And President Snow was still an utter creep. Minor villain Thread was worthwhile as well. Octavia and Flavius (who appear briefly) were kind of annoying though, as was Caesar Flickerman. And the acting on Prim wasn't exactly good.

There are a couple of other problems I have with this movie that involve the plot and one of the villains.

Except he's not a villain, he's one of the good guys. But he does some stuff before you learn this that puts his status as "heroic" into question.

Also, one of the plot problems was the fact that Katniss had the luck to survive the destroyed arena.

End spoilers

Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who liked the books or the first movie.

Sex:Between Katniss and Peeta, there's plenty of kissing. A jealous Gale also gives Katniss a smack on the lips. She kisses him two other times. The star-crossed lovers shared a bed. Guys appear shirtless (though in one case, context and the open sores on his back prevent it from being sexy). There's a couple instances of cleavage. A man tells his girlfriend his last thoughts will be of her lips.
A woman strips naked in an elevator with Haymitch, Peeta, and Katniss in it. The men look on in appreciation while Katniss averts her eyes. A man touches Katniss on the shoulder as she walks by, and another kisses her out of nowhere. A conversation between Katniss and Capitol heartthrob Finnick Odair can be interpreted as flirtatious (on his side anyway). Mention is made of the payments people give him for the pleasure of his company. Someone asks "What do you think now that the whole world wants to sleep with you?" When Katniss replies, she's told the question was aimed at Peeta.

Violence:Early on, Katniss panics when she thinks she may have shot someone (it's just a hallucination). It's mentioned a woman had her teeth filed into points so she could more easily tear out people's throats. A boy used wires and electricity to kill opponents. Someone remarks she'd love to put her ax in her stylist's face. A man punches Katniss and then threatens her, Haymitch, and Peeta with a gun. The voices of tortured love ones is used as a weapon.
Poison fog causes huge, ugly wounds. A character intentionally walks into said fog. Mutant apes attack and kill people. A lightning strike nearly kills a woman. An explosion knocks someone out. A teenager is whipped, winding up with some pretty bad wounds. Someone is stabbed with a trident. Someone else gets an ax in the head. A woman's throat is sliced. People are shot with arrows. A boy is dragged underwater, leaving a moment when it appears he may have drowned. A man is shot in the head. Someone is knocked out and their arm sliced. A few people are beaten and dragged offscreen to their presumed deaths. Riots break out. Peacekeepers ransack and burn a marketplace. Snow's associate suggests public floggings and executions, then broadcasting them live. There's mention of a bombing.

Drugs/Alcohol:Haymitch constantly drinks. Once, he sniffs some disinfectant and then pours it into his cup. Other characters drink as well. A beverage that causes vomiting is brought up. A couple of victors who show up are drug addicts, which a character approves of because it makes them easier to kill. An injured boy is given painkillers. A woman is sedated. Katniss visits Haymitch to drink, prompting him to say that's finally a problem he can help with. He warns some people not to invite a guy over because he'll drink all their liquor.

Language/Insults:"G*d" is used multiple times. "Sl*t", "b**ch", "bloody", and "d**n" are used once or twice each. Two uses of "f**k" are partially bleeped.


So what did you think?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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