Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a fun ride.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an enjoyable and exciting movie. While still carrying a parallel plot of the first, it is a bridge movie just as a second book is in a trilogy.  That said, because we already know about Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorn, Haymitch Abernathy, and, of course, President Snow, we don't need nearly the background set up, but what we do need is the beginnings of Katniss' transformation from Hunger Games victor to revolutionary symbol, the Mocking Jay.  It is something that the movie drives home again and again from gesture to a visual symbol to physical determination.

We get to know the characters better and are introduced to some new ones. We understand Katniss', played by Jennifer Lawrence, problem with loving both Gale, (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).  The movie is also joined by some new characters like Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymore Hoffman). Through the games, we get the back story of some of these characters.

If there is one character flaw in the movie, it may be with President Snow played by Donald Sutherland.  I am told in the books, Snow is more humanized than he is in the movies.  The problem I have is that for someone who wants to stop a rebellion and maintain his power, President Snow has zero understanding about how to use his power to control.  He is just so evil, all Sutherland needs to do is twirl his mustache.  Sutherland is one of the finest actors in the cast.  He could easily pull off a more human villain if he was just given something more to work with.  We see this in the fleeting moments of Snow and his granddaughter.  Perhaps more will be done with the character in the next two movies, but for now, he seems a bit two dimensional for the complexity that such a character could have and that have been built into the other characters. A great antagonist needs to be more complex and far less two dimensional.

The plot is simple enough.  Unable to control the public reactions to Katniss Everdeen and "her love" in the year following the Hunger Games, Snow, determines that she must be destroyed.  When a miserable attempt at intimidation fails, a new Games to celebrate the 75th year of the killing event is declared.  Only tributes who were victors in previous Hunger Games will be brought to do battle and so it is that Peeta and Katniss must once again enter the arena in which only one can survive.  It is in this crucible that Katniss must be forged into the symbol the people of the world of Hunger Games so desperately want.

I liked the movie.  It hits a good blend of humor, turmoil, excitement, dialog and action.  Go see it.  It is worth the money. It is also the Part 2 of 4 movies.  Parts 3 and 4 are filming as I write.  I will buy the DVD.