Escape to the Movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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I haven't seen the films but I did read the books. It's kind of unfortunate that I went into them with the "its a battle Royal knockoff" mindset. It sounds like the film follows the events of the book quite closely.

The way Katniss was written still confuses me. It's like she was meant to be this total bad-ass, do anything for her family, tough, brave and willing to fight but the way she acts is almost the total opposite. The running and hiding I get, I think the smart thing to do in that senario is to hide and let the others kill each other off and then you, being rested, have the advantage on the guy who just fought 12 other people and flying monkeys. But in everything else she just comes across as kinda pathetic (especially in the later books). Still I'd rather have my young relatives reading/watching her than what's her face from twilight.

I haven't read the books. and to be honest I don't understand what's so special about Lawrence other than she seems to be able to not be a drug addled mess like all other young actors. but I saw the first movie and my girlfriend accidentally bought the third hunger games book off audible a while back. we even tried listening to it on a road trip, got about 20 minutes in before the slog was too much.

I get really angry about series that do what this one does. which is simply to keep doing things TO the protagonist and having her basically refuse to go along with anything be the default reaction. like we were listening to the 3rd book, where all the important stuff should be happening, and you know what we got. a lot of talk about how the revolutionaries are just using her as a symbol and she's not happy about it but she's not doing anything about it either. and I guess in the 3rd book one of her love interests is dead. like dead dead, and she is still doing the back and forth of who does she really care for.... it's process of elimination sweetheart you only have one choice left. yet she agonizes over it. she gets caught up in all these different goings on but steadfastly refuses to participate one way or the other. I know if she was all gung ho about killing we wouldn't be supposed to like her but there comes a point in every show/movie/book/whatever that the main character has to make an active decision to participate in their own story in order to be the master of their own fate and get things done on their terms. and as far as I can tell katniss,(ugh) never gets to that point. it's just freaking boring.

also do this day favorite joke on hunger games "it's like running man without Arnold Schwarzenegger." Which if you haven't seen running man do yourself a favor and go watch it, before or after hunger games it's still a vastly superior movie.

Draconalis:
I'm going to be "that guy".

I don't even want to give this series a try because Battle Royal already exists and is awesome.

I would just spend the entire time comparing it to Battle Royal... and I doubt it can compete.

That would be relevant if the two things had anything in common other than people fighting to the death. Something that happens in tons of books / movies.

Winnosh:

That would be relevant if the two things had anything in common other than people fighting to the death.

"Kids chosen by lottery to kill each other."

That's three things distinct to these two... and that's just the basic premise. Pretty sure they have much more in common.

But you know what they don't have in common? Being awesome, which, Battle Royale is and the Hunger Games is not.

Draconalis:

Winnosh:

That would be relevant if the two things had anything in common other than people fighting to the death.

"Kids chosen by lottery to kill each other."

That's three things distinct to these two... and that's just the basic premise. Pretty sure they have much more in common.

But you know what they don't have in common? Being awesome, which, Battle Royale is and the Hunger Games is not.

Not really, Hunger Games is more Spartacus meets the Day after Tomorrow.

wulf3n:

Not really, Hunger Games is more Spartacus meets the Day after Tomorrow.

The Hunger Games as killing clouds to keep them moving.

Battle Royale has zones where their collars explode to keep them moving.

Same idea.

Draconalis:

wulf3n:

Not really, Hunger Games is more Spartacus meets the Day after Tomorrow.

The Hunger Games as killing clouds to keep them moving.

Battle Royale has zones where their collars explode to keep them moving.

Same idea.

I'm not saying there aren't similarities, the "games" of the hunger games are simply a plot device for the revolution story.

I can't understand why they introduce potential characters that could lead to an awesome fight only to have them die off screen. It's like somebody buying the best sports cars in history only to leave them in a garage. You got all that horse power, man! Let them out of the stable once in awhile.

Oh, well. Just another reason to not see this movie.

Mr. Q:
I can't understand why they introduce potential characters that could lead to an awesome fight only to have them die off screen.

That's actually incorrect.

"I wanted to see more cool deaths and fighting" (paraphrased)

... that's kind of missing the point right?

Eh, kind of agree with Bob here. I love the book series but they don't translate all that well into movie form, and I think I have a theory on why. The main reason why the movies feel kind of dull is that the things that should be exciting like watching people kill eachother for sport is pretty anticlimactic and most of it consists of just hiding. And in the books, that's kind of the whole point. It's not an action series it's a survival series. The fun comes from the tension of not knowing who you can trust, who or what will jump out behind the next tree and what the sadistic overlords controlling everything will throw at you just to make you die in a way that will draw the a lot of ratings. When there is action it is usually quick, blurry and messy. That works fine in text form because then we can get internal monologues to show what Katniss is thinking to make the tension rise. On screen on the other hand, all that waiting is just...waiting.

As for the movie itself, I still kind of liked it. It was a faithful adaption of the book, and overall it felt better than the first one. The acting works fine, the scenery is much more visually interesting than it was the first time around, the action is more exciting (what little of it there is) and thankfully there is no shaky cam. Not great, but it held my interest all the way through.

I'm not the biggest fan of the movies, but damn, Bob is so determined to hate them it's kind of comical. Overdressing is a visual representation of debauchery. It has nothing to do with homosexuality and is a very common theme in futuristic movies. If Hunger Games is anti-gay propaganda for him, I'd hate to hear what he has to say about The Fifth Element. If you are determined to look for something, you will find it everywhere. As for the rest of the film, I'm getting mixed messages here. He wishes the film was more morally gray, then he plays the Mortal Kombat music and wishes the film gave more screen time to the slaughter. So... uhm... what does he want the film to be in the end? Kill Bill meets Lord of the Flies? Facepalm-worthy review.

P.S: Protip: Presenting your opinion (that the first movie was a disastrous slog) as FACT, about a movie that has an 84% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes makes you look like a bit of an idiot. Just sayin'.

You're right . The problem is there is no 'money shot' in these films. No real climax. We NEED some big long battle scenes in which people fight, people die and people suffer. That's the whole premise of these movies. I know the comparisons to battle royal are tired but that film at least gives us a template for action. The films really should be all out mortal combat with just enough room left for the interesting framing and some downtime. Make 'em lean, make 'em mean.

Pacifc Rim worked because it was sold as Giant robots fighting and... we got lots of giant robots fighting shot in interesting ways and framed in a good internationalist narrative. Hunger Games doesn't work because it promises Hunger games when they take up a small portion of the movies and they are woefully underwhelming.

wulf3n:

Draconalis:

wulf3n:

Not really, Hunger Games is more Spartacus meets the Day after Tomorrow.

The Hunger Games as killing clouds to keep them moving.

Battle Royale has zones where their collars explode to keep them moving.

Same idea.

I'm not saying there aren't similarities, the "games" of the hunger games are simply a plot device for the revolution story.

Yes the titular Hunger Games is only a very small part of the story. It's a catalyst that gets the plot going but not what the actual story is about.

had a feeling it might be like the first one. me and my wife dint like the4 first one either when we watched it in the cinema. so i think i would just rent the movie once its available. already other movies im more interested in.

I haven't seen either of the films and I don't really plan to, so can anyone confirm this: Donald Sutherland is 'the good guy among the bad guys with the least make-up', right?

Shoggoth2588:
About that bump at the end concerning Frozen...I'd gathered from the trailers that the movie is probably going to be crap...is Bob implying that it isn't or is he saying the trailers make it look a lot better than it actually is? I'm also surprised Bob didn't have a final "Happy 22nd" bump featuring a picture of Cat-Kigu-Mario or something.

What I can figure from other reviews, people are comparing Frozen to the movies from Disney's Renaissance (Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.). Critics seem to REALLY like this film.

OT: Yeah, I got that vibe as well. Catching fire does seem really pointless.

I only saw the first one for the first time 2 nights ago on TV. Glad I didn't bother wasting money on seeing it at the movies. Poorly made, weak storyline, annoying main characters and most disturbing of all... Its a movie about teenagers killing each other I mean wtf?? If it was a move about them having sex it would have never been made. Not a single boobie in the whole movie. The only difference between these movies and Salo, everyone keeps their clothes on. One is banned in 154 countries, the other is mainstream entertainment.

People are firkin weird....

Camaranth:
The way Katniss was written still confuses me. It's like she was meant to be this total bad-ass, do anything for her family, tough, brave and willing to fight but the way she acts is almost the total opposite. The running and hiding I get, I think the smart thing to do in that senario is to hide and let the others kill each other off and then you, being rested, have the advantage on the guy who just fought 12 other people and flying monkeys. But in everything else she just comes across as kinda pathetic (especially in the later books). Still I'd rather have my young relatives reading/watching her than what's her face from twilight.

Third book spoilers follow:

BrotherRool:
"I wanted to see more cool deaths and fighting" (paraphrased)

... that's kind of missing the point right?

Considering how the first film shows surviving is more then just killing others and that death really isn't nice or fun, Bobs desire to see more people die onscreen definitely shows he's not paying attention with these films.

Got halfway through the first book before giving up on it. To put it succinctly; I really don't care for novels wherein the main character starts off as an unlikable little shit, and then learns to be a not quite so unlikable little shit. And I've heard nothing about the movies that has made me want to go and see them.

Farther than stars:
I haven't seen either of the films and I don't really plan to, so can anyone confirm this: Donald Sutherland is 'the good guy among the bad guys with the least make-up', right?

Silverspetz:
Eh, kind of agree with Bob here. I love the book series but they don't translate all that well into movie form, and I think I have a theory on why. The main reason why the movies feel kind of dull is that the things that should be exciting like watching people kill eachother for sport is pretty anticlimactic and most of it consists of just hiding. And in the books, that's kind of the whole point. It's not an action series it's a survival series. The fun comes from the tension of not knowing who you can trust, who or what will jump out behind the next tree and what the sadistic overlords controlling everything will throw at you just to make you die in a way that will draw the a lot of ratings. When there is action it is usually quick, blurry and messy. That works fine in text form because then we can get internal monologues to show what Katniss is thinking to make the tension rise. On screen on the other hand, all that waiting is just...waiting.

Another part of the fun in the books is that literally everything is from Katniss. If she doesn't see it, hear it, pay attention to it or think about it... it's not in the book. Why don't we have descriptions for most of the tribute deaths? Because Katniss isn't there to see it. Why is the world the way it is? Katniss has no idea and it's not important for her to know. She's a teenager who's in way, way, way over her head and she's doing everything she can to survive.

It makes her seem like a much more realistic character - she's not a bad-ass chick carving her way through other tributes with her bows and arrows, she's a country girl who made a snap decision to save her sister from death and has no idea how to deal with it. She screws up, she gets lucky, she does the right thing at the wrong time, she does the wrong things at the wrong time and has the misfortune of being in the middle of an extremely dangerous love triangle. A love triangle that I'm sure many women have found themselves embroiled in something similar in their own lives. (Girl A wants Person B. Person B wants Girl A. (probably. maybe.) Person C wants Girl A. Girl A barely knows Person C is alive. For the most part this becomes a "How does Girl A let Person C down? Gently and compassionately, quickly and succinctly, slowly and painfully, etc.?", but if suddenly Girl A's life literally depends on her looking like she's in love with Person C...?)

As for the wrong thing at the wrong time, think about how a poor (yet photogenic in some way) girl in America would react if she happened to be thrust into the spotlight of American media and politics in September of this year and she blurted out "Just shut down the government - it's not working anyway." Then follow everything from her point of view, with only the information she has at her disposal to base decisions from.

Draconalis:

Winnosh:

That would be relevant if the two things had anything in common other than people fighting to the death.

"Kids chosen by lottery to kill each other."

That's three things distinct to these two... and that's just the basic premise. Pretty sure they have much more in common.

But you know what they don't have in common? Being awesome, which, Battle Royale is and the Hunger Games is not.

Didn't you just say that you haven't even tried the Hunger Games? How do you know it isn't awesome?

Anyway, I'm really kind of tired of the constant comparing between the two, I know it's unavoidable given the obvious surface similarities but whenever I hear someone say that HG is a "ripoff" or just a poorer version of BR, it kind of pisses me off. They both have the same premise (kids killing each other for a tv-show) but no one looks at the execution of this premise nearly enough. The thing about these two franchises is that they are both satirical works but the target of that satire is completely different. BR is a political satire that mocks the school system of the time and the politicians who established it. You see this an a ton of things like how it is a school class that is picked to fight, how they were picked because their grades were low, how they start the match in a school and how their teacher is overseeing the whole damn thing. The Hunger games on the other hand is a social satire mocking the popularity of shows like American Idol that thrives on seeing people fail just as much as seeing people succeed. We see this in the obvious interviews intended to boost the participant's popularity, how they need sponsors in order to stand a chance and how putting on a tragic love story earns Katniss and Peeta points.

My point is, they are not that similar just because they have the exact same premise. It's what they do with it that counts.

lord.jeff:
The whole make up things isn't any different then what a lot of movies and Star Trek have done with facial hear, you're looking far to much into a simple visual queue.

the make up is about decadence and overdoing it to the point that your unrecognizable as a human. not about gay or trans people or some such.

Silverspetz:
Didn't you just say that you haven't even tried the Hunger Games? How do you know it isn't awesome?

Because it just can't compete... obviously.

Silverspetz:
but no one looks at the execution

Funny you should mention the execution. I just watched a video about the two that informed me of how long it took for each movie to get to the kids killing kids aspect.

Hunger Games: 66 minutes

Battle Royale: 18 minutes, and two kids are kill before the game even started.

I actually got REALLY excited about those characters and the GIGANTIC possibilities for epic fights with these kinds of how shall I say it Mortal Kombat characters.

This could have been so fucking awesome, but I guess it once again proves that you can rip of Battle Royale all you want you can never make it half way as interesting and engaging when you write it for tweens.

Am I the only one who thought that review warranted a bit of a spoiler warning? Usually Bob is much more circumspect :/

Didn't see the first one, doesn't sound like I want to see it or this one either.

I think it would actually be funnier to say that characters actual names, they're stupid enough to be jokes unto themselves.

This movie and Elysium both present the wealthy as being possessed of technology that renders traditional models of workforce composition ineffective and costly. But they exist anyhow to create that social commentary.

Frankly, when your hypothetical situation doesn't even make sense within the context of your own story, you had best go back and produce a motivation for your villains that isn't just 'I like being a jerk.' and nothing else.

rbstewart7263:

lord.jeff:
The whole make up things isn't any different then what a lot of movies and Star Trek have done with facial hear, you're looking far to much into a simple visual queue.

the make up is about decadence and overdoing it to the point that your unrecognizable as a human. not about gay or trans people or some such.

Silverspetz:

Draconalis:

Winnosh:

That would be relevant if the two things had anything in common other than people fighting to the death.

"Kids chosen by lottery to kill each other."

That's three things distinct to these two... and that's just the basic premise. Pretty sure they have much more in common.

But you know what they don't have in common? Being awesome, which, Battle Royale is and the Hunger Games is not.

Didn't you just say that you haven't even tried the Hunger Games? How do you know it isn't awesome?

Anyway, I'm really kind of tired of the constant comparing between the two, I know it's unavoidable given the obvious surface similarities but whenever I hear someone say that HG is a "ripoff" or just a poorer version of BR, it kind of pisses me off. They both have the same premise (kids killing each other for a tv-show) but no one looks at the execution of this premise nearly enough. The thing about these two franchises is that they are both satirical works but the target of that satire is completely different. BR is a political satire that mocks the school system of the time and the politicians who established it. You see this an a ton of things like how it is a school class that is picked to fight, how they were picked because their grades were low, how they start the match in a school and how their teacher is overseeing the whole damn thing. The Hunger games on the other hand is a social satire mocking the popularity of shows like American Idol that thrives on seeing people fail just as much as seeing people succeed. We see this in the obvious interviews intended to boost the participant's popularity, how they need sponsors in order to stand a chance and how putting on a tragic love story earns Katniss and Peeta points.

My point is, they are not that similar just because they have the exact same premise. It's what they do with it that counts.

I think there is a really big difference between kill your classmates and kill some strangers some of which are older than you and some younger. So yea while there are so many things in common between the two films there are also key elements that make the two films very different.

It's sort of like when people compared The Raid Redemption with Dredd. Yea some elements that are the same like being trapped in a building where an evil person rules the building, but enough that is different to get two very different films out some of the same basic ideas.

Draconalis:

Silverspetz:
Didn't you just say that you haven't even tried the Hunger Games? How do you know it isn't awesome?

Because it just can't compete... obviously.

Why are you demanding that they compete?

Draconalis:
Funny you should mention the execution. I just watched a video about the two that informed me of how long it took for each movie to get to the kids killing kids aspect.

Hunger Games: 66 minutes

Battle Royale: 18 minutes, and two kids are kill before the game even started.

Indeed you are correct in that assessment. If your sole interest in the movie is to watch children die, then between the two films, Battle Royale is the movie for you.

Because I'm bored, I'm going to attempt explaining this film without having yet seen it and without having read the final book as of yet.

1. The cliffhanger "see you in the sequel" ending

Assuming the movie follows the book, the story will end with a promise of a sequel. This is because the story follows a very simple formula for trilogies. In the first piece, write a self-contained story that doesn't guarantee a sequel, but is open enough for one to happen. Next, have a story that has plenty of new characters, new locations, and moves the plot along to where it sets up the last part. The most simple example of this in action is the original trilogy of Star Wars.

2. Class warfare

The Hunger Games is about, very simply, class warfare. The poor dying for the rich's amusement. How you can get anything else from that I don't know, but that is is what it is about. Its not about hating liberals, its not about hating conservatives, its not about religion, its not even really about slavery (although, I can see where that one came from). It is about the rich and powerful becoming so disconnected with the poor and the poor simply accepting their fate rather than fighting it (at least, until the plot came along).

3. The Fashions

A spin off of the class warfare bit, the fashion difference between the poor and rich isn't just to designate good and bad. The reason the poor are dressed like that isn't to make you feel sorry for them, it is because that is either all they can afford to do or they simply don't have time to spend on being fashionable. The reason the rich dress like that is because they DO have the time to spend on it and rather than sitting around being bored, they instead decide to find their hobbies.

I just walked back in the door after watching Catching Fire and I've got to say I really enjoyed it. Jennifer Lawrence was even better this time around and while the setting is hard to believe in, it has elements to it that easily explain why so many people like it.

What makes the most compelling stories are
romance,
romanticism,
characters you can idolise,
and politics.

I feel certain I'd have come up with the same list even without having just watched this film, but Catching Fire has all of them.

VikingKing:
This movie and Elysium both present the wealthy as being possessed of technology that renders traditional models of workforce composition ineffective and costly. But they exist anyhow to create that social commentary.

Frankly, when your hypothetical situation doesn't even make sense within the context of your own story, you had best go back and produce a motivation for your villains that isn't just 'I like being a jerk.' and nothing else.

Technology doesn't necessarily follow the path we assume.

While your statement is true of Elysium I don't really see it for The Hunger Games.

While the civilization in the Hunger Games has some advanced technologies what they don't have [or at least don't show] is any form of Artificial Intelligence, which is crucial in creating an automated workforce.

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