Escape to the Movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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BonGookKumBop:
So I'm sorry to rain on people's parades, but the book does a really good job of describing the capitol like San Francisco. I give you page 61 of The Hunger Games, in which Katniss complains about the capitol accent:

"Why do these people speak in such a high pitch? Why do their jaws barely open when they talk? Why do the ends of their sentences go up as if they're asking a question? Odd vowels, clipped words, and always a hiss on the letter s . . . no wonder it's impossible not to mimic them." (emphasis added)

That sounds more like a description of an LA accent to me.

BonGookKumBop:
So I'm sorry to rain on people's parades, but the book does a really good job of describing the capitol like San Francisco. I give you page 61 of The Hunger Games, in which Katniss complains about the capitol accent:

"Why do these people speak in such a high pitch? Why do their jaws barely open when they talk? Why do the ends of their sentences go up as if they're asking a question? Odd vowels, clipped words, and always a hiss on the letter s . . . no wonder it's impossible not to mimic them." (emphasis added)

While I do not feel this is pushing a feeling of homophobia into the books, the imagery in the books is very strongly San Francisco culture. One thing to remember is that the books strive to maintain that the leadership is the enemy and not the citizens. Although the citizens of the capitol initially represent that leadership, the second book shows them as a different type of controlled people who get just as frustrated with their own leaders. The leadership just uses another tool to control them. Instead of manual labor, the leadership uses decadence and self indulgence to keep the capitol in line. The president keeps them so concerned about stars, celebrity weddings, and keeping their own special rules that they ignore the problems of other places. We see this in our own politics on both sides of the isle. Certain groups will always vote certain ways because they have been promised that the rights of others will be taken away so that may gain or keep their own special rights.

Heh, to be honest, I think Bob only drew the San Francisco comparison specifically to drive home the homophobic message he felt the series was implying, and not for the many legitimate in-lore reasons you've brought up.

Silverspetz:
Or she knows that she will be able to reach a lot more people if Hollywood makes her book into a movie.

Yeah, that's essentially what I had in mind, but I seriously wasn't interested in arguing semantics over what a writer might have been thinking when adapting their work into a movie. Doesn't mean she couldn't be considered a hypocrite on some level. Dunno, don't care, not the issue.

Silverspetz:
Anyway, I really don't see her subtext as "anti-Hollywood". All that stuff about Katniss being forced to put on an act, hide who she is, the disgust with wasteful eating is more criticism of the average Hollywood movie-goer than of Hollywood itself. She is criticizing the people who get a kick out of putting celebrities on a pedestal only to tear them down and how the only way for a celebrity to "survive" is to remain popular liked by the masses by any means necessary. Private-life and dignity be damned.

That pretty much is the darker side of Hollywood, kid. You don't blame the victims of Hollywood, you blame the awful Hollywood system. The pressures and depraved acts that are committed behind the scenes in the name of Hollywood.

Silverspetz:
Oh, and while I overall agree with you analysis, you should never EVER call an analysis "fact". It is misrepresentative both of what the word "fact" means and of what an analysis is supposed to be.

Heh, sure. Whatever makes you happy, sir. Thanks for the lesson. I've already done my fair share of lecturing that I'll gladly take that bit of smug advice with stride.

wulf3n:
It's not saying that he was implying the movie was an "an anti-this-or-that message" but rather he believes that the visual metaphors within the movie imply a fashion obsessed upper class culture as being indicative of the LGBT culture.

But you said in your post that Bob as talking about an anti-gay subtext when he mentioned Sailor-Scout Ted Nugent attacking San Francisco. You were agreeing with another poster who said it was about a gay agenda. You may want to re-read your own posts and what they were responding to.

I thought Bob's comments were purely about the visual connotations - LGBT parades tend to be ornate and overly-colorful (like the people from the Capital), while Ted Nugent pretends to be salt-of-the-earth normal (like the people from the districts). Both seem to be overwrought extrapolations, hence Bob's sarcastic comment about over-reaching.

wulf3n:
It was a joke, hence the :P

Sorry, I don't speak emoticon. They are the worst thing humans have invented apart from Facebook or Zyklon-B.

TheDrunkNinja:

Silverspetz:
Or she knows that she will be able to reach a lot more people if Hollywood makes her book into a movie.

Yeah, that's essentially what I had in mind, but I seriously wasn't interested in arguing semantics over what a writer might have been thinking when adapting their work into a movie. Doesn't mean she couldn't be considered a hypocrite on some level. Dunno, don't care, not the issue.

Silverspetz:
Anyway, I really don't see her subtext as "anti-Hollywood". All that stuff about Katniss being forced to put on an act, hide who she is, the disgust with wasteful eating is more criticism of the average Hollywood movie-goer than of Hollywood itself. She is criticizing the people who get a kick out of putting celebrities on a pedestal only to tear them down and how the only way for a celebrity to "survive" is to remain popular liked by the masses by any means necessary. Private-life and dignity be damned.

That pretty much is the darker side of Hollywood, kid. You don't blame the victims of Hollywood, you blame the awful Hollywood system. The pressures and depraved acts that are committed behind the scenes in the name of Hollywood.

Silverspetz:
Oh, and while I overall agree with you analysis, you should never EVER call an analysis "fact". It is misrepresentative both of what the word "fact" means and of what an analysis is supposed to be.

Heh, sure. Whatever makes you happy, sir. Thanks for the lesson. I've already done my fair share of lecturing that I'll gladly take that bit of smug advice with stride.

But that's not the darker side of Hollywood. That's the darker side of the Hollywood AUDIENCE. Hollywood makes it's policies and movies based on what WE like, and what we like is often times to see people suffer. Collins isn't criticizing what goes on behind the scenes as much as she is criticizing the REASON why those things are a part of the Hollywood system. There is no reason to be "Anti-Hollywood" when it is the lowest common denominator and their tastes that is the underlying problem.

There was nothing "smug" about it. An analysis can never be fact and claiming yours to be such is hubris.

Aardvaarkman:

But you said in your post that Bob as talking about an anti-gay subtext when he mentioned Sailor-Scout Ted Nugent attacking San Francisco. You were agreeing with another poster who said it was about a gay agenda. You may want to re-read your own posts and what they were responding to. I thought Bob's comments were purely about the visual connotations - LGBT parades tend to be ornate and overly-colorful (like the people from the Capital), while Ted Nugent pretends to be salt-of-the-earth normal (like the people from the districts). Both seem to be overwrought extrapolations, hence Bob's sarcastic comment about over-reaching.

Anti-gay Subtext != "this or that message". Bob was implying that the movie was from certain vantage points [read: the hyper sensitive] could be inferred as as anti gay.

Aardvaarkman:

Sorry, I don't speak emoticon. They are the worst thing humans have invented apart from Facebook or Zyklon-B.

Noted. I'll [facetious playfulness]endeavor to use the faux html tags instead[/facetious playfulness]

I've figured it out. The real problem with these movies is they can't be an 'R'. Therefore their battle scenes can't be remotely interesting or impact full.

I have friends who want to see it so I probably will at some point.
I think part of the problem is they are trying to make a movie out a story that is not really meant to be entertaining and they are doing it without wanting a high age rating. The books are also told from Katniss viewpoint. A lot of it is her internal monologue which is hard to work into a movie especially when the character is very introverted and doesn't talk to other characters much.
With impression I got from the first movie and the first book (I've not read the others so it could change or I could be misremebering the book because it was quite a while ago) having interesting gracious fight scenes would be a bit hypocritical because it seems to be trying to critique that sort of glorification among other things. So a lot of it happens off screen (which is also a product of being written from her veiwpoint, you only see what she was actually involved in), is anticlimactic (wasps, poisonous berries) or is just quick and brutal (snapping someones neck, sudden spear through the chest with no time to react) with the focus more on how Katniss responds to it than the actual violence itself. The fighting and action is not the point of the book. If you're going to really show it to get the point across it would need a higher age rating than they would want because it isn't meant to be fun to watch.
The only long extended fight I can recall from the book was with Cato and that ended pretty much the same as the movie only he was fending off those dog things for what seemed like hours with Katniss and Peeta wishing he would just die so the screams would stop before she mercy kills him.
I don't think Katniss is really meant to be a perfect badass heroine either. From what I've heard she isn't even very active in later books. The capitol is making her out to be one because that is more fun to watch but for her it's a traumatizing experience which she is just trying to survive and it leaves her with PTSD.

Now if only the book spent less time on her dress and that cave scene, had less how the F dose that work technology and better writing in general.

nightmare_gorilla:
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.

Holy crap! That's why I instinctively hate her guts! She's a Shinji!

Now, I know next to nothing about these books, but from what I gathered in the first movie, it's not that the Capitol needs the Districts so much as they want to keep them subdued because of previous failed rebellion. The Capitol is clearly not just leeching resources off the Districts generated there, it has a much higher standard of technology already, including tools that would be helpful for the workers in the Districts if this were about efficiency. I took it to be more punitive than about exploitation. Maybe someone who actually knows the books can explain it better, though.

Bob, a better metaphor is the French Revolution, not the Caligulan one. And how far did you have to intentionally reach for the Ned Nugent gag? Sure, it's not exactly openly bearing rainbow flaws, but it's pretty far from an attack on it. You can practically hear the 30-person orgies going on right behind the camera, and that kind of hedonism isn't exactly picky. Also, with it pretty damn well explained in the big climactic finish, how do you still not understand that they can artificially control aspects of the battlefield? I know, it was shown, and how dare they do that in a movie, but do you need a soothing, expressionless, monotone voice tell you everything about it? Because I'm sure we can get someone to do that for you, if you need it. As is, it's almost like we're supposed to be seeing things from the perspective of the residents of a district, and not from the perspective of the guys with ultra-sophisticated future science, and I kind of wonder if that's intentional... It's not like they don't spend a minute or two in each movie in a room with the holographic display surrounded by about 30 operators of various computers as if it's the freaking NASA command center. C'mon, Bob. Keep up.

Silverspetz:
But that's not the darker side of Hollywood. That's the darker side of the Hollywood AUDIENCE. Hollywood makes it's policies and movies based on what WE like, and what we like is often times to see people suffer. Collins isn't criticizing what goes on behind the scenes as much as she is criticizing the REASON why those things are a part of the Hollywood system. There is no reason to be "Anti-Hollywood" when it is the lowest common denominator and their tastes that is the underlying problem.

So, you might say, Hollywood, for all the evils that go on within its walls, is defined by the demand of the audience.

Silverspetz:
There was nothing "smug" about it. An analysis can never be fact and claiming yours to be such is hubris.

Hold off on the guns there, cowboy, I didn't say you were wrong in your assessment. When I said I would gladly take your advice with stride, I meant it. Everything about the way this thread has gone bears a certain amount of smugness in every post, including mine.

You're right, I misspoke. What I should have said was that "it didn't make my analysis of the series' theme and message any less valid." Simple confused terms. In the heat of the debate, I grabbed at the bluntest of descriptive words to get my point across without thinking. No hubris about it.

Just came back from watching this film and enjoying it. Disagreed with the majority of Bob's points. (Spoiler warning.)

First off, regarding the criticism that there's all this build-up for new, deadlier characters to duke it out, only for them to die off screen: having the focus in the arena be on Katniss taking these people out one by one goes against the entire theme of the narrative. The majority of the tributes this time around are friends with each other. The theme deals with unity among the oppressed. This time the arena is responsible for killing most of the tributes because, again, it coincides with the prevailing "remember who the real enemy is" idea. So yeah, if all the tributes are murdering each other on screen in a crazy, bloody frenzy, that theme is totally ruined.

Instead, the tension relies on schemes going on behind the scenes. The Games this time around are advertised as a battle between a group of all-stars from previous Games, but in reality they're basically a bunch of screwed up people who are forced again into scrabbling to survive. So they band together and fight the system. Sorry Bob didn't get his Mortal Kombat, but the story aims for something different. He is also more or less blatantly lying when he says "all of those fun new characters get killed off screen." No they don't. A few of them do, but a couple of them die on screen, and a few of them join the "improve team" and end up being (in my opinion) entertaining and interesting with the screen time they're afforded.

Second, calling Katniss weak at the beginning of the film because she cries and has breakdowns is... questionable. The implication is that every person who goes in the arena and manages to survive is left scarred and with varying degrees of PTSD. If a soldier in some story who comes back from a war - after being forced to kill people and see their friends die in horrible ways - no one is going call them weak for having nightmares or breakdowns over it. And this soldier is an adult, so if you put a kid into a similar situation, of course it's going to screw with their heads, no matter how "badass" they happen to be.

Third, the absurd makeup and dress functions more as a metaphor for how a prevailing culture can influence certain aspects of someone's life. The moral gray comes from characters like Effie, who - despite appearing like the other bad guys - is shown to have a conscience, because she's exposed firsthand to the plights of her poorer counterparts, unlike the other capital citizens. I agree it's not overly strong as symbolic material goes, but it's at least a bit more subtle than he's giving it credit for.

Fourth, all of that "sitting around wasting time" is spent with the group surviving together and dealing with various death traps, and it all more or less centers around getting to know these new characters when they're not fighting for their lives. In the meantime, Katniss struggles with whether they can be trusted or not. It all builds up to a moment where Katniss has an opportunity to off one of them, but decides not to even though it would appear that she was betrayed.

This is clear tl;dr now, but I think that covers most of the gripes he had.

Andrew Siribohdi:
A fair review. In defense of the source material, I think most of the faults (such as the characters getting killed off-screen) are stemmed from the original source material; this seems to be a closer adaptation than the first one was.

So in defense of the book you're saying that the film's issues are the book's fault? I get the impression you didn't think that sentence through a whole lot.

Anyway, I personally haven't read the books, I wasn't a huge fan of the first film, and I (like MovieBob) find some elements of the setting/technology just ridiculously plot-hole-heavy.

TheDrunkNinja:

Silverspetz:
But that's not the darker side of Hollywood. That's the darker side of the Hollywood AUDIENCE. Hollywood makes it's policies and movies based on what WE like, and what we like is often times to see people suffer. Collins isn't criticizing what goes on behind the scenes as much as she is criticizing the REASON why those things are a part of the Hollywood system. There is no reason to be "Anti-Hollywood" when it is the lowest common denominator and their tastes that is the underlying problem.

So, you might say, Hollywood, for all the evils that go on within its walls, is defined by the demand of the audience.

Silverspetz:
There was nothing "smug" about it. An analysis can never be fact and claiming yours to be such is hubris.

Hold off on the guns there, cowboy, I didn't say you were wrong in your assessment. When I said I would gladly take your advice with stride, I meant it. Everything about the way this thread has gone bears a certain amount of smugness in every post, including mine.

You're right, I misspoke. What I should have said was that "it didn't make my analysis of the series' theme and message any less valid." Simple confused terms. In the heat of the debate, I grabbed at the bluntest of descriptive words to get my point across without thinking. No hubris about it.

Ah I see, now I feel bad for calling you out over a misunderstanding. Sorry =(

...how was the first movie "incomprehensible"? I only knew about the general presence going in and I followed it just fine. In fact I didn't think it was particularly complicated at all. I guess it was kind of cheese at times but I wouldn't say it was TV movie quality.

Hmm.. I think your problem is that you are expecting Sarah Connor, action girl, and that isn't who Katniss is. I think that part of the point of the hole franchise is to NOT glorify violence. Katniss dose what she feels she needs to do to survive, and no more.

Your confusion about the dissonance between the tech of the dome and the need to keep the workers poor is probably because the people of the capital don't want to give up ANYTHING, even the tiniest concession or show of defiance is met with an execution. They have no concept of enough, so they are constantly trying to squeeze as much out of the working class as possible and if they could, they would give nothing back. So it's not really that they NEED to keep the working classes down, but they want to, so they can keep exploiting them as much as possible.

From about 4:25 onward I'm not sure what you are getting at. Maybe it's becouse I don't know who Ted Nugent is. But I'm not sure what's wrong with having a blue color job, or what visual opposite you are referring to.

Anyway, I kind of liked the first one but I really liked this one. It was waaaay more interesting than the first, I was on the edge of my seat for practically half the movie. It even got me teary-eyed a couple of times. If this continues then the last chapter should be a real show stopper.

Yeah, definitely your mind wandering with that whole anti-gay subliminal message thing, Bob. Seriously, only you could find that out of this movie. The visual cue of flamboyance and dress style is quite clearly intended to reflect the decadence of the upper class and provide an incredibly stark contrast to the lower class for even the bluntest tools in the shed to make the connection.

Anyway, still not interested in this. Like many in this forum, utterly unsure as to the hype about it.

Saw this last night with people. They loved it since they thought it followed the book really well. As someone that hasn't read the books, I found it weak.

It was extremely predicable and I found myself not caring about the characters. Book readers seem to hate Peeta (at least who I have talked to), but he's the only character that didn't frustrate me in the movie. There was a whole message about revolution and doing things for the greater good of the people, why would I care about anyone in this hunger games? At least they were still interesting characters, I just wish it was better.

Silverspetz:
Ah I see, now I feel bad for calling you out over a misunderstanding. Sorry =(

Please good sir, the fault is not with you. Having a conversation through typed words means not hearing the tone for context, thus being near impossible to distinguish something sarcastic from something genuine. As so many have done before, I forgot this cardinal rule and didn't make myself clear in the least, even through you had been genuine with me.
You have my apologies.

image

Paradoxrifts:

nightmare_gorilla:
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.

Holy crap! That's why I instinctively hate her guts! She's a Shinji!

To avoid too many spoilers for people interested I'll be vague. Thats not what happens. In fact agonizing over who to pick is not something that happens to her in the third book thats more of a second book thing. Third book they are sorta in a war and it doesn't get brought till near the very end.

Heh.. I knew that little aside at the end would cause a shitfit, and I wasn't disappointed. Or, to mass paraphrase.

"Oh no Moviebob you're wrong. When someone sat down and chose to put all these guys in makeup, it was purely to illustrate that they were decadent so you can't read it as having any kind of homophobic subtext!

Right.

So why did they pick that?

They could have dressed all the bad guys up in Kiragumi and said that this represented decadence, but they didn't. After all, in this hypothetical futuristic/alternate timeline society it might do. I think it should be pretty obvious though why they didn't do that, because noone would have got it. Everyone would have walked out saying "what the fuck, why were all those people dressed as animals?" As it is, noone is walking out saying "what the fuck, why were all those dudes made up, and why were all those chicks such haggy bitches?"

The fact is, believe it or not, there are people in our society who are arguing that it has become degenerate or decadent, and these people will often specifically point to the blurring of gender boundaries as evidence that society has "lost its way".

When you make your villains camp or femmey to show that they are "decadent", and when you contrast them with steely paragons of heroic working-class normalcy, you are not making up some abstract argument about a future society, because that future society doesn't really exist. That society doesn't have its own cultural norms because it isn't real, it doesn't have its own codes of signification because someone in our society made it up, and that person is referencing stuff in the real world in order to help the audience to understand. You may not think that's particularly important, but to deny it's happening is incredibly nonsensical. Where else did this idea come from?

It is a choice which is made deliberately. It is not some random accident. It isn't like they flirted with the Kiragumi idea and then flipped a coin to decide what "decadence" represented in the future, they keyed in to an existing view of the world in order to make their film easier for you, the audience, to understand.

That is political, and it can be criticized for being political.

I work closely with individuals with severe mental disorders, some of them being PTSD. I can assure you, Bob, that her "crying and whining" in the first act was very realistic in terms of symptoms of PTSD. Regardless of the fact that she's female, any human being in her situation would have acted exactly the same. I understand the growing need for female characters to be accurately and respectfully represented as strong and admirable, but your cynicism of the issue is rather inaccurate when faced with the very real facts of mental disorders, PTSD in particular.

Actually, am I the only person who feels that Moviebob's reviews in general have been rather cynical lately? It's probably just me, lol.

hmm, extremely centralized all powerful government with a strong stance against allowing their citizens to own weapons with a blood sport based around receiving welfare, an extremely government controlled economic system pushing them into that welfare, and broad national socialist undertones everywhere. Yes, this is totally a pro-leftwing movie.

There was a lot of tip-toeing around from Bob, and he finally let it out.

His politics has got in the way. He doesn't like the urbanites (tremendously appearance obsessed with some clearly gay to our eyes) being the bad guys, and the salt of the earth being more decent and more human.

Rurals can be crude, prejudiced and prone to brawling, but for me the urbanites of a totalitarian system actually fit as bad guys. Hoarding all the resources, playing up the Roman death games, obsessed with fashion and appearance. There is a critique of effete culture in there and an association with evil, but as a rural who headed to the city the simplification strikes me as possible in storytelling. The upper classes in the hunger games are not nice, they are vain, petty enthusiasts of reality tv and watching the suffering of the less fortunate. The urbanites as the bad guys does not feel like such a stretch. That is the setup, but Bob has a problem with the world building.

Bob is really torn with these movies and votes them down here I think because of the critical tone towards urbanites and stereotyped garish LGBT groups. There have been points made by others that the effete urbans are implied to be homosexual and it is wrong that they are cast as the bad guys. This restricts Bob's thinking here, he can't get away from what he has read and he doesn't like this idea at all.

The cities are meant to be the sight of progress (for progressive groups, in contrast to more traditional rural areas), and Bob does not like a different narrative to this being conveyed in film.

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 cue.

I rather you think you are looking far too shallowly. Movies are a visual medium and they convey a lot of their meaning this way, through the use of imagery and symbolism. Commercial movies do this, indie movies do this, good movies do this well and bad movies do this poorly.

I guarantee you there was intent in every shot of this movie.

This is what happens when you stay too close to the source material. Books can not be adapted properly by sticking to them too strictly, it hardly ever works.

Also, since I actually read the books for some reason, I suggest people shouldn't get their hopes up for the third movie (the books manage to really turn to shit there).

Bob, the the reason you're having such trouble liking the movie is because it isn't a leftwing ows movie. They are rebelling against an all controlling, hedonistic, socialist government, not some rich corporation/person. Corporations might not even exist in this world. It better fits the tea party, sorry. ;)

"Sailor scout Ted Nugent"!?! Someone, anyone, make this happen! =D

I think the aspect of the subtext that everyone is missing is that even those of the Capitol are victims (to a reasonable extent) of this system that has been set up by the ruling class. It's actually not Capitol vs Districts! It was always (from my perspective) President Snow vs the Districts. His main approach was to fragment the Capitol and districts from ever realizing that they were more alike than any of them realized. It starts to come out in the second and third books that the Capitol citizens are being awakened from their slumber, their moral stupor that renders them flaccid and ineffectual as REAL human beings. And THAT is where I think the power of the message comes from. I see the Capitol as the United States, or even just as "Me"...the 1%. No I don't make a lot of money, but compared to Africa and South America, we are ALL the one percent living with more luxury than we know what to do with. WE (seriously all of us, Bob, you, that guy over there...) are the Capitol at the party, eating and throwing it back up with our Roman opulence. We don't care about anyone but ourselves, and our media helps with that. They turn our minds from things that are important, and redirect them right back onto ourselves, our "reality tv" and our sports. The West is the Capitol, too blind and hedonistic to see anyone else or care about anyone else.

There is real suffering happening around the world and yet we only focus on ourselves. Compassion...there's a word. It means to co-suffer. To put aside your comfort and luxury and co-suffer with another person. You do NOT have compassion when you give $5 to some homeless guy if five bucks is nothing to you. Sending $20 overseas to help with Tsunami relief isn't compassion, it's just morally comforting.
We are the Capitol, and our ruling class is making sure we continue the system. Work in the mines, do retail, pump oil in the machine. :(
It's pretty sad.

I've read and seen the first two books and I really just didn't see that anti-homophobic message. Its better described in the books that district 1 is so super rich that people have nothing better to do than obsess over materialism and personal ego. I really think it's just Bob over analyzing it.

The whole deal with the technological differences has to be explained away with a bit of imagination(I havent read the third book which I get the impression explains a bit more of the veiled history.). I seem to recall this is all post war similar to 1984 where in the technology is there its just an extreme lack of resources. I think the society in the book has only been stable the last 100 years or so? Its been a while since I read the books.

The lack of on screen violence is severely disappointing and in this instance hurts the movies really bad. Cant recommend.

Well thanks Bob! You explained how the Hunger Games are basically pointless since the Capital probably doesn't even need the other districts. When I tried pointing this out to my girlfriend after seeing the movie it led to a big ass fight. >.<

It doesn't help that these movies are so boring. More than half the run time of this one is just people sitting around. The characters aren't interesting so it's not interesting watching them which led to me getting sleepy and yawning the whole time, which was the other half of the aforementioned fight...

Good review, Bob. Any chance you'll review the Spike Lee adaptation of Oldboy this week? It's looking kinda good and I thought I might see it.

I agree with everything, except I do think they are good movies. They are not great movies though, they are not amazing movies or a must-see. They're slightly above average if only for the themes and the world, as well as some good characters and minor development. The action is completely down-played, which i don't mind since i'm not a fan of action anyway but even still, there never seems to be much of a strong climax in this movie. I feel there is so much more they could have done with this that they didn't do. There is also a lot left unsaid about the world they live in, a lot of plot holes start to form due to this missing information. I think they should stop focusing solely on Katniss and give a little more camera time for exposition and other characters (especially the more interesting characters)

Tough decision. I haven't seen the first one yet, and I don't feel like part of the target market, but everyone on Roger Ebert and Rotten tomatoes, is highly praising it, and it's I about time I finally admitted that my standards for movies aren't very high. Maybe I'll read the books first and see what I think then.

Phindin:
First off, regarding the criticism that there's all this build-up for new, deadlier characters to duke it out, only for them to die off screen: having the focus in the arena be on Katniss taking these people out one by one goes against the entire theme of the narrative. The majority of the tributes this time around are friends with each other. The theme deals with unity among the oppressed. This time the arena is responsible for killing most of the tributes because, again, it coincides with the prevailing "remember who the real enemy is" idea. So yeah, if all the tributes are murdering each other on screen in a crazy, bloody frenzy, that theme is totally ruined.

Instead, the tension relies on schemes going on behind the scenes. The Games this time around are advertised as a battle between a group of all-stars from previous Games, but in reality they're basically a bunch of screwed up people who are forced again into scrabbling to survive. So they band together and fight the system. Sorry Bob didn't get his Mortal Kombat, but the story aims for something different. He is also more or less blatantly lying when he says "all of those fun new characters get killed off screen." No they don't. A few of them do, but a couple of them die on screen, and a few of them join the "improve team" and end up being (in my opinion) entertaining and interesting with the screen time they're afforded.

The main problem with billing this as a battle between returning player, then killing them using the environment is that it creates expectations that aren't fulfilled; which makes the movie look poorly written. Seriously why is Hunger Games meant to be some sort of Battle Royale, when most people die due to the environment? Collins should have had the Hunger Games be a survival game where some contestants try to kill other contestants so the games will end quicker. That way no one would complain if it was entirely told from Katniss' perspective or that most people were killed by the environment. It would also make more sense for people to form teams.

Disthron:
Hmm.. I think your problem is that you are expecting Sarah Connor, action girl, and that isn't who Katniss is. I think that part of the point of the hole franchise is to NOT glorify violence. Katniss dose what she feels she needs to do to survive, and no more.

Sarah Conner wasn't an action girl. In the first movie she was a waitress who was trying to run away from a machine trying to kill her. It's only at the very end that she becomes an action girl due to the trials she faced. By contrast Katniss survives despite not developing in any way.

Your confusion about the dissonance between the tech of the dome and the need to keep the workers poor is probably because the people of the capital don't want to give up ANYTHING, even the tiniest concession or show of defiance is met with an execution. They have no concept of enough, so they are constantly trying to squeeze as much out of the working class as possible and if they could, they would give nothing back. So it's not really that they NEED to keep the working classes down, but they want to, so they can keep exploiting them as much as possible.

Why do they need a working class when they have complete control over animals? Why not use the animals as their working class or control the working class in the same way?

uanime5:

Why do they need a working class when they have complete control over animals? Why not use the animals as their working class or control the working class in the same way?

What makes you think they have "complete control"? Most of what they do can be achieved with basic training, doesn't mean they can start farming or mining for coal.

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