Escape to the Movies: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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wulf3n:

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.

Basic training can't conjure up animals out of thin air like they do in the movies. (Granted, I've only seen the first thus far, but those dogs were literally just thought up and made on the spot)

I've seen the obvious comparison to this film, Battle Royale and I have to say that is a much better film. Hunger games (not having seen this one) is very Hollywood, especially with the love thang.

It is a story about a group of kids who get sent off to some place to kill each other and only one walks away, that sounds like a fucking horror film. These Hunger games movies have all the violence off screen and cheesy love scenes on camera.

In the first film they are killing, mostly off screen (you see a girl stung to death and some blood squirts) and chasing/surviving, then (as I now like to call her) Catfish Jellybean stumbles across her district partner, where she carries him to a cave so the tenderness can happen. "leave me!" ... "I won't leave you here!" *que caressing the cheek, moving hair out the face, "you're putting cream on my leg but I am looking loving at you" scene* ... in the middle of a bubble of death! It's like the under age, out of wedlock soft core porn in Friday the 13th films but scaled back.

These films should be about 1 girl from the worst district (sounds like bleach, don't it?), managing to survive the hunger games! Not setting up the next twilight franchise.

Andrew Siribohdi:
A fair review. In defence 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.

The movie was too truthful to the books: they could have made it much more interesting action wise. Glad they fleshed out president snow's character though.

Gxas:

wulf3n:

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.

Basic training can't conjure up animals out of thin air like they do in the movies. (Granted, I've only seen the first thus far, but those dogs were literally just thought up and made on the spot)

The scene with the dogs can be interpreted in several ways. I just watched the scene after my post [had to confirm what I said :P] and it never specifically states they were created then and there.

There's a scene where a technician appears to be designing the dog, and the game supervisor says something like "Yeah that's good", but she could have just selected the dog from a list of animals they have.

As for them appearing out of thin air it never actually shows them spawning, so it could just as easily be they were in a holding cell under the arena.

It's probably explained better in the book which may confirm or deny either position, but I haven't read them.

I think going to see The Hunger Games for the violence/action is pretty much the most ironic missing of the point you can possibly make.

That is literally the way the Capitol treats the hunger games, they too would be disappointed they didn't get to see some good old-fashioned slaughter.

That's pretty much not what the story is about. The story is about class warfare, totalitarian regimes, celebrity culture, "bread and circuses" and, from the second installment onwards, the systematic destruction of the psyches of Katniss, Peeta and Gale, and their descent into absolute madness. The last installment (which is going to be divided into a two-parter because that's just the way Hollywood rolls now) is about the three main characters slowly spiralling into absolute insanity, particularly for Katniss (though Peeta isn't far behind), and how, by the end, her mind is roughly 90% trauma.

I think the marketing for these movies needs to stop trying to sell it as an "edgy action movie for teens" and start selling them as "futuristic version of your usual depressing war movie, with teens".

I'm engaged in the Hungry Games right now. An epic battle between worthy contenders for the grand prize.

I'm making a sandwich.

im guessing the reason everyone dies in these movies off screen or through the use of smash cuts is to lower the rating but then that begs the question of why they are making these movies at all

wulf3n:

Gxas:

wulf3n:

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.

Basic training can't conjure up animals out of thin air like they do in the movies. (Granted, I've only seen the first thus far, but those dogs were literally just thought up and made on the spot)

The scene with the dogs can be interpreted in several ways. I just watched the scene after my post [had to confirm what I said :P] and it never specifically states they were created then and there.

There's a scene where a technician appears to be designing the dog, and the game supervisor says something like "Yeah that's good", but she could have just selected the dog from a list of animals they have.

As for them appearing out of thin air it never actually shows them spawning, so it could just as easily be they were in a holding cell under the arena.

It's probably explained better in the book which may confirm or deny either position, but I haven't read them.

Na it actually worse in the books because they also resemble the tributes who died and have their eyes somehow. So they must have been made after the tributes were selected at the earliest.

Something that's been preying on my mind since Bob first reviewed this- what does Bob actually think of the Hunger Games books? I mean, during his review of Twilight: New Moon he admitted that yes, he had actually read the goddamn Twilight books (because to honestly criticise something you DO have to have actually experienced it) so I'd be VERY surprised if he hadn't actually read The Hunger Games (a vastly, vastly superior series to anything Stephanie Meyer could ever produce).

But although he says he'd like to like the Hunger Games movies, he doesn't really give any hint as to whether or not he's familiar with the original source material, or possibly whether he's deliberately suppressing his knowledge of it so as not to be biased into making excuses for the movie (which would taiunt his review of the movie as a MOVIE).

Considering that the Hunger Games books genuinely ARE rather good stories (albeit not for everyone) I'd be interested in knowing what his opinion of the franchise as a whole is.

Lord of the Flies is probably the more literary reference and it still stands up today.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies

Battle Royale manages to cover deeper issues in the film and still show action.

The Tomorrow series by Australian young-adult fiction author John Marsden follows seven teenagers who "missed" the start of an invasion by being away camping and have to survive and fight back. Yes, sort of like Red Dawn, but it follows the group for several years
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomorrow_series

If you just want the violence and gore there is the Machine Girl, Mutant Girls Squad and Tokyo Gore Police. For more serious social issues there is the movie "Suicide Club", but you have to be fully prepared to watch that film.

Watched it, liked it.

It is a very good drama, some social commentary with a bit of action (more going for suspense than over the top bloodfest).

Bob didn't seem to get it was a drama, not mortal kombat.

Darken12:
I think going to see The Hunger Games for the violence/action is pretty much the most ironic missing of the point you can possibly make.

That is literally the way the Capitol treats the hunger games, they too would be disappointed they didn't get to see some good old-fashioned slaughter.

That's pretty much not what the story is about. The story is about class warfare, totalitarian regimes, celebrity culture, "bread and circuses" and, from the second installment onwards, the systematic destruction of the psyches of Katniss, Peeta and Gale, and their descent into absolute madness. The last installment (which is going to be divided into a two-parter because that's just the way Hollywood rolls now) is about the three main characters slowly spiralling into absolute insanity, particularly for Katniss (though Peeta isn't far behind), and how, by the end, her mind is roughly 90% trauma.

I think the marketing for these movies needs to stop trying to sell it as an "edgy action movie for teens" and start selling them as "futuristic version of your usual depressing war movie, with teens".

Yes, you get it. If you want the bloody spectacle, you are the crowd of the capitol. You want your blood, you want to feed vicariously off the suffering. The real story is the drama and the struggle of a small group, and their friends to survive in the face of this consuming totalitarianism.

Griffolion:
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.

Other critics have already pointed this out. I think Bob is agreeing with what he has read.

Holy poop, the film has similarities to Battle Royale, we get it. Its stunning to see how many people are spouting this as if its some sort of profound piece of hidden knowledge.

image

Bob's review this time round seems surprisingly... "American" this time round; 'Need more violence, more killings, more fights', I expected something a bit classier. Ah well.

Viewing the Hunger Games purely as a film series, I got the impression that the second is very much one of these films that could be done with having the third to hand to watch straight after. I guess the true basis to consider when judging it is whether the film should be made in such a way that someone could watch it without seeing the first film or be able to see any of the upcoming ones, or if it should be judged as part of a whole.

Fasckira:
snip

Are you fucking surprised? A group of kids get plucked from their normal lives to kill a selection of other kids till only one walks away from it. Which film did I just describe? It was actually Battle royale 'cos almost nobody dies in hunger games, they just don't want more screen time.

If you want a film about class warfare watch Elysium, does it great! Hunger games is more about the relationship between Catfish and the two boys. They can frame the class warfare in loads of settings but they choose a battle to death with no fighting?

It makes no sense to do it that way, they have a premise that is just a backdrop ... instead of a fight for survival, it's "who will get the girl" 'cos there just aren't enough of them! It's a more romantic drama than action thriller.

People are in love with the IDEA of The Hunger Games (as the "anti-Twilight) more than the actual Hunger Games story itself...which it's time for all of us to admit is pretty damn flaccid and boring. All the INCREDIBLY ON THE NOSE, black and white, faux-sociopolitical subtext just feels like a bunch of shorthand to try and make us feel something from our otherwise bland and not very interesting leading lady who doesn't really have much of a character of her own beyond "strong independent womaaaan!" Oh and she's in a love triangle, because OF COURSE she's in a fucking love triangle. (Why does Peeta "love" Katniss again? No reason? Okay...)

It's the same problem I had with this Tomb Raider reboot: she's a "grrtoughgirlgrr" that has the world consistently beat the shit out of her, but is able to survive through it cuz she gets to shoot weapons and stuff. And oh look she cries sometimes! So that's means character development!

That's's all I got from new Lara Croft, and that's all I'm getting from Katniss Everdeen.

Pretty sure all the elaborate make-up and dresses is a patently obvious reference to a little event touched upon in traditional class warfare theory, called the French Revolution, rather than a crusader's call to march on San Francisco.

...but it wouldn't be very important and socially responsible criticism if one didn't take into account the subconscious political effects such run-of-the-mill fiction might (...as in, completely baseless and empirically unfounded speculation that it might at some point affect someone to some degree) have on the ignorant masses, would it now?

Sorry if I hit on anything someone already said... im a bit late here (there are half a dozen pages of comments). I'm a fan.. maybe not as "into it" as some, but I can dig the subversive narrative, and the core concept. I did enjoy the books quite a bit, and I thought the author captured the whole helpless, moody teenager thing fairly well... That said the movies (the 1st more so than the sequel) suffer the same problem the harry potter movies did, becoming more visual companions for the people who read the books than stand alone movies on their own. That isn't to say that people can't find enjoyment in the films having not read the books, but a lot of those gaps/questions that Bob brought up are blanks that are filled in in the books or things that will be revealed later, or things that got left on the cutting room floor. Now you can argue that means that the production team did a poor job adapting the movie from the books, that's a legitimate gripe, but you can't hold issues you'd have with the book (pacing) against the film. Flaws within the source material aren't going to be fixed when it comes time to make a movie.

Now the real issue I have is the pacing of the film as a whole.. basically dragging through the first 2/3 of the film prior to the games and then cutting the movie short of what happened in the 2nd book... It feels to me that what they going to do is split the end of book 2 and the last book into 2 movies in order to wring every last penny they can out of this series.

Sounds to me like the movie struggled particularly with trying to be a deep action flick. Some of the metaphors and in-world mechanics worked, but sometimes you could spot holes. Some parts were viscerally thrilling and cool, but you were disappointed when badassery failed to follow.

Upon initial consideration, I didn't see the lack of epic combat as a problem, for the relentless running away/hiding served to establish that the gamemakers really were trying to kill off as many of the tributes as quickly as they could, hitting them with every danger in the arsenal, so to speak. But the reveal that

makes that defense a little weak, or at least confusing.

Yes, The Hunger Games trilogy is no masterpiece. The writing isn't even as good as that in Harry Potter. But I still hold it to be a compelling story with special emotional and ideological resonances for current audiences. Certainly I would choose it over Twilight any day.

Semi-related question: Is something like The Avengers better than Catching Fire because of the action? the screenplay? the story? what is it?

Having now seen the film, I got to contrast it with the criticisms Bob brought up. I can't say I agree with him in most cases. For instance, I didn't get the impression that the movie was setting up some cool, Mortal Combat death match between all the colourful characters. Sure it would be cool to see the axe girl have an extended fight scene with the trident guy, but that would be all it would be; cool. It would defeat the message of the movie, the point of the story being that people fighting to the death is not cool.

Similarly, I felt that Bob missed the mark with Katniss, and made an unfair comparison to Samus' butchered character. The difference between the two is that Samus was previously established as a badass loner, later betrayed by the pathetic, submissive and dependant incarnation. ON the other hand, Katniss was never a one woman army. Though she is good with a bow, she isn't Rambo, and she isn't going to cut down dozens of mooks. Katniss can barely cope with the odds she is up against. She is always scared, troubled, and on her back foot. That she is still able to keep going against such adversity makes her a badass. A different kind of bad ass that I find compelling in its own way.

Finally, the part about the potentially offensive othering of the flamboyant, foppish and effeminate capital folk? I think that suggestion is undercut by some of them being sympathetic. Even the air-headed woman had hidden depths and a likeable side. That they are superficial, vain and flamboyant is consistent with an oppressive, rich society that has no concerns outside of conspicuous consumption. Labouring slaves don't get to have make up.

I thought it was a good movie. Like the previous one, it takes a little longer to get to the games than I would like, but a lot of the more interesting questions get asked during the pre-game preamble (such as the cost of rebellion, the long term effects of surviving the games, the insidious way in which the survivors are co-opted into quisling roles etc.) A bigger budget means they got to fixing the shitty CGI and shaky cam issues from the previous movie. The main complaint is just how abruptly it ends, cleaving off what feels like a proper climax in place of a brief set up for the next two movies. I assume that's how it ends in the books, though as books, they have the benefit of being able to cram as much introspection as they like into the story's end.

The Dubya:
People are in love with the IDEA of The Hunger Games (as the "anti-Twilight) more than the actual Hunger Games story itself...which it's time for all of us to admit is pretty damn flaccid and boring. All the INCREDIBLY ON THE NOSE, black and white, faux-sociopolitical subtext just feels like a bunch of shorthand to try and make us feel something from our otherwise bland and not very interesting leading lady who doesn't really have much of a character of her own beyond "strong independent womaaaan!" Oh and she's in a love triangle, because OF COURSE she's in a fucking love triangle. (Why does Peeta "love" Katniss again? No reason? Okay...)

It's the same problem I had with this Tomb Raider reboot: she's a "grrtoughgirlgrr" that has the world consistently beat the shit out of her, but is able to survive through it cuz she gets to shoot weapons and stuff. And oh look she cries sometimes! So that's means character development!

That's's all I got from new Lara Croft, and that's all I'm getting from Katniss Everdeen.

I think you misread both Lara and Katniss. Though they are indeed strong and independent, they display those qualities in ways totally different from the lazy, kung-fu kicking waifs of a Joss Whedon movie or indeed, the previous Tomb Raider games. Basically, instead of showing how much ass they can kick every moment they are on-screen, the emphasis is on how vulnerable, scared, broken and god damn overwhelmed they are by their circumstances. That's not to say they are weak; the fact that they can still keep going and ultimately triumph in each situation is what makes hem strong and independent. This is diametrically opposed to the usual, where women are depicted as super-amazon fighters who crush their male opponents up until they get incapacitated by a mild tap on the arm and need rescuing by the real male hero of the story.

OK, maybe I'm waaaaaay too many days too late into this thread, but I just say the movie yesterday. I haven't read the books, I just recently saw thr first movie for the first time, and I haven't ever seen Battle Royale, which apparently is some thing people over here are such fans of that every other piece of fiction about death matches should emulate, regardless of the intention, audience, or themes involved. It's my experience that echo-chamber effect among anime fans tends to warp the apparent value of those works in comparison to my personal sensibilities.

But anyway.

I have no idea where Bob is coming from. Actually, as of late I just can't follow Bob's movie reviews anymore. I'd defaulted to mentally not agreeing, and then seeing if I was right after I see the movie. As a reviewer, Bob has drifted away from usefulness for me. In retrospect, the whole "Big Picture" episode about critique starts to seem more like a setup to justify posing more taste about movies as actual critique about movies.

For example, I see a lot of "it needed more action" coming from Bob, and other posters. Why? The whole point was that none of what goes on in the games is pleasant for anyone, just that some who can manage the ordeal better have higher odds of surviving. Even if you make it out alive, they still manage to rid you of your former self. It's quite true "there are no winners, only survivors". Making cool or over the top action scenes just ungrounds that whole part of the story. If a lot of that happens offscreen it's because we're following one person's journey, not the omniscient entity that sees all, though we do get some cutaways to that to carry the plot forward. Again, I don't see why this is inherintly bad or uncool or anything. It just is that way because the source material is that way. Bob is always going on about faithful adaptiations and whatnot. I can tell this is pretty faithful adaption. But since the source material is not to Bob's liking, being faithful here is a no-no.

Also, the whole anti-gay is stupid, even is sarcastically implied. I'm gay. I don't read that at all. It's about stupid and pointless decadence. The visual style, while slightly modernized for viewing audiences, repeats the motifs we've seen all through history: Egyptian pharoahs, Chinese emperors vs peasants, Frech monarchy (or well....all of European monarchies) vs their subjects, etc, etc, all the way to gaudy TV and Hollywood celebrities (like Lady Gaga) to the working class. It's always been there. There isn't any gay in there. All critics, including Bob, that try to turn into that are in desperate need of history brush-ups because their current day myopia is showing.

Finally, while I find the whole setup of the Hunger Games society a little hard to believe, I can sort of see how people would allow themselves to be oppressed for so long, since it has happened in real life too. I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of the ride, like I do for other works of fiction. So far I haven't seen some fatal self-incoherecies. Yet in Bob's view (and many others) here it's so much harder to do than for far more ludicrous works.

I could go on and on, but this is just one more sign of decreasing quality of this show. There used to be more film-making insights or meanderings in Escape to the Movie, but this show has turned into more Big Picture than critique.

Liked the first one, just came back from the 2nd one and cannot wait for the final one. No idea what Bob is faffing about. I don't even remember his review but he pretty much suggested against watching it so who gives a shit.

I am also not even gonna bother coming up with counter-points to Bob's points cause someone in here is bound to counter-counter it and the thing will go on and on, like the last time I dropped an argument about ANYthing on the Hunger Games.

Bottom line: Bob's entitled to his opinion, even though in my opinion, his opinion (on this particular movie) sucks. Took a girl to the movie, we both liked it, she put her head on my shoulder, I win.

katsabas:
Liked the first one, just came back from the 2nd one and cannot wait for the final one. No idea what Bob is faffing about. I don't even remember his review but he pretty much suggested against watching it so who gives a shit.

I am also not even gonna bother coming up with counter-points to Bob's points cause someone in here is bound to counter-counter it and the thing will go on and on, like the last time I dropped an argument about ANYthing on the Hunger Games.

Bottom line: Bob's entitled to his opinion, even though in my opinion, his opinion (on this particular movie) sucks. Took a girl to the movie, we both liked it, she put her head on my shoulder, I win.

I am with you. Just saw it, darn good movie. People who haven't read the books, would like it. Well they should watch the 1st one. This is much better than the first one. And I suspect Bob doesn't actually get it. Moving on then.

So much in the book and so little movie to put on it. They tried to put some relevant parts, but they left several good ones and others more important. I don't think they showed how the rebellions on the districts affected the citizens from the capitol. They didn't give to Katniss her stylists group from the capitol (a trio whom she grew fond of). And worst, THEY DIDN'T SHOW HOW HAYMITCH WON THE HUNGER GAMES AS A KID!

PS: 200th

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