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Entries in Hunger Games: Catching Fire [2013] (1)

Tuesday
Nov262013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Dreams of a Plush Revolution

Though I've technically seen The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I may not be the best person to review it. Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, I nodded off at least twenty times. Since my recollection of these episodes is more vivid than that of the movie, I've decided to change things up a bit for this review. Presented here are a few genuine(ish) streams from my inner monologue.

Enjoy!

The main characters may live in a dystopian future--where everyone but the super-wealthy are enslaved miners--but at least they can afford to wear makeup and get their hair professionally done before setting out to hunt for dinner. Man, that Jennifer Lawrence sure is pretty. Look at those full cheeks, flush lips, and ample bosom. Wait, didn't her character almost die of starvation and anxiety a couple days ago? And is her boyfriend the Jacob or the Edward of this movie? Think I'll just call him "Supercuts". I don't remember the first film at all. ZZZZZZ...

Oh, hey! It's Donald Sutherland. God, he's good. I wonder how many tweens even know who the hell Donald Sutherland is. They probably think he's just some old guy who won a contest to appear in movies with Lawrence, the Greatest Actress in, Like, ForeverTM. Y'know, a lot of A- and B-list actors appear in these YA movies--probably hoping it's the next Harry Potter mega-franchise. I wonder who'll pop up next? Oh, shit! That really is Philip Seymour Hoffman! Did he take this gig to support his heroin addiction, or to pay to get out of it? Either way, he's the consummate actor. ZZZZZZ...

Why is Katniss Everdeen, who grew up in a police state that was founded on randomly selecting its youth for televised death matches, surprised when her public act of revolution winds up getting innocent people killed? Has she not been paying attention to politics--or the events of the first movie? Maybe the government spiked her fox-hunting lipstick with stuff that makes people sullen, whiny airheads. ZZZZZZ...

Stanley Tucci (cha-ching!), Elizabeth Banks (cha-ching!), Lenny Kravitz (cha-ching!), Toby Jones (cha-ching!), Jeffrey Wright (cha-ching!), Amanda Plummer (cha-ching!). ZZZZZZ...

At least the filmmakers have worked really hard to distance themselves from Battle Royale this time out. I like the "wrinkle" the government put into the games, wherein former champions must fight each other--instead of having little kids go at it. It's kind of like Survivor: All-Stars, more than anything else. What's that? Death zones popping up on the island based on the hour of the day? Forget everything I just said. ZZZZZZ...

I like how they've switched up the character dynamics from the first movie, instead of just rehashing everything we've already seen. I mean, sure, there's the opening set in the impoverished District 12; the selection process; the TV interviews; the training montage; and the extended fight scenes on death-trap island--but at least I don't have the same cliques of contestants to contend with. Like, in the first movie, there was a little girl who never spoke and ultimately sacrificed her life to save Katniss. In this one, it's an old lady. And they say there are no new ideas in Hollywood. ZZZZZZ...

Why don't I like this movie more? The TV commercials and early Internet reviews said Francis Lawrence has taken the franchise in a bold, new direction (or something). But this looks and feels like an exact copy of The Hunger Games. Okay, the CGI fire in this one is much better. I guess the budget's extra $70 million made all the difference. Or maybe that cash went directly into oiling the Phony Hype Machine? ZZZZZZ...

If half the people playing the games this time around are actually trying to protect Katniss--including the guy who designed the system--is that the quickest, most effective conspiracy ever devised? I mean, they would have had to have pulled all of this together in just under a week (assuming that much time has passed between films one and two)--even going so far as to plant a co-conspirator in the highest level of government. Oswald didn't act alone. ZZZZZZ...

Can I go yet? ZZZZZZ...

Is it unfair of me to compare this movie to After Earth? Catching Fire (the book) was written long before Will Smith's grand flop--I think--but the rampant similarities are ridiculous. I've now sat through two baboon attacks and two characters-struggling-with-poisoned-bubbling-blisters scenes in the last five months. Coincidence or not, this still sucks. ZZZZZZ...

Wow, this really has become Survivor--complete with prolonged stretches of people padding out the run-time by strategizing on the beach. ZZZZZZ...

You know what'd be really cool? If during this whole sequence where Jeffrey Wright is wrapping copper wire around a giant tree and having Katniss run the line out to the water (in anticipation of a lightning strike), Christopher Lloyd showed up dancing and screaming, "Eeeighty-eight miiiles per hoooooouuuuuuuuur!" ZZZZZZ...

Jesus, there are five more hours of this story left to tell? Note to the readers: Don't be surprised if you don't see reviews for The Hunger Games Part 3 (Part 1) and Part 3 (Part 2). ZZZZZZ...

I don't know if reading The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight counts as "reading books"--especially if the movies that come out of them are considered faithful adaptations by their fans. What garbage. ZZZZZZ...

Oh, shit! Looks like the Jacob just became the Edward! ZZZZZZ...

How much cooler would this movie have been if the filmmakers had actually shown the devastation described in its characters' dialogue, rather than staying focused on teens sleeping in the jungle or talking on the beach? "There is no more District 12, Katniss. They sent in ships to firebomb it. Everybody's dead, except for the few who went into hiding. By the way, how do you get your hair to stay so silky and vibrant in four-thousand-percent humidity?" ZZZZZZ...

When is the "honeycomb force-field" trend gonna die out? It's not cool anymore, and now I want cereal. Cereal, and the will to leave. ZZZZZZ...

I thought the stakes were supposed to be higher in this one? I'm pretty sure Katniss is going to be okay, as are the rest of the characters whose actors have signed multi-picture deals. Where's the drama? Why should I care? Didn't I see that same air-lift contraption in The Matrix? ZZZZZZ...

Wait, that Back to the Future tree scene was the climax of the movie? ZZZZZZ...

Oh, I get it! The Empire Strikes Back comparisons aren't figurative--they're literal. One of the main characters is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner; the rebel alliance is on the run; and the main character has now set her sights on regrouping to take down the evil empire. It's crazy how Katniss zips through the five stages of grief in as many seconds--ending with the determined, narrow-eyed stare and a sharp cut to black. It's a rallying cry for anyone who's ever been held back from true freedom, and a reminder that anything worth having is worth fighting and dying for. In your honor, Katniss Everdeen, I shall raise three fingers victoriously while taking a long, hard leak in this AMC's filthy john.