Writers: Suzanne Collins(book) Simon Beaufoy and Michel Arndt(screenplay)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Clafin, Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks
This month I have seen just two movies in theatres. First, I saw Thor 2 the day after it came out. I have not reviewed this movie yet just because I wasn’t really impressed with it. I liked the first one but this second one wasn’t as spectacular at it could have been. You still hate Loki and that is about it. But the biggest box office hit(maybe Superman is up for best summer film) is without a doubt the second installment of the Hunger Games. I spent this past summer reading lots of books that were movies and this time I was able to read Catching Fire before seeing it. The books really do stay close to the movies and when this film ended I had a feeling it would end that way.
Overview/Plot: Catching Fire picks up after the end of the first book. Katniss Everdeen(Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark(Josh Hutcherson) have won the 74th annual Hunger Games and in an act of “rebellion” Katniss almost took her life with deathly berries. Both surivived when it really should have been one. The whole world thinks they are in love, and are lovers and that is why they were willing to kill themselves then live seperate from each other. Katniss resemebles the survivor in all of us. She is the human with a strong will, with perseverance, and with the decency to do the right thing. She does not want to be a killler she just wants to live. Effie says to her(in light of winning the games) ‘You have earned it, Katniss says, ‘by killling people?’ And that hits home with all of us. There is nothing morally right in these books and movies that sets easy with us. Kids fighting til death just to entertain the rich and arrogant people who could care less of the dystopian society that they have created. Catching Fire begins with President Snow threatening to take Katniss and her family out of the equation if she tries to defy the capitol ever again. Snow( and maybe everybody else) doesn’t believe that Katniss is really in love with Peeta, so she needs to show them that they are serious. Later they tell Caesar Flickerman that they got married and that Katniss is pregnant. Of course, this is all just to keep them alive. Haymitch says ‘You never get off this train’ meaning, they will be oppressed like this forever.
The 75th games are called the Quell games which is a 25 year celebration games for all the victors from all the districts. So, they go back into the arena but this time against the best of the best. Peeta volunteers for Haymitch and so be it it is Katniss and Peeta for district 12 yet again. Just before the games start Cinna gets captured and beat up for making a Mockingjay dress for Katniss to wear. President Snow does not a revolution to take place. He does not want the people to riot against him but that is exaclty what is slowly starting to take place in this movie. The victors even hold hands and unite just before they enter the arena.
The games take place and Finnick becomes the friend of all. Lots of people die which is how it always go. The deathly smoke and crazy monkeys almost kill them but the contenders figure out that a huge clock is ticking and controlling the resistance to them. What Katniss doesn’t know is that Plutarch and everyone else are behind a coup of the capitol and a overthow of Snow and his oppression. The games end with a dramatic twist. Peeta gets captured(which is what Katniss never wanted). Katniss gets rescued and it seems as if nuts and volts and Finnick and Joanna Mason all survive( I am only 200 pages into the next book) but the ending, o, how the ending I knew was coming. Gale says ‘there is no more district 12’ and the anger and the pain is seen in her face as then it fades to black. We have to wait a whole year to find out what is next.
My final thoughts: I am probably leaving out a ton of detail and I even took notes on my phone in the darkened movie theatre but I think it is important to note the reasons of the popularity. Why is the Hunger Games such a huge success.? It baffles me to think of why Twilight was such a hit. I mean, really, vampires eating each other and a teenage girl loving them and then eventually becoming one of them?? Really guys? But Hunger Games is a little deeper. Yes, it does appeal to the teenage crowd. Katniss represent youth and so does Gale and Peeta and really all of the careers, and other contestants. But human, human is what makes any story realistic.
If what you are seeing rings true to the human part of you then the story hooks you and keeps you interested and invested. Hunger Games is about oppression. You see the conditions of these people. Katniss tells Prim ‘how do people live like this,’ and Prim says, ‘this is not living.’ And the poor and the mistreated will always get our attention. We will always be concerned with wanting justice. Most of the time revenge replaces justice or revenge is justice. One man defeating the system because the system killed his parents( ahhh…Batman?) and now its time to be vindicated. Fighting back, surviving and even in the end, doing more than surviving that is what keeps us into it. These books and films want the humans to lose and the ignorant, arrogant, full of themselves bad guys(Caesar Flickerman’s hysteric laugh and Snow’s tyranny) will lose in the end.
Favorite line: President Snow says: “Fear does not work, as long as they have hope!”
Fun Fact: Francis Lawrence went on a Breaking Bad binge watching while filming this movie and used it to create the cliffhanger at the end.
(Director Francis Lawrence with Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth)