Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Late Movie Review Series #2 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Here is a second entry in my "Late Review Series." Although, I didn't wait for this one to be released on
Netflix and DVD. I went to a matinee showing today. I may actually start doing that because there's hardly nobody in the theater, and I could focus my attention well enough to be able to hear what was going on. That being said, lets get started!

I didn't review the first Hunger Games movie, but a friend of mine did. I am going to give my own brief review of the movie because its relevant in my feelings on this movie. First of all, my friend mentioned in his review that it was a glorified reality show with kids killing kids. He is right. That is what the show in the movie is all about. However, the underlying story is a government gone mad, that has to use fear of death to keep its subjects in line. The games are punishment to the oppressed people for trying to overthrow the tyrants in charge, who were literally starving them to death. Hence the term, The Hunger Games. Now, while I kept that in mind as I watched the first movie, I was still cringing, especially when an eight year old died.

The funny part about this movie as far as I was concerned was that I had no desire to see it at first until I was in a video store, and the cutie working there suggested it to me. I told her I wasn't interested because I had no desire to see another teen vampire movie. She laughed, and told me that it wasn't, which I made her swear on her job to. Once she swore, and gave me a brief synopsis of the film, I said "So, its Lord of the Flies meets The Running Man? She of course had no idea what I was talking about. I rented the movie, and enjoyed it for the most part. I quickly latched onto the story about the tyranny with its foot on the necks of the poor. I liked it, but it isn't something I would let a kid watch. If the movie were geared toward adults, I think my friend would have enjoyed it more. Actually, the movie for the most part WAS geared toward adults, but was marketed to kids. It didn't sink in as to just how much I liked the movie until a day or two later, when it hit me that the truthful words "In the not too distant future" could have easily kicked off the film at the rate humanity is going, which made me anxious to see the next chapter of the film.

Now, onto that next chapter. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The movie picks up right where the first film left off, with the heroine, Katniss Everdeen adjusting to becoming a celebrity. She and her co-winner, Peeta Mellark (who develops a backbone in this movie) are preparing to embark on the propaganda tour to spew programmed dribble about how great the government and the Hunger Games are.

What they are not expecting is a visit by the president (played by Donald Sutherland) who is waiting for them at the start of the tour. He is angry at how the two of them managed to survive the games, which seemed to be them giving the finger to the establishment. He is worried (as all dictators or wannabe dictators should be) about a spark igniting a revolution. He orders the pair to convince the masses on the tour that their 'love' was real, and that the pair were now part of the ruling class establishment. They reluctantly agree, and go on the tour reading scripts. But, the president isn't buying it. He orders a "wrinkle" in the games for the commemoration of the 75th games. Basically, the only people involved would be previous winners, who were supposed to have been free as a prize for winning. He wants to make sure that all the winners are wiped out, so that any potential spark that could ignite revolt are eliminated.
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and
doggonit, people like me!

He hires a diabolical game programmer, Plutarch Heavensbee to make the deadliest arena to date. And he delivers, with spine tingling results.

The whole movie focuses on the catch phrase "Remember who the real enemy is." Its kind of hard to forget, because of the showing of brutal control tactics used by the government to instill fear, and also a hatred of Katniss, who is targeted because she is the one blamed for inciting the rebellion. (although her fame is a direct result of the government.)

This movie could have easily been just a remake of the first one, but it wasn't. The stories are drastically different, and the only similarities are the selection of the game contestants, and the festivities leading up to the games...Of course more lavish, but there are differences there that make it interesting as well.

Congrats on your win!
 Now, we want to kill you again!
I'm not going to reveal it, but there is a twist in this movie. I'm pretty good at picking out things like that, and even I didn't see this coming. It is a twist that will make you 'hungry' for the next chapter to come out. I know I am. Once again, this movie is not for kids, but don't let that keep you from seeing this story of the oppressed rising up against a tyrannical government. If you haven't seen the first film, do it. Then, see this one. Katniss is a very believable heroine. In fact all of the characters make you love them or hate them, which is something missing in movies these days, where you'd just as soon see an alien come and eat all the characters, good or bad.

I'd say that this was my most anticipated movie of the year, and it delivered as far as I was concerned, and after seeing this one, both will soon be added to my DVD collection. If you view this movie as I did, as a look into something that could be headed our way, especially considering how kids are being brainwashed and raised to believe that violence is okay and not to mention how they are sexualized, then you will enjoy it in the sense that it will scare you in a very real 'disturbance in the force' kind of way.

Hollywood may have inadvertently made a movie about how the things that they glorify will more than likely turn out if left to their devices. That, to me is funny.

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