Ted and Maya went to see “Catching Fire” on Friday, and they liked it enough that they were willing to go see it again with me yesterday. Perhaps luckily for me, my memory is crap for books that I only read once…Gone With the Wind and Little House on the Prairie, I know every word. Catching Fire, I have vague impressions, though I know they were good and I was hooked and HAD to get into the next book asap. So it was although it was new to me, which I’ll admit, I enjoy.
Side note that the bad part of the film, for me, was that I didn’t eat any popcorn. Popcorn, to me, means popcorn and a coke. And I gave up coke a few weeks ago. Rats.
Aside from the no coke thing, the movie was GREAT. I mean, let’s assume you’ve seen (or read) The Hunger Games, so you know the story. If you haven’t, imagine yourself in a dystopian society, where the government punishes the 12 districts for their rebellion 75 years ago by taking 2 children from each district every year, and putting them all in a Roman coliseum style battle to the death. At the end of the first film, the main character, Katniss, and her provincial mate, Peeta, have both survived (against all odds, as only one is supposed to win). Katniss’s humanity towards the other children in the battle have inspired some in the other districts to have faith that they can rebel and conquer the evil Capital.
‘Catching Fire’ begins a year later, and we’re seeing some of the psychological wear and tear that such a battle has on the ‘winners’ (or as another important character says, there are no winners…only survivors). Katniss and Peeta both suffer from nightmares, and rebellion is indeed starting up in the districts, especially the poorer ones. The President needs a way to quell the rebellion, so he decides that the solution is to kill Katniss, publicly, and make her seem selfish and cruel in the meantime. So instead of picking the next group of children for The Hunger Games from the general population, they pick from the champions. So Katniss and Peeta are back in, trying to fight to the death.
The second movie could have been too similar to the first, too much of another battle, but instead, they changed things around enough to show the disquiet in the districts, the mounting unrest, and the fear within the capital.
The books were good, but the movies could have easily been crap, had they hired less talented actors. There is never an action movie feel to it, though it is definitely an action film. Because the actors are not behaving as action movie heroes, with wise-cracking quips and explosions everywhere, but instead are terrorized by their totalitarian state, and are at some level merely trying to stay alive, the movie works. You begin to see that the everyday person can be as much as a hero as the protagonist. All of these brave little acts of rebellion are inspiring, both to the audience, and of course to Katniss and Peeta. Catching Fire is the second of a trilogy of books, so of course it stops when you wish it would continue. The asshats in charge have decided to break the 3rd book into 2 movies. Greedy.