Full disclosure – I love the first movie, and speed through the books – so I am not a critic, I’m a fan… but not so much of a fan that I would tell you to see a crappy movie just because it’s the connecting movie of a trilogy of books. Plus, I think Jennifer Lawrence is a total nerdy babe.
Catching Fire burned my pants off yesterday when I saw a pre screening of it in L.A.
At least this time – unlike my misadventure during World War Z – I didn’t hit the stranger I was sitting next to in an impulsive moment of fear. (Although I almost did during the evil monkey part!)
From the beginning to the end, Catching Fire kept me (and my usually uninterested husband) captivated. It starts out in District 12 in the ‘Victor’s Village,’ which is very well set up as a desolate yet posh part of town, and immediately gets into the Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) verses Gale (Liam Hemsworth) love triangle. Personally, I’d choose both… but I guess in post Apocalypse America you can only have one hot husband.
They delve immediately into the Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) Hunger Games PTSD issue with a flash back that includes an unintended Turkey Tribute slaughter, showing that even though she won, she’s not alright. Her indifference to Peeta is slightly perplexing, especially because apparently he’s still baking that tasty bread.
When they learn that they’ll have to go back into the arena to fight past Victors, they finally come together and have to deal with their issues… eventually ending with Peeta in bed trying to sooth Katniss to sleep while on a train on tour across the districts.
Now the district tour was probably my favorite part of the movie – the end with the actual games portion can eat it. Plus, we all know what happens in the end. They fight, some die – your hands clench together, it’s stressful, lots of running, many near misses etc…
I will admit that the scene when they arrive at their first stop in District 11, and Katniss sees Rue’s face on a huge banner with her entire look-alike family standing right under it- made me cry uncontrollably. They do the honorable thing, and pay the price pretty graphically – a theme that they have to deal with for the next 20 minutes of the film. (Think rebellion!)
What I love about the movie is seeing how the director envisions the Panem world. It’s way more colorful and spectacular than I ever imagined reading the books. An interesting part for me was when Peeta is offered a drink by a party goer that he learns makes you sick, so you can eat more. Definitely a WTF moment, especially since Katniss has to climb through a potentially electric fence to hunt animals to sell on the black market (also a good part of the film! Black market debacle!)
ALSO – how do you sign up to be an extra in this film? I totally want to dress up like somebody from the Capital and pretend to be posh.
The costumes and make up are once again amazing. Trish Summerville the costume designer definitely stepped it up a notch, and Katniss’ red grand entrance eyes and red hot (literally) outfit smolder. Lawrence’s acting skills shine even when she’s only staring at President Snow. Hells yeah she’s mad – and he’s going to pay for it… she just doesn’t know how yet. (Is what her mega mean eyes say… without saying anything)
I admit, I totally forgot about the meeting of the Tributes part of the book – and when I heard Jena Malone was cast as a Tribute from District 7 – Johanna Mason I had no idea what that meant. But holy hell does she do a good job – her character is totally confusing – is she with Katniss, or against her? Is she gay or straight? (Does that really matter? Not really…) But after a bold striptease in an elevator, I was left even more confused by her character than ever. In the end, I will admit that no matter her sexual orientation or allegiance – she was smokin’.
When the almost two and a half hour movie finally ended I was crestfallen. The entire movie – even the annoying actual Hunger Games portion of it – was totally engrossing and packed with action and amazing visual candy. When she opened her eyes on the hover airplane with Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and other rebels (BTW totally didn’t see that coming… definitely have to read the book again) I thought, “Damn, I have to wait a whole year to see the first half of the ‘final’ movie?” I also thought, “How is that going to work… the last book was super boring!”