SPOILER ALERT (OK, candidly there is not a whole lot to spoil – but if you read this you will not need to see the movie – and I encourage that)
I can sum up this movie for you and spare you 2.5 hours of not a whole lot. Summary: “We’re making a third movie.” In fact it was over 3 hours at the theater because where I saw it they said, “Hunger Games? Oh, we will show twice as many trailers and twice as many Geico commercials for this one!!” Know the limits people!! Sheeeeesh!
Yup… for serious, “we’re making a third movie” is the ONLY reason the 2nd movie exists. I don’t read books before seeing movies, in general. So, if the creators expected that I was a franchise die-hard that reads the book, follows the tweets, and laps the milk from the dog bowl of district “hunger games” (or is it a cat bowl? do dogs drink milk? I digress)…anywhoddle, yah got the wrong guy. Speaking purely from a “I want to see a movie” perspective, there is likely a LOT more explanation in the book, and the movie felt fractured, repetitive and underdeveloped.
Listen, any time a movie beats the viewer over the head with (as my cousin put it) “this is the HIDDEN MEANING of THIS scene” it is kinda annoying, but movie-goers likely expect some of it as a way to cater to a broad audience at different levels of film-appreciation capability. This film, however, took the symbolism bludgeoning to a whole new level. It was like symbolism crossed with one of those anime action scenes that repeats from 6 different angles…we got the same message over and over.
Catching Fire was like the first movie of the last Harry Potter book… it accomplished whole lot of nothing and made a whole lot of money. From a story-telling perspective, that’s a fail. But from a business perspective, it could count as a success, as long as the pattern isn’t repeated so often that the viewers can predict when they will be cheated.
When converting literature to film, there is no formula. But safe to say, someone shoulda looked at that screenplay and said, “this aint right.” Either they didn’t bring the right content forward from the book, or that book was like the one in the Narnian Chronicles… been a while, but I think it was “Prince Caspian”, or was it “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”? The one where they sat around talking the whole time and not a whole lot happened. Yeah, that one.
By the time we reach the last scene where Catnip is all angry because she finally realizes there is going to be a revolution, I felt like saying “Duh!! Welcome to Obviousville!!” Everytime her character said “this doesn’t make sense,” I punched myself in the face to ease the pain I would feel if I just, well, didn’t punch myself in the face.
I can only imagine it is allowance money that enables the 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, or Must Go! Fandango rating… crazy. If you want a flick that is fun, involves a class-battle, and has lots of fun special effects…go check out Elysium!