Marcey: Hello to our readers and welcome back to another conversational review! Marcey here with my sista from another mista Bea!
Bea: Meow and hello! 😀
So, what Hell shall we havoc?
Marcey: Well m’dear we are here to discuss the latest in The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. The film of course, as it makes its away across the world for release.
Bea: Oh, you mean the one with the awesome chick who isn’t Bella Swan?!
Marcey: Yes the one with the chick who has emotions and a purpose, yes there may be a love triangle but it’s believable and that isn’t quite central to a story that makes no sense like Twilight.
Bea: Actually, before we start, I want to make something clear to pretentious hipsters everywhere- while Hunger Games does in some ways owe to Battle Royale, that is not what inspired Collins to write the novel. In short, she was inspired by how powerful and absurd the concept of celebrity is, what people would do to get some attention and how heavy-handed the news is. Oh, and also, Collins herself said that she based the idea of the games and the concept of Tributes to the Greek myth of the Minotaur.
But instead of a half man, half bull monstrosity, we are given something much worse- the ugliness of human nature.
Marcey: I hate the comparisons and they are quite different, there elephant in the room has been addressed WOOOO
Bea: Gird your loins and limber up folks, 🙂 ohh err. But anyway, Marcey and myself within days of each other caught the second installment and we are gonna jabberjay our thoughts with you. Spoilers may ensue, so fair warning to those who haven’t read the books and haven’t yet seen the film.
Marcey: So lets get started with a short synopsis, after the first film Katniss and Peeta are back in District 12 and are going to embark on a tour. Little do they realise they started something with their victory during The Hunger Games, the repressed and heavily controlled people now have hope. President Snow wants none of this as a he plans a way to either get rid of Katniss or forever ruin her image to those who see her as a symbol of hope.
Bea: And soon, all of Panem will find out the power of the will. I feel this aspect is something we can all relate to- defying oppression and “Sticking It To The Man”. Several folks have mentioned that “Catching Fire” is the “The Empire Strikes Back” for Hunger Games and they’re correct- as with the space saga, the status quo is altered incredibly, with victories and losses beginning to occur on both sides. Katniss is beginning to feel the fire of rebellion stir within her, something she wouldn’t have dared thought about when we first met her back in “Hunger Games”. But now, she is realising just what sort of game she is being made a part of, and despite her immediate impulses, she isn’t going to walk away after she has seen just what she has done.
Marcey: I may add that Katniss is now really seeing the power that those are holding over them, especially those in the poor districts, such as her own. With more ‘peace keepers’ coming in and causing scenes when anyone steps out of line. It is when Gale gets a lashing that I believe the fire really begins to burn within her for justice and rebellion.
Bea: Yeah, as if world up until this point wasn’t enough to make one question just who is in control. Off the bat, props must go to Lawrence because again, she bullseyes Katniss. What I enjoy about her is that while in person she comes off as a goofball, she knows when and how to turn on the serious, and that ability shines when she steps into the ragged boots of Katniss.
Marcey: She really is the heart and soul of these two films, and well we can say the series at this point. Its easy to get on board with Katniss, not only is she extremely well written she really is an actress who embodies the characters she plays.
Bea: Lawerence understands her role and the impact that it has had on readers and audiences. She doesn’t portray her role as some cypher, she’s a person. She’s a person in an unreal situation, but just as you said, she is the heart and soul, the anchor of the franchise, both on screen and on page. And it’s obvious that Lawrence wants to set a good example to young female teenage readers, always a plus. She is somebody you can get behind. Her character has been accused of being cold, but it’s not that she doesn’t care- she has had to seal her emotions in some type of mental tomb throughout her rough life. When that emotion does comes, it’s subtle and it means something.
Marcey: There are so many scenes in this film where she shows a lot of emotion, when a riot is caused during the tour and the ‘peace keepers’ kill a protester. The lashing scene with Gale and when she thinks Peeta might die. I mean seriously people, thats emotion and its hard hitting. Katniss does fight for something, she stands for someone and it isn’t something superficial and is a good role model.
Bea: Speaking of those lousy Peacekeepers, Donald Sutherland’s President Snow is a douchecanoe to the highest order.
What makes him such a bastard is that he PLAYS with people, it’s not “Business, business, business” he derives sick pleasure from the Games and suffering in general.
Marcey: He plays, it is all a game to him. A game of control, much like in todays society, the rich remain that way and the poor get poorer. There is so much in the way of satire and society parallels it’s great actually.
Bea: Yeah, plus, the name “Snow” can be associated with purity, meanwhile this is NOT what Snow is about. He sees Katniss as a major threat. He doesn’t see a teenager, he sees a nemesis.
The song “Asshole” by Denis Leary springs to mind…
Marcey: Much like in The Empire Strikes back actually, Luke Skywalker is a huge threat and they want to turn him to the dark side or kill him. Basically the same thing here actually.
With its own twists
Bea: There are similar aspects at work, but “Catching Fire” is certainly it’s own entity.
Marcey: Very much so, they are about different things. They have their parallels though, and I like that.
Bea: BTW, I am an absolute fan of costumes, every movie I watch, especially futuristic or period films, I take special note of what the characters wear, and in Panem, every body in the Capitol is a slave to fashion.
It’s made no secret that this entire society is based off the Greco- Roman empire complete with Greco-Roman names: Seneca, Coriolanus, Plutarch…
Marcey: Effie is the queen though, that girl can work anything! Props to Elizabeth Banks in the role.
Loved the butterfly number!
Bea: I like how each district had their own fashion sense, or in some cases lack thereof, for example, Finnick Odair :p
Marcey: I think we all now love Finnick (well film version) and can we add great casting choice there, as with all the new additions.
Bea: Girls, crush on Sam Clafin as Finnick, then you will understand what a man is.
Marcey: Trust me I was.
Bea: And speaking of crushes, Jena Malone was wonderful as the acerbic Johanna Mason. I’ve loved Malone for a while so when she was announced, I smiled like a kid in a candy store.
Haha, nice outfit you’re almost wearing, Finnick.
Marcey: There was a lot of backlash when she was announced, I thought she was fantastic!
Bea: Haha, you can’t please everybody, but Malone, to me, was Mason. She had the spunk, the pluck and the downright cajones to play that role. She’s just so blunt. Awesome hair too.
That’s another thing- many of the female characters, Katniss, Johanna, are strong types. They fight for the right to live, though they don’t always mean well, such as the scary Enobaria, but call me refreshed to see this cast of interesting characters with the X chromosone.
Marcey: We actually do get really great and strong female characters. But all of the characters that we get to see have their strengths and weaknesses too. They do feel human, in a very dire situation.
Bea: Considering they could all die at any moment.
Marcey: Indeed, and I might add the new characters were cast well. I loved, and I mean LOVED Jeffrey Wright here.
Bea: Yes, I was just about to mention our current Felix Leiter. 😀
I like also how all the Tributes AREN’T young and strong, you get a variety of different ages, which ups the stakes. In the first film, the Tributes were around the same age, give or take 5 years, but here, anybody can be drafted for the Quell (as it’s referred to)
Marcey: YES! The age range was fantastic, like Mags. Poor Mags *cries* and having like Jeffrey Wright and mutha fuckin Amanda Plummer bitch!
Bea: And also, you come to know why they were selected- some were drafted, others volunteered to save a loved one, much like what Katniss did to spare Prim in the first game.
Marcey: Another fantastic element as well. The scene where District 12’s tributes get chosen is heartwrenching to say the least.
Bea: Because they can’t say no.
If they do *runs finger across throat*
Speaking of a gruesome death, how about the new Arena?
Marcey: Excellent, well done and it definitely kept me guessing since I have not read the book. I liked how certain things came into play, like advice Katniss had gotten ect.
Bea: Which once again hits home just how sadistic this ‘tradition’ is, all held for entertainment. You might know where the nation of Panem got it’s namesake, right?
Marcey: I don’t actually
Bea: It comes from the Latin phrase “Panem etcircenses” which literally means “Bread and circuses”. The idea is to entertain people and give them bread in order to keep them occupied, making them oblivious to the bigger problems of the world.
Marcey: Makes perfect sense too, the games are so well controlled they can do what they like. And yes they get to feed those who put their names in for the games for than once.
Bea: Give the people food, keep them happy.
Marcey: Yeah I basically want to strangle this world
Bea: Did you have any problems or issues with the film?
Marcey: Not really actually, perhaps a little long but I rarely felt it. I know people had issues with the first with the shaky cam and they didn’t have that this time around but it didn’t bother me there and I liked the way this was shot.
Bea: The format suited the story, it wasn’t shaky just to be ‘edgy’
Marcey: I’d say both films had a style that worked for them
Bea: I suppose the only ISSUE I had was that a lot of the rebellion rested it’s hopes on what Katniss did in the Arena and how she performed. What if something terrible happened to Katniss? Like when they were running from that dreadful acid cloud, imagine if she tripped and was consumed by the acid. I understand they need a figurehead for their cause, but still, that was a lot of pressure on Katniss.
Marcey: She was basically the only hope for the people, so yes the pressure was on for her and it made sense to me.
Bea: Then again, we wouldn’t have a story if that had happened.
Did you also snarl when poor Lenny Kravitz got hauled away to presumably be beaten? Just goes to show how shitty the Peacekeepers are :p
Marcey: Yes I was devestated
Bea: Cinna was perhaps the first glimpse of hope in the Capitol Katniss experienced.
And he knew the innate shittiness of what was going on, he made no secret of disclosing this to Katniss when he was making her over.
BTW, doesn’t Stanley Tucci have FABULOUS outfits? :p
Marcey: Who didn’t have a fabulous outfit? Seriously, Oscar for costumes man!
Bea: Yep, I’m calling it. The extravagant absurity of those clothes reminded me of “Amadeus”.
Marcey: And their lavish parties, I think Gatsby put them on :p
Bea: The opulence of the society was grotesque but also humorous, probably because that IS our society. You see those fashion shows with models wearing those ri-DONK-ulous outifts? Holy shit, what planet are they from?
Marcey: Haha this one? Anyway time to wrap up, what’s your rating?
Bea: 4/5, for sure. Definitely worth a watch, and it goes to show just why so many folks follow this fandom. The book is done justice, the movie does itself justice and I am invested in the series. Looking forward to “Mockingjay” 1 and 2.
Marcey: I am leaning towards 4.5/5, I loved it and I want to see it again and bring on Mockingjay
Bea: And more Finnick!