All original written content is (c) 2013 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The second, eagerly-awaited installment of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, CATCHING FIRE. For all you book-lovers, I never read the books so I just look at these as movies. Cause that’s what they are, got it?
- As with the first one, the costumes and clothes are absurdly awesome and over-the-top for the rich folk and suitably grungy-grimy for the lower folk. The movie title actually applies to the fashions!
- Better special effects. The only big fake animals are a herd of angry attacking baboons and they looked much better than the attacking animals of the last installment…apparently they didn’t run out of dough this time. Other stuff like the force field dome, the capital city shots and such all look great.
- Katniss is now over 18 so it’s okay to notice Jennifer Lawrence’s hot butt and perky boobies. (The way she’s clothed, you can’t help it anyway!)
- Her fellow District 12 fighter, Peeta, Pita or PETA or whatever his name, isn’t as much of a whiny schlep like last time. Still doesn’t kick ass like Katniss/Katkiss does, but he tries.
- The other tributes she allies herself with are good as well. Ladies will drip over Gale Hawthorne (THOR’s cousin, Liam Hemsworth) while the guys will drool over psycho-chick Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) who strips naked in an elevator with the two heroes; of course they don’t show anything due to the teeny-bopper demo audience, which of course is a “CON”. So is the addition of tribute Mags, who’d look more at home on a broom in a WITCH GAMES movie than here. Her partner has to carry her on his back, fer Pete’s sake! How long do you think she’ll last?
- Better story and plot. Although it’s sadistic what they do to the tributes (and poor Katniss), the “challenges” (or tortures) for the tributes are really clever and imaginative, as are their ways of dealing and overcoming them. Equally interesting is seeing how they figure things out.
- Good assortment of characters, including villains you have to hate: flagpole-up-his-butt-hardass-super-bully/sadist Commander Thread and President Snow will make you wish someone would put their heads thru windows. Repeatedly.
- Same cool types of gadgets and weapons. I’ll be asking Santa for some.
- Unlike the first one, they didn’t say, “May the odds be with you” a gazillion times. In fact, I think I heard it only once! So the filmmakers must’ve read Pascale’s review of the first film.
- Just because a book is a thousand pages long doesn’t mean every page needs to make it to the screen. The film feels like three hours long even tho it ain’t. Like THE HOBBIT, THOR and other films lately, this one suffers from “too much set-up”. The middle is just too long. After a while I began to wonder if they were going to actually have ANY games at all!
- I still don’t know whether Pan Am or Delta or whatever the name of the country this thing takes place in is actually on earth or another planet. If earth, there’s just no way this kind of society would develop. Americans are too P.O.ed at government as it is now, and armed on top of it, to ever allow this kind of regime to take hold.
- Katniss has the same logic issue as ARROW and Hawkeye of THE AVENGERS: arrows do not regenerate.
- We’re shown these expansive shots of the massive capital city, but nothing of the citizens outside of the government palace or whatever. How do the average cityfolk live in comparison to the rural districts? Are there stockbrokers, programmers, engineers, scientists, designers and office workers? Or just rich people having parties and poor people working in dirty mines?
- Ever see those cartoons where a guy has a heart attack or bad fall, and when he gets put into the ambulance, the door hits him on the head, and than as it drives away, the door swings open and the guy rolls out onto the highway and gets hit by a car? That’s pretty much the equivalent of what Katniss goes thru in the last part of the film. Pretty brutal way to treat your heroine.
- Speaking of the last part, the ending sucked. Did you see the first LORD OF THE RINGS where it ends on a cliffhanger? Same thing here-big revelation, then “bye-bye”! No spoilers here, but I want to warn you not to expect a decent, logical ending like the first one had. I know the book ends the same way but this ain’t a book. I’m paying seven or ten bucks for a MOVIE. Gimme a damn ending.
- No button at the end either, so feel free to take off once the credits begin. Thanks for nothin’!
If you’re a book fan, OWN IT. I know there’ll be all kinds of “extras” crap that’ll make the loyal squeal and squawk. For everyone else, RENT IT. It looks fantastic on the big screen, but if you wait till it’s a rental, you’ll be closer to the next installment and won’t have to rewatch it when the last chapter comes out.
Meanwhile, have your own Hunger Games when you watch it: every time Katniss shoots an arrow, have a chip or pretzel or jelly bean or bite of whatever you’re having. Whenever someone in the crowd holds up the never-explained-what-it-means three-finger salute, take a bite of whatever your buddy’s eating. Whoever has the most left of their own food has to buy the beer!
P.S.: How about an original art commission of a Hunger Games or other character, with or without bow or skintight costume? Pascale will give you a great Christmas gift for a friend or yourself. Just ask Craig here!