Guys, thanks for following along with movie season, which ends today with this review of Catching Fire.
I will still go see movies. I will still review movies. Just, not as many, and no more rankings. I’m also going to write a wrap up, explaining the final rankings and what I’ve learned from this process. Isn’t that exciting?
Anyway. Catching Fire.
I have complicated feelings towards The Hunger Games series. I read the entire trilogy the summer after I graduated from college. The other things I binged on that summer were A Song of Ice and Fire and Mad Men. So, I came into September with a very bleak view of human nature. I was pretty much just like, “Dude, everything sucks. People are the worst.” I recovered by rereading Narnia, because, well, it’s very positive.
Anyway, I remember seeing the first movie, but it didn’t make much of an impression except that Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson were awesome. (I’m actually watching it right now, I should have watched it before I went, but I chose sleeping and eating instead.)
Catching Fire was my favorite book in the series, for the same reason that Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire is my favorite book in that series, and Eclipse is my favorite Twilight, and A Feast For Crows is my favorite Song of Ice and Fire. I’m weird that way. Also, I dig world building.
Catching Fire like the rest of this series is unbelievably bleak. I’m not going to get too into plot, because when I tried to I just went on and on. I’ll talk about instead the things I was looking forward to seeing, and that I really liked.
I was so excited to see The Victory Tour. The juxtaposition of Katniss and Peeta’s attempts to distract the people and their growing unrest is handled beautifully. Jennifer Lawrence continues to be incredible, and it’s especially noteworthy that Katniss is not a particularly loveable character. She’s self righteous and petty, and takes everything so much for granted.
But Lawrence makes you root for her at the very least.
Yes, the story belongs to Katniss, but the movie doesn’t belong to Lawrence. It belongs to Woody.
I love Woody Harrelson. I love Cheers, and Zombieland and his half a season jaunt on Will and Grace as Grace’s feckless but loving boyfriend Nathan. I love the work he does here, in particular the way that Haymitch understands both of his young charges, and the way it’s telegraphed (as I’ve always believed) that although Peeta is the love of Katniss’s life, and Gale her annoying high school boyfriend, but Haymitch is her soul mate. They’re cut from the same cloth and it’s a relationship dynamic that I love.
Elizabeth Banks was great as Effie Trinket. She was so underused in the first movie, and I feel like Banks is underused as an actress anyway. She’s so capable and all anyone’s ever really seen her do is be the whiny girlfriend in various bromantic comedies. I loved the way that Effie is heartbroken at having to bring Katniss and Peeta back to the arena. Especially Peeta. Everyone hates that Peeta has to go back.
New arrivals that I loved, Sam Claffin. I think Finnick is a hugely cool character and I liked the way that Claffin played him. I’m surprised that they hedged on Finnick’s, erm, extra curriculars as a Capitol Prostitute, but hey, it’s not like it’s an easy thing to deal with. I loved Jeffrey Wright at Beetee, although because of Boardwalk Empire I am terrified of him. And then there was Jena Malone.
I love Jena Malone. I was so excited when I realized that Jena Malone was going to be playing Johanna. I like that Malone and Lawrence are a similar type. I like that it’s a kind of, “if you cross the line that’s who you’ll be” kind of warning to Katniss.
Bonus points: Alan Ritchson played Gloss, the male District 1 tribute. He also played Aquaman on Smallville. The water base of the arena seemed like it was giving him an unfair advantage.
I loved the costume design as much if not more than the first time around. These are visually exceptional movies.
I was really overwhelmed by the movie. It was visually great, the performances were top notch and it’s a great story. But it’s grim dude.
Divergent: I read the book, and just couldn’t get into it. It’s a decent story and I’ll probably go see it, but I really don’t care that much.
Noah: You know what modern Hollywood needs more of? Biblical epics! The Old Testament is rife with awesome, awesome stories that would make tons of money and that you can do great special effects with. I hope this movie does unbelievably well. Also Emma Watson, yay!
American Hustle: I really don’t see the appeal, but it’s such a great cast. Like absurdly good. I’ll probably watch it in two years on HBO one night.
1. Pacific Rim
2. Runner, Runner
3. The Great Gatsby
4. The World’s End
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
7. Kick Ass 2
8. The Butler
9. Man of Steel
10. Don Jon
11. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
12. The Wolverine
13. Thor: The Dark World
14. Iron Man 3
15. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
16. Despicable Me 2
17. Star Trek Into Darkness
19. Monster’s University
20. After Earth