Tuesday, January 28, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

2013, Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) -- download

I haven't read the remaining books in the series yet so I was rather pleased to see that this movie focused on her reaction to having survived the Hunger Games. Nightmares, PTSD and a general disillusionment with what she has become is her mindspace as the movie starts. Its not surprising, because no matter how well she pulled off the "two winners" trick in the first movie, the government is well aware she played them. The Hunger Games are supposed to be for their benefit, not the oppressed peoples of the districts. Despite the luxury heaped on the victors, the games are still intended as punishment on a populace that failed in a distant rebellion. I am glad the story picked up solidly in this mess.

Jennifer Lawrence is just brilliant as Katniss Everdeen. I won't argue with her legions of teenage fans about the faithfulness of the portrayal, but for me its how camera friendly Lawrence disappears into the character so we forget all her publicity, for only the character. Yes, there is the lean, toned body that contributes but its also the way she holds her face and the facade the character puts on when in front of her public. There is a weight to that role that she carries so well.

This is the filler book in the story, between the setup of the world and the characters, and the final book which deals (or so I expect) with the new rebellion. This is where a traumatized young girl realizes she wasn't as clever as she hoped and survival of the games wasn't enough. Now she is a figurehead in a growing upset around the districts, a role she again does not want to play. People are dying in her name. So, I was glad when she was tossed into a conspiracy later in the movie, where she is just one of many. Where she is not the only capable, clever victor. I just adored the angry, uncouth nature of Johanna Mason who obviously never has played the Capital game. I applauded Cinna's fashion rebellion that he had to know was going to cost him. It makes me wonder if Katniss will continue to play a supporting role or realize she has to take the reins of this action she inspired.