Saturday, 23 November 2013

Review: The Hunger Games - Catching Fire

World of Blackout Film Review

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Poster

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Cert: 12A / 146 mins / Dir. Francis Lawrence

I must confess, I forewent the midnight-showing of this; there are only so many days I can do at work on three hours sleep, and the last one didn't exactly fill me with joy. So with plenty of screenings to choose from, I opted for a quiet afternoon slot, in which to enjoy the hormonal carnage of teenagers trying to stop sulking long enough to kill each other...

Except many/most of the things in the first installment which irked me seem to have been ironed out now. Oh, the dystopian future tropes are still layered on a little too thickly, with pseudo-Stormtroopers enacting the instructions of a moustache-twirling Donald Sutherland and beating the beleaguered population into submission (with some blistering over-acting from Patrick St. Esprit as 'The Commander Who's Allowed To Not Wear A Mask'). The good news is that the love story aspect seems more dialled down this time around, to the point where it's almost half-arsed when it does rear its head. It's to everyone's credit that it doesn't happen too often.

I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than The Hunger Games. With the set-up all taken care of in the first movie, it's a lot more coherently told, and with the exception of my grumble above, it's well scripted and acted, too. The set-pieces fit together almost seamlessly, and despite the recurring visual/thematic motifs, doesn't feel like a rehash of the story already told. But as much as I admired the craft, I just couldn't get into it. I didn't connect with any of the characters emotionally, so after that it's just a guessing game of who'll die next (still not enough expansion on Woody Harrelson's Haymitch for my liking, but it's good to see Elizabeth Banks getting slightly more to do as Effie).

If you enjoyed the first movie, you'll get a lot out of Catching Fire. It's a great expansion of the story, and earnestly told. It's just Not For Me™. Especially as I'm still not convinced about the psychology of teaming with 'allies' in a competition where there can only be one survivor.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I didn't, but it wasn't for the want of them trying.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Probably. Your mileage will vary.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It looks great on a big screen, but you won't lose a lot by watching it on Blu-Ray.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Probably not, if I'm being honest.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I'm pretty sure I heard one embedded during the baboon attack. Yeah, there's a baboon attack.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
1) Am I the only one who thought Mags was just playing along until it was time to whip out 'the psycho card'?

2) How come the guards were killing people for giving the three-fingered salute and whistling Our Tune when Katniss and Peeta were touring the Districts, but it was okay when they won The Worst Raffle In The World in the town square?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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