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December 3, 2013 / minusbar

Katniss returns! (Movie Rant – Catching Fire, and Battle Royale)

Movie Rant – Hunger Games: Catching Fire

(FIRST MOVIE SPOILERS)

Okay, so the first film in this series based on the YA novels by Suzanne Collins was good, but left me with a bad taste in the mouth due to the borderline plot rip-off from Battle Royale, a novel by Japanese writer, Koushun Takami; it was later adapted to film in 2000 (Japanese language). Now I am assuming you are aware of the plot of the first film in THG (The Hunger Games) if you’re reading this; if you’re not, well you can stop reading now. Buckle your seatbelts and prepare for ranting, raving and maybe a bit of reviewing!

Okay, so Battle Royale is a story where children are picked from school districts in Japan and imprisoned in a man made dome-like wilderness. Only one student can survive, and they are forced to kill each other to win. Sound familiar? Why yes, yes it does. Despite the unoriginal content of THG, it was still an entertaining movie due to entertaining action sequences and the breakout star, Jennifer Lawrence. So it achieves an award for being a good popcorn flick, but the second film, luckily, has a considerably more ambitious goal.

Catching Fire is a good movie, with a great cliff hanger, possibly even too good, as it leaves you feeling  the story segment is a bit incomplete. Now try not to judge me too harshly for not knowing the story going in, but the books just didn’t interest me. I read what I personally enjoy, and that does not often include YA books. But the impressive thing is the vast increase in the stories scope. With so many plot opportunities opened up with this installment in the series, I am rather intrigued to see what will be done to tidy everything up with a pretty bow and leave moviegoers with the warm and fuzzies.

The other drastic change from THG to Catching fire is the significant increase in scope, both politically and in cast. We always knew there was a darkness in the capital, but now we’re really getting to see the politicians of the infrastructure up close and personally. On the other hand, some of the pompous rich people start to seem a bit more human as well. Could that be a tiny conscience sneaking up on the heartless buggers? I think “yes.”

The first film was a solid 6.5/10 for me. While Catching Fire was not quite amazing, the increase in plot originality and character base has me excited to see the conclusion. The film struggles with pacing at times, and the newer character members don’t quite get the backstory and screen time I would have liked to flesh them out, but it’s heading in the right direction and I can confidently say the film improves an entire point, to rest at the respectable rating of 7.5. There’s something to be said for ending strong, and this certainly did that.

Thanks,

Roger Bellini

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