The girl on fire is back for the next installment of The Hunger Games, but now she is a year older, wiser, and more mature. Oh, and lovesick. And to complete the transition into adulthood is the color black, which is used both as the new color of her hair and as the only color of her clothes. Yeah, it’s like that folks. She’s kind of emo.
Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it. I was kind of disappointed with this movie. Maybe it is the science fiction nerd in me, but, like the first one, this movie could have been better. There is a whole world out there disintegrating and all we get to see is such a refined viewpoint, that of Katniss (played superbly by Jennifer Lawrence . . . side-note: she does acting circles around pretty much everyone in this movie). But okay, I understand, this is what the material provided in the book allows, but then I will harp on that material. With a world in turmoil, I just could not help but feel left out and alone, wondering what I am missing.
But maybe that is the point. Katniss is sheltered for a reason. She is the first co-victor of the Hunger Games and has to do victor-type things, like travel from district to district on a train giving formulaic speeches. But that is no excuse for the seeming exclusion of the environment around Katniss. Science-fiction stories allow for a world different from ours, which is a huge draw for many people (including myself). Blade Runner is the story of one man in a futuristic world and could have easily been depicted by Ridley Scott as a narrow and small one, like the world in The Hunger Games seems to be. But Scott does it right, as the world in Blade Runner is bleak and violent, but is also a pivotal part of the story and another character for Rick Deckard to go up against.
What these Hunger Game movies have been about so far has been to show, well, the Hunger Games. The arena fighting that goes until only one soul survives and these games are supposed to keep the masses in check, which is why Katniss’ refusal to comply was so controversial, but the masses are not in check. Shit is getting out of hand, but I only know this from the few glances Katniss has at a few monitors on the train. Images she is not supposed to see.
Don’t get me wrong, Catching Fire is a solid film. What I say is out of love, not hate. I yearn for perfection from anything that divulges into futuristic societies, as there are plenty of great material to go off of. But if you want to play in the big leagues, you have to step up to the plate. What Catching Fire really is is a better, more refined, and darker version of the first installment. It is swift and sleek and definitely entertaining, but I felt as though I had seen this movie before, because, well, I kind of did.
Instead of arena fighting and chaos, I would prefer more of a view of the world they live in. Just a smidge more of scenes would have been enough for me, but these scenes are coming, eventually – at least that is what I’m told -, even if I have to wait for one more movie. Maybe then, these movies will hit the next level, because, after all, we are only catching fire with this one.