Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 12, 2013

‘HG: Catching Fire’ burns bright as sequel

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — I know I can’t feel completely alone when the economical divide portrayed in today’s reviewed film appears as a scenario our own society could verily easily become a part of. Even if one just uses our own history as a species as an example, we can’t shy away from a been there done that when it comes to spectator sport murder.

Whether one admits it or not, it is an unavoidable Déjà vu when the suffering of the poor in the film are not too unlike reality in that it can seem the only way to get ahead is if a person gains the favor of those holding all the money and power. It continues the sentiments of the first film, perhaps bumped up in an even better way than the first chapter and again it doesn’t take long to root for good to take evil down hard. “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” never stops being an intense ride and further solidifies reason for fan mania in one of the best series of modern cinema.

Picking up after surviving the 74th rendition of what might as well be called the Hitler Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), return to a life that is pretty much supposed to be them showing their gratitude toward the government for the rest of their days. On a tour de manure shovel, this is made apparent by those like their mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), but not surprisingly the people motivated by Katniss’ strength would rather give their own version of the middle finger even if it means dying for it.

Cue President Palpatine…er I mean Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland), who does his best Snidely Whiplash impression in trying to come up with a way to rid the world of Katniss once and for all and his “minion” Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who finds the way. The way (as if it wasn’t made apparent in the 30 billion times it was shown before every movie for months), is to round up a bunch of the former victors for the 75th games, including our two “lovebirds” in order that they may now die (cue Bane’s muffled laughter). Though one of the chief complaints I saw mentioned was how many of the supporting characters were weakly portrayed, the film does what it is supposed to and invests us deeply in feeling every emotional tug of the story’s heroine.

Much like every revolutionary moment that has come along, the most power here comes from the different elements of symbolism, be it an epic mocking jay dress or the many examples of selfless sacrifice to do what is right. There is appropriately never a moment to feel comfortable or relax with death or a risk of harm for waiting for the key players at every turn.

In a way, it moves a lot like “Empire Strikes Back” did where quite a lot takes place, but ends with a very enticing cliffhanger that you may have not yet begun to gasp. I know I can’t wait to see what world will arise of one thrown under decades of façade and as a result recommend it to those who may still be undecided. For a film where Mrs. Lawrence proves why she is one of the most in demand leading ladies once again I bestow a mighty four and a half out of five odds.

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.