Netflix has had Catching Fire available for quite some time, and I dutifully added it to my queue back in the day when it first popped up. But each time I had a choice of what to watch, I found myself skipping over this one to go find something else. Anything else.
But finally I decided the time had come. Time to see the movie and find out if it had anything redeeming in it. Anything that would make me glad I watched it.
Why was I so skeptical? I mean, it’s got a 7.7 on imdb. A 75 on metacritic. It couldn’t be that bad, could it?
Yes. Yes, it could.
My biggest fear was lodged in the way the first movie was adapted. They took the book, and made it into a movie in as literal of an adaptation as they could do. For me, this is a textbook example of why this doesn’t always work out the way you think it will. I watched the movie, and I was just bored. It was the book, and the book was great, so why bother with a movie? I knew everything that was going to happen before it happened. I just ended up getting bored–and I love adaptations.
I loved the original book. The sequels? Not as much. The first book was a fun action packed fight to the death between teens. The second book got away from that a great deal, politicizing it far more than was helpful. The third book went even further down that road. (Spoilers ahead!) To make matters worse, I knew Catching Fire ended with a big cliffhanger. Did I really want to watch an entire movie, knowing all along I would be frustrated by the end?
I should have known better.
Hunger Games does best when it’s in the arena. Kids killing kids. Catching Fire still has some of that, and those are the high points of the movie, but even they aren’t that high. And don’t get me started on Pita Bread and Whatshisbucket. To make matters worse, the adaptation highlights some of the flaws of the books. For instance, there’s this huge capital city population, and they apparently run on coal for energy. And yet they have one itty bitty district in charge of coal. It doesn’t add up. Even worse, the film falls back on the horrid motivation for the bad guys: be evil because evil is awesome. Simply put, I don’t believe so many people in the capital would really be so dense to the suffering of other people. Not because I don’t think humans can do that, but because there’s no reason given for it. There’s no ideology underlying all of their beliefs. Hitler and the Nazis were able to prey upon prejudice and hatred to get an entire people to hate another people. There’s none of that here.
It doesn’t add up.
Sad. The film has some great actors. The content just isn’t up to it. At least now I know for sure I don’t have to bother watching either installment of the adaptation of Mockingjay.
4/10 stars. Blarg.