Monday, 15 September 2014

'The Hunger Games'

It's no secret that I really disliked 'The Hunger Games', watching it was the closest thing to a migraine simulator I could imagine.
Everything about it was just the wrong thing executed in the worst way, handled so poorly as to make it nearly unwatchable... I won't dwell on those points, because I want to move on to talking about when 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' came out.

If I don't like a film I generally do not watch any sequels - I've seen 'Twilight', I have also broken a knuckle, I would rather repeat the latter until all of my knuckles are broken than repeat the former.
Considering how much I disliked 'The Hunger Games' I wish I had a more dramatic story to explain why I eventually watched 'Catching Fire'.
Someone had a spare ticket, I had spare time.
So, I prepared to let another small part of my life slip away beneath the bright lights of a cinema projector in a darkened screen, using the constant rhythmic chewing of popcorn to count the time until the movie ended... I braced myself, only to be pleasantly surprised!
All of the things which were handled so badly in the first film were tweaked and changed and made tolerable and watchable and enjoyable!
President Snow stopped seeming like a dull creepy uncle (at best, massively disrespected school principle), and became the sinister figurehead he was supposed to be.
Haymitch stopped being a laboured caricature of a cartoon drunk (drawn by someone whose only exposure to alcoholism is distant memories of episodes of 'Cheers') and starting seeming like a decent stab at a broken man pushed to alcoholism.
The Capital stopped seeming like a gawdy camp two dimensional set-piece that makes 'Logan's Run's city seem like the set of 'Blade Runner', and became a properly cold city populated with distinctly ignorant, selfish, rich idiots.
Whoever-the-f**k-Lenny-Kravitz-was-supposed-to-be stopped his creepy "grooming" routine on the Tributes and just f**ked off for the most part, only to return to have the cr*p partially beaten out of him. 
The bland, often pointless action of 'The Hunger Games' was replaced in 'Catching Fire' by a much more tightly drawn, better structured, and well executed style of action.
The whole film just worked for me.
That the original director (Gary Ross) and screenwriters (Ross and Billy 'Flightplan' Ray) changed between the first and second film worked wonders. I credit the director Francis Lawrence for making 'Catching Fire' (re)watchable.
So much so that I'm genuinely looking forward to 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1'.
Speaking of which, the trailer for that is here:

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